Photo credit: Bill Wippert

By all accounts it was a disappointing individual season, as much as you can call 32 goals and 85 points “disappointing.” No Hart nomination. No Lindsay, Art Ross, or Richard trophies either — none of the individual accolades we are used to seeing from the game’s most dynamic player.

So what can we expect next year for Alex Ovechkin? Will we see another Hart-worthy performance, or is another 30-goal season in the offing? The most glaring change from this season to the others, besides the diminished scoring, was the way Ovechkin was used throughout the season. Using data from Behind the Net, we can see some definite trends during even-strength and when Washington has the man advantage.

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As Caps fans know, fan favorite Matt Hendricks is never afraid to drop the gloves, even if it means getting some facial redecorating. But he wasn’t always that fearless. In an interview last week with Hockeydiaries producers Gemma Hooley and Chris Nelson, the 29 year-old Minnesotan discusses his first ever hockey fight in the professional ranks, which didn’t exactly go as planned.

Gemma and Chris chronicled Hendricks along with Braden Holtby throughout the 2010-11 campaign, just as they’ve done the past two years, and the documentary will be released sometime this summer. For more details plus bonus audio and video, follow Media Chameleon on Twitter and on Tumblr.

Additional reporting by Chris Gordon

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Stanislav Galiev

Stanislav Galiev celebrates his first career Memorial Cup goal (Photo: Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

By all accounts Stanislav Galiev has had a good year. On June 26, 2010, the 18-year-old Russian sniper was selected by his favorite NHL team, the Washington Capitals, in the third round of the 2010 Draft. Shortly thereafter, he attended Caps Development Camp — where he impressed many by being one of the fastest and most exciting players on the KCI ice.

After taking a short break, Galiev returned to his junior team, the Saint John Sea Dogs, in the fall. The talented Sea Dogs were coming off a 2009-10 season in which they started the campaign with a 22-game winning streak (from October 17 until December 12) and made it to the QMJHL Finals. To the surprise of no one, the squad continued its dominance in 2010-11, relying on Galiev’s play-making (37 goals, 28 assists) and the development of four potential first round picks in the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft: Jonathan Huberdeau (top five), Nathan Beaulieu (top 15), Zack Phillips and Tomas Jurco.

Saint John racked up an insane 58-7-3 record in the regular season and lost just three of 19 games on the way to capturing their first QMJHL Championship in franchise history. Notably, Galiev finished in the top five of postseason scoring, notching 27 points (10 G, 17 A). The team’s winning ways have continued in the Memorial Cup, as the Sea Dogs won their first two games of the tournament and earned a bye to the finals which are set to begin Sunday.

Several Russia media members have spoke with the Caps prospect over the past week. RMNB’s Igor Kleyner and Fedor Fedin offer the translations.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov poses with George McPhee and Ross Mahoney (Photo: Bruce Bennett)

Each off-season I catch up on my reading. I alternate between a Bill James’ Abstract (I have 1984-1989 to get through); something music related (currently Straight Edge: Clean-Living Youth, Hardcore Punk, And Social Change and Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces); and one or two hockey books– including the new one called The Art of Scouting, which “delves into the secretive world of hockey prospecting.”

After only eleven pages, I got struck by what the authors claim is the consensus of a successful draft, summarized by Mike Futa, co-director of amateur scouting for the Los Angeles Kings:

“It’s the only job where you can be right 15 percent of the time and be ruled a Hall of Famer for success, You are going to be wrong 85 or 80 percent of the time, and if you hit on 2.5 home runs every Draft, you are par with some of the best scouts ever.”

Two NHLers out of seven players drafted, assuming no trades are made, seems like a low bar, so I decided to see how the George McPhee era has done in regards to scouting.

McPhee joined the Capitals in 1997, so the first draft we can attribute to him is in 1998. Since it takes about five years for a prospect to develop, we will look at his draft record from 1998-2006. Let’s consider a prospect a success if he has played in at least 200 games at the NHL level. That gives him five years of 40 games played to qualify.

Spoiler: The results are not great.

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Boyd Gordon and DJ King are the only players on the Caps’ roster who have won the Memorial Cup

On Friday, the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament will get underway at the Hershey (what?!) Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. It’ll feature three of what Hockey’s Future deems as the Capitals top 20 prospects including 2009 third round pick Cody Eakin (#5), 2010 third round pick Stanislav Galiev (#6) and 2009 fifth round pick Brett Flemming (#17). Last year, current Caps goalie prospect Philipp Grubauer – who at that point had not been drafted by the team yet – helped lead the Windsor Spitfires to their second straight Memorial Cup title. Many current NHL stars have won the prestigious junior tournament including Brian Campbell, Derek Roy, Cam Ward, Brad Richards, Shane Doan, Shea Weber, Dan Girardi, Milan Lucic and Mike Richards.

Let’s learn more about the three talented Caps prospects participating, shall we?

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Video: 4-Year-Old Caps Whiz Kid Knows Everything

Brady’s hockey knowledge is alarming. On the way to a hockey game, his dad quizzes the precocious 4-year-old on all things puck-related. Goalies across the NHL? Flawless. Capitals players by numbers? Perfect. Trade details? Kinda iffy on that one, actually. Brady even catches his dad on a trick question about Jordan Staal’s numbers.

Seriously, this pint-sized puckhead prodigy will give you a run for your hockey-trivia money. We’re just glad he’s a Caps fan. Adorbs kids + hockey nerdery = instant RMNB classic.

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Photo credit: Rob Carr

The signing of Alex Semin to a one-year $6.7 million deal may be slightly overpaying him for a year’s work, but the length of the contract is a smart move from a cap management perspective; the chance he will perform well enough to deserve it, even over one season, is a longshot.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

You knew it was coming. It happened when the Washington Capitals lost to Pittsburgh. It happened when they were ousted in the first round to Montreal. And here we are again after being on the losing end of a playoff sweep as the number one seed, discussing the inevitable: trade Mike Green.

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Photo credit: Elena Rusko

After being eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Alex Ovechkin joined Team Russia with hopes of a different outcome at the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia. Once again, however, Ovi will began with summer vacation without a championship as Russia fell, 7-4, to the Czech Republic in the Bronze Medal Game. This ends an awful tournament for the Great Eight. After being held scoreless yet again — while registering four shots and being a minus-one — he ends the Worlds with zero points in six games.

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Photo credit: Reuters

Mikael Granlund’s eye-popping goal was all Finland needed to best Russia for the second time this week, but the Finns still plied on while Russia’s offense looked lifeless. The 3-0 loss for Russia ends their chance at gold — they will face the Czech Republic for bronze Sunday at 10:00 AM Eastern Time — while Finland will move onto the championship game against Sweden.

Alex Ovechkin was more of a factor Friday than any other game in the tournament, though unluckily for him, in a negative way. The Great Eight was called for two slashing penalties after poking Finnish goalie Petri Vehanen on multiple occasions, while failing to convert on great chances to score. He finished the game a minus-one while registering five shots on goal and 18:31 of ice time. In five games since joining the team, Ovi has neither scored a goal or tallied an assist. Ouch.

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