Adam Oates Named Co-Coach of Hershey Bears

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey On Earth

In a move both surprising and logical, the Capitals announced Sunday that Adam Oates would serve as co-coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears with head coach Mark French for the duration of the lockout. Caps assistant coaches Calle Johansson, Tim Hunter, and Blaine Forsythe and goaltending coaches Dave Prior and Olie Kolzig will — in George McPhee’s words — “be involved at different times” and also help out with the Capitals’ ECHL affiliate, Reading Royals.

To adequately take on lockout-loaded teams like Oklahoma City Barons whose roster now features Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Justin Schultz, the Capitals have given their farm team the deepest coaching staff in AHL history.

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Alex Ovechkin Plays Pre-Game Soccer with Dynamo Teammates

“I must break head you.”

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin didn’t score in Dynamo Moscow’s 4-3 shootout win over Salavat Yulaev on Saturday,  but he did have eight shots on goal in 22:09 on ice. Twice he shot for Dynamo in the skills competition and twice he came up empty. But that’s okay. The coolest part of today’s game was what actually happened before it, as the Russian language television channel TNV captured Ovi and his Dynamo teammates performing a pre-game ritual with which we Capitals fans should be pretty darn familiar.

Ovechkin, in his constricting (see below) bright, red Capitals shorts, kicked around the soccer ball outside of the locker rooms in Kazan with his Dynamo teammates, who were all in their dark blue team-issued sweats.

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Filip Forsberg Scores Goal in Fourth Straight Game

Leksands players congratulate Forsberg on his goal. (Photo credit: leksandsif.se)

It’s another day and another goal for 18-year-old Caps prospect Filip Forsberg. The winger scored in his fourth straight game Thursday, this time to tie Leksands Idrottsförening with Sodertalje SK at two in the second period.

Video below the jump.

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Photo credit: allhockey.ru

Over the last week, CSKA general manager and former Capital Sergei Fedorov has been a busy man, signing Ilya Bryzgalov, Pavel Datsyuk, and Mikhail Grabovski to lockout contracts. CSKA’s roster, which also includes former KHL MVP Alex Radulov, is much like the New York Yankees: they are rich, and they sign the best players.

Coming into Thursday’s game with Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Cheylabinsk, it was obvious who the favorites were. But thanks to a stunning goal by Andrey Popov in the final minutes and a meltdown by Radulov, Traktor prevailed 4-3.

Highlights below.

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Filip Forsberg Scores Goal in Third Straight Game

Filip Forsberg lands a big hit. Photo credit: Leksands IF

Caps prospect and chocolate milk endorser Filip Forsberg continued his strong start to the season, scoring a powerplay goal in his team’s shootout loss to IF Troja-Ljungby on Tuesday. His goal-scoring streak has reached three games, and Forsberg now has four points in his team’s first five games.

Highlights are under the jump.

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Michal Neuvirth and his New Mask Debut With Sparta Praha

Neuvy’s bio photo for Sparta Praha.

On Tuesday, Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth and his awesome new mask made their debut with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Neuvirth, a Sparta alum, never played for the major league team before, but did spend time with their junior affiliates before coming over to the North America to play junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers as a teenager.

Unfortunately, Neuvirth and his Sparta Praha teammates lost to Ceske Budejovice (say that three times fast) 3-2. Neuvy had 34 saves (a respectable .917 save percentage) and a few spectacular stops.

We actually found highlights of the game! You can check them out below the jump. Neuvirth wears #40 and is the guy wearing the Capitals colored goalie pads.

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Alex Ovechkin Grabs Assist, Shootout Goal in 3-2 Dynamo Win

Photo credit: khl.ru

Coming into Wednesday’s game against Ak Bars Kazan, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin had already made an impact on Dynamo Moscow’s offense. While he hasn’t tallied an Ovechtrick or gone on a Goal Explosion® yet, Ovi has scored a point in both games he’s played, skated more minutes than any other Dynamo forward, and averaged 9 shots per outing. That’s pretty darn good for a guy who hasn’t had a training camp.

On Wednesday, Ovechkin continued that hot start, notching a secondary assist on a powerplay goal by Konstantin Volkov and scoring in the shootout during Dynamo’s 3-2 (SO) comeback win over Ak Bars. He had 3 shots in 21:36 of ice time.

Highlights are below the jump.

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Photo credit: Cocio.se

On the other side of the Atlantic, the IIHF tournaments such as the World Junior Championships are a big freaking deal. Consider last year, when Caps prospect Filip Forsberg and his Team Sweden teammates defeated Russia 1-0 in overtime of the Gold Medal Game. When the team returned to Sweden, they were treated as heroes.

With attention comes fame, and with fame comes hilarious endorsement deals! Which is why Forsberg and 2012 WJC golden goal-scorer Mika Zibanejad play a prominent role in a Swedish advertising campaign for the Danish milk company, Cocio. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, a top 10 pick in this past year’s draft, also participates.

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Photo credit: MDNA Tour Facebook page

Fifty-four-year-old pop icon Madonna made her grand return to the area this week, performing two sold-out shows at Verizon Center on Sunday and Monday. During one of the concerts, something quite spectacular happened. Something that without HD video, I could not have confirmed or believed could possibly be real.

You see, during a break in music, Madonna chatted up her fans and asked if anyone would like to write a four letter word which describes her on her back. As Madonna gazed out to the crowd, she settled on two young Swedish men in the front row — who happened to be Washington Capitals forwards Mattias Sjogren and Marcus Johansson — and tossed them a marker.

As Johansson goofily grinned and filmed with his iPhone, Sjogren scribbled “Sexy” on the back of one of the most famous singers of all-time. Really.

You’re gonna want to see this.

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Alex Semin Signs With VHL Team To Be Near Granny

Semin with children at his former hockey school, Sokol Krasnoyarsk on Sunday. D’awww. (Photo credit: krsksokol.ru)

While many of the Russian NHL superstars immediately signed with KHL teams days after the lockout was imposed, former Capital Alex Semin had a tortoise’s pace in finding a new club. Sasha Minor had been linked to both Sergei Fedorov’s CSKA and the rebuilding Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, but on Tuesday Semin finally decided who he wanted to play for: an obscure wildcard team in Russia’s minor league.

Sokol Krasnoyarsk – a modest club from the VHL (a minor Russian hockey league similar to the AHL) — announced today that they signed Semin to a season-long contract for the league minimum. During the press conference, Semin explained why he signed on with his hometown team. The reason should have been obvious from the start: Semin wanted his 90-year-old granny to see him play. You can’t make this stuff up.

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