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Charles Hamelin

Charles Hamelin, NHL’s Nathan MacKinnon in skate race (video)

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Three-time Olympic short track speed skating champion Charles Hamelin and fellow Canadian Nathan MacKinnon, the reigning NHL Rookie of the Year, faced off in an interesting race recently.

They sprinted against each other, and it appeared MacKinnon got the best of Hamelin.

There are caveats here, such as the extra pounds MacKinnon carried with hockey gear on and the different types of skates, but it was an interesting experiment.

“I have maybe a little bit better reaction at the start,” Hamelin said, “but his acceleration was way too fast for me.”

The short track World Cup season starts Nov. 7 in Salt Lake City.

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Semyon Varlamov praised by Russian hockey GM

Semyon Varlamov
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Russia’s national team general manager is standing by embattled goaltender Semyon Varlamov, saying his recent strong play shows “that the truth is on his side.”

Varlamov, who plays for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, was charged with assault Friday and is scheduled to appear in a Denver court Monday over an altercation with his girlfriend on Oct. 30.

He is the top Russian goalie in the NHL this season and a candidate to start for the host nation at the Sochi Olympics.

Varlamov has won three straight games for the Avalanche, including a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, one day after the assault charge came down.

“Semyon’s in good form now, continuing to show that he’s one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and showing with his game that the truth is on his side,” Russian national team general manager Alexei Kasatonov told a KHL team on its website. The comments were translated by R-Sport.

Kasatonov played in three Olympics for the Soviet Union — 1980, ’84 and ’88 — including the Miracle on Ice game, and seven seasons in the NHL.

Kasatonov also said that Varlamov “is not that kind of guy and would not be capable of such a dirty deed,” according to R-Sport.

Past Soviet Olympic champions to hockey team: ‘Don’t let Russia down’

Russian politician says goalie Semyon Varlamov’s arrest meant to weaken Olympic team

Semyon Varlamov
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A senior Russian politician says Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov‘s arrest over domestic violence charges is motivated by the U.S. attempting to weaken Russia’s hockey team for the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

“I’m confident of Semyon’s innocence,” State Duma deputy Igor Ananskikh said, according to R-Sport. “I think it is sports and political move, as Varlamov is a candidate for the Russian national team. The main goal is to suspend him from training and games so that he loses practice and misses the Olympics.”

Ananskikh elaborated, according to Voice of Russia.

“The situation is really strange, given that the Sochi Olympics will take place soon and Varlamov is a candidate to become part of our national hockey team which we do count on. What about presumption of innocence? It’s not normal at all. Varlamov will fall out of the training process which will have an impact on his readiness before the Olympics in Sochi. The first thing that comes to my mind is that it is an effort to weaken our national team.”

Varlamov has been the top Russian goalie in the NHL this season and could start for the team at the Sochi Games. The U.S. plays Russia on the second Saturday of the Olympics.

ProHockeyTalk has the details on Varlamov turning himself in after charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault.

Varlamov’s father told R-Sport that no crime was committed.

UPDATE: Russian hockey executive director Valery Fesyuk had this to say, according to a Russian report translated by Yahoo!:

“This is an unpleasant situation. We can only hope that everything is resolved positively. … It would have been better not to have these types on news at all with less than 100 days before the start of the Games, to the success of which we are investing all our resources.”

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