Steffen and Markus Soberg during the Division 1 Group A World Juniors (Photo credit: IIHF).
In Norway, NHLers are few and far between. Unlike neighboring Denmark and Germany (let alone Sweden), Norway hasn’t established itself as a producer of elite hockey talent. As of right now, only 18 Norwegians have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft, only seven have played in an NHL game, and just one is currently a part of a big-league roster: the Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello.
Hockey fans from Norway sure hope some of their fellow countrymen will be selected in the upcoming draft and one of the names they’re waiting to be called in Newark in late June will sound familiar for the Caps fans: Markus Soberg.
Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Sergey Kostenko has left the organization and will return to Russia to compete for a spot with his home team, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, the team’s head coach Alexander Kitov told Novokuznetsk Sports Portal. Last year, off-season shoulder surgery, several injuries, and an organizational goalie logjam limited Kostenko to just six games with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Later in the season, Kostenko was loaned to the Ontario Reign where he made three more starts.
Kitov also commented on the future of two other Novokuznetsk-natives: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and Winnipeg Jets forward Ivan Telegin.
Kuzya skates with the national team. (Photo credit: Champtionat.com)
Evgeny Kuznetsov has been engulfed in rumors of trades to the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow and getting lured out of his current deal by Capitals officials. But speaking with Mikhail Zislis of Sport-Express, Kuznetsov cleared the air on both sides of the Atlantic. Kuznetsov squashed the rumors and restated that he’ll make the jump to the NHL next year.
Evgeny Kuznetsov denied on a breakaway by Dynamo’s Alexander Yeremenko during the Gagarin Cup Finals (Photo credit: R-Sport)
Sport-Express is reporting a potential trade between Dynamo Moscow and Traktor Chelyabinsk involving Evgeny Kuznetsov, one of the KHL’s brightest stars and a prominent Caps prospect. According to one of Russia’s most popular sports publications, Kuznetsov may follow two other young forwards, Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, who have already been traded from Chelyabinsk to Moscow.
After Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, another Traktor player may move to Dynamo: Evgeny Kuznetsov. According to [Sport-Express'] information, blue-and-whites [Dynamo] have started talks with Traktor about buying the rights and contract of the 2012 World Champion and 2011 World Junior Champion. Kuznetsov is currently with the Russian national team at the World Championships, but hasn’t been placed on the finalized roster yet.
If this rumor is true, Traktor is in a state of upheaval, and it’s possible Evgeny Kuznetsov may be headed to Washington sooner than planned– or not at all.
Evgeny Kuznetsov in Team Russia practice facility. (Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport)
4PM UPDATE: A few days ago Team Russia head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov announced three goalies and 25 skaters, including Kuznetsov, who “would be travelling to Helsinki and Stockholm for the Worlds Championship tournament.” Not all of the players named by the coach will be on the Team Russia’s final roster. IIHF rules allow for the minimum of 15 skaters and 2 goalies to be named no later than today; players can be added to the roster at any time during the tournament, up to the maximum of 22 skaters and 3 goalies. While some teams have filed their full rosters, Team Russia is taking an incremental approach. They announced today the first group of players – 3 goalies, 5 defensemen, and 11 forwards. Evgeny Kuznetsov does not appear on the list. Kuzya may make the team later, especially if some of the Russian players currently involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs do not make a quick 1st round exit.
ORIGINAL STORY: Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has been named to Team Russia for the 2013 IIHF World Championships, which begin Friday in Sweden and Finland.
Kuznetsov won gold in last year’s World Champs while playing in a limited role. Kuzya has been less than impressive in the last few months, earning Joey Crabb treatment by national team coach Zinetula “Bill” Bilyaletdinov, playing on the fourth line at the EuroHockeyTour tournament in Czech Republic. To his credit, Kuznetsov looked impressive in his limited ice time, which probably secured him a spot on the national team. After the tournament, Kuznetsov, who has been encouraged to tweak his game to a less flashy, more steady team style by Traktor coach Valery Belousov, complained about the “black cat on his shoulder” that’s been bringing him bad luck for the last half of the season. He told reporters that he has set a conditioning program for the off-season to come back in a better shape for the beginning of next season.
The Washington Capitals are in the driver’s seat for the Southeast division crown. And even though tonight’s game against the Jets looms large, a loss won’t kill the Caps’ chances of making the playoffs — though it will make it much more difficult to win the division. If they lose tonight and manage to still win their final two games, they will be guaranteed a playoff spot.
As it stands right now, the Caps have a 91.1% chance of making the postseason and an 86.7% of winning the Southeast. The Winnipeg Jets have a steeper climb. Despite a big win over Buffalo on Monday, the Jets have just a 31.6% probability of making it to the Stanley Cup playoffs and a 13.3% of becoming division champs.
There are a lot of ways this could shake out, and a lot of possible tiebreakers to consider.
Washington Capitals first-round pick Tom Wilson put up another impressive playoff performance. In game two against regular-season champions the London Knights, Wilson scored three goals and added an assist (unofficially as of right now) as his team won 4-3 in double overtime.
Potential 2013 first-rounder Bo Horvat opened the scoring after winning a puck battle in the corner, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead that they preserved until the end of the first period. Wilson tied the game in the second, holding his stick behind his back to score a wild deflection goal.
Today those same outlets, Sovetsky Sport particularly, pulled a CNN and denied their own report (and unpublished the original stories), claiming that Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Leo Komarov doesn’t fit the definition of “loaned” players. A loaned player in the KHL is a player who was sent down to a minor professional league like the VHL. Since their contracts were voided when the three went back to the NHL, the number of games played is irrelevant. Technically, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Komarov are no longer part of Dynamo.
Dynamo forward Denis Kokarev celebrating the victory. (Photo credit: RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov)
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom‘s former KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, has beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk 3-2 in overtime to secure a championship win in game 6 of the Gagarin Cup finals, taking the hardware home for the second straight year.
Despite a few good chances, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, was held without a point. Kuznetsov had eleven points in 25 games during his team’s long playoff journey.
Back in Washington, Ovechkin and Backstrom shared their happiness via Twitter.