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Looking back at Slava Voynov's Stanley Cup trek to Russia

September 13, 2012|By Austin Knoblauch
  • Kings defenseman Slava Voynov slaps down a shot during Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Coyotes in May.
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov slaps down a shot during Game 2 of the Western… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

As the Kings' summer of Stanley quickly morphs into the NHL's season of labor discontent, now is a good time to look back on the most far-flung travel the Stanley Cup made following the team's diaspora from L.A. in June.

Defenseman Slava Voynov was the first Kings player to take the Cup to his hometown -- a long haul of 6,200 miles to Chelyabinsk, Russia, in July. It was the first time the Cup had ever visited the central Russian city of over a million people, some of whom were kind enough to greet Voynov in Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys (must be Evgeni Malkin territory).

Voynov made sure to take special care of the Cup during it's long journey -- he even buckled a seat belt around hockey's 34 1/2-pound holy grail as it followed a police escort around town.

The 22-year-old then spent some quality time sharing the Cup with friends and family before heading to a local hockey rink to sign autographs for fans eager to see the iconic trophy.

With Voynov and the Kings becoming a well-known quantity in Chelyabinsk, maybe the team should think about playing a game there in the future.

They could play an exhibition game against Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (although those KHL teams sometimes are out to prove something) or lobby to play another NHL team. It might be worth it -- the last four teams to win the Stanley Cup started their championship seasons overseas.

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