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Photo: Peter Holgersson / Bildbyran

Editor’s Note — Throughout the season, Fedor will be posting scouting reports for Capitals prospects around the globe, bringing his thoughts on their performance as well as video evidence. First up is Jakub Vrana.

Washington Capitals 2014 first round pick Jakub Vrana plays for Linkoping of the SHL (Swedish Hockey League) and will play on the Czech Republic’s World Junior Championship team. He left a conflicting impression in the eight games I watched of him in October and early November. His skill was evident as he sometimes made veteran defensemen look foolish. However, he would go invisible for long stretches. On some occasions, it appeared that he let frustration get the best of him after missed opportunities on the offensive end and looked like a shadow of himself for the rest of the game. His first period was often his best as he sometimes looked tired in the second half of games and Linkoping’s coach Roger Melin would sometimes bench him in the third period. He clearly needs to be more aware defensively as sometimes he’s caught watching the play looking for a chance to get on the rush quickly instead of tracking his man in order to make sure there’s no scoring chance developing behind his back.

Still, his combination of speed and skill was too much for defensemen in this league. He also was always on the lookout to steal an errant pass or pickpocket a puck handler for a backbreaking goal. He’s not an overly physical player due to his smaller stature, but he also doesn’t put himself in bad position and get caught on big hits as well. If he can develop some consistency, he’ll be really hard to defend and potentially a game-changing player in the future.

Below the jump, I analyze every part of Vrana’s game with video evidence.

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Madison Bowey and Team Canada will try to bring Wolrd Junior supremacy to Canada on home soil. (Photo: Hockey Canada)

On Friday, the 2015 World Juniors will be underway in Montreal and Toronto. Two groups of five teams will be battling for ten days to determine the strongest junior team on the planet. It’s arguably the most meaningful and most exciting annual international hockey tournament.

The Washington Capitals will not be well represented at the tournament unlike in years past. After the club decided to not release Andre Burakovsky in a controversial move, only three Caps prospects will be playing at the tournament: Canadian defenseman Madison Bowey and two Czech nationals, forward Jakub Vrana and goalie Vitek Vanecek.

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The Rangers’ Game-Winning Goal Was Offsides

When Rick Nash scored the Rangers’ third goal — the eventual game-winner in their 4-2 defeat of the Washington Capitals — I noticed that the zone entry on that play was far from crisp. Nash lost handle of the puck around the left faceoff circle on the Caps’ side of neutral zone and then had to reach back to gather it back. He pushed the puck towards the blue line, and it slowly rolled as Nash was entering the offensive zone. He then fired a shot using John Carlson as a screen and beat Braden Holtbythe goal Peter described as a “back-breaker” in his recap.

Further review clearly shows: Nash was offsides on the play. It should’ve been blown dead.

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stan-galiev1

Photo: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey

Remember a few weeks ago when we wrote about Stan Galiev scoring 3 goals in 3 games for Hershey? That torrid streak continued to 8 goals in 8 games before snapping this past weekend.

Galiev, who has 9 goals and 4 assists, is ranked second on the Bears in goals and fifth in points. This is a renaissance.

Let’s check out the other five goals from his 8-in-8 streak.

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shane-gersich

Photo: Tom Sorensen/USA Hockey

Capitals fifth-round pick Shane Gersich stays hot. After a tremendous start to the season with Omaha of the USHL that has him third in the league in goals, the Minnesota-native forward got the call to represent the US at the World Junior A Challenge. He’s done well there too.

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How Will The KHL Get Through Russia’s Economic Crisis?

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Sochi’s Olympic boss Dmitry Chernyshenko will face the hardest challenge in the KHL’s history in his first year as president. (Photo: Sergey Kuznetsov / RIA Novosti)

Russia’s financial crisis is in full throttle as the ruble fell below 65 to one dollar (as opposed to 33 one year ago), while Russia’s main export, oil, has fallen below 60 dollars per barrel for the first time since May 2009.

The changes in the economy will affect Russian hockey.

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bowey-morrissey

The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have made a huge trade, acquiring the Winnipeg Jets’ 13th overall pick from 2013 draft, defenseman Josh Morrissey, from the Prince Albert Raiders. It is likely that Morrissey, will play on Kelowna’s top defensive pairing with the Caps’ Madison Bowey.

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pierre-lebrun

Last night, TSN Insider’s Trading panel discussed a number of topics, including the Oilers’ shortcomings, Jay Feaster’s Twitter jab, and a potential re-tool in Arizona. They also talked about Caps general manager Brian MacLellan, whose patience with the team is allegedly running thin.

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Photo: Sovsport.ru

The general manager of Dynamo Moscow and the Russian national team, Andrey Safronovspoke with Dmitry Nesterov of Sovetsky Sport in an interview published on Tuesday night. In the piece, Safronov dismissed the possibility of Caps captain Alex Ovechkin’s returning to his club.

The quote itself is a bit confusing, but we’ll make sense of it.

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stan-galiev

Photo: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey

Since turning pro, the career of Capitals 2010 third-round draft pick Stan Galiev hasn’t gone as expected. The dynamic winger struggled with system play and never found a role with the AHL’s Hershey Bears under coaches Mark French and Mike Haviland. He spent the majority of the last two seasons with Reading in the ECHL. Last year, injuries and scratches limited him to just 30 games between the AHL and ECHL.

Despite this stunning goal in the beginning of the season, 2014-15 started as more of the same for Galiev, who has been playing in North America since 2008. Galiev was scratched in five of seven games in the opening months. But now, it seems like we may actually see a breakout year for the Russian winger.

After scoring four goals in his first 44 career AHL games, Galiev has scored three in his last three, including a game-winner against St. John’s on Sunday. Those were the only goals Hershey scored those games.

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