Failure in Sochi brought big changes to the Russian hockey team. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and the whole coaching staff (except one guy) were sacked, as was the general manager. The Russian Federation of Hockey (FHR) didn’t stop there: they also changed the team’s PR man, Mikhail Zakharov. Stepping in for him was a controversial figure: Sport-Express’ Igor Larin.

Choosing a member of the press to run media relations is already questionable (it’s like hiring a pilot to be an airline operator), but Larin’s candidacy seemed a bad idea from day one.

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Willie Desjardins of AHL’s Texas Stars is one of the best coaches not currently in the NHL (Photo: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The common thought among Capitals fans is that the team’s new coach must have NHL experience. The Caps last five hires — Adam Oates, Dale Hunter, Bruce Boudreau, Glen Hanlon, and Bruce Cassidy — were all rookie head coaches. This time around, names like Barry Trotz and John Stevens are getting a lot of buzz, whereas Willie Desjardins and Phil Housley are getting little.

Experience matters. All other things being equal, you should hire the guy with more experience, but that does not mean the Caps should discount what a rookie coach might bring. Because if a coach’s best quality is his experience, that’s not a great sign.

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Ice celebrate the victory (Photo: USHL Images)

The Indiana Ice, featuring Washington Capitals draft pick Brian Pinho, have won the Clark Cup. In game five of a best-of-five series, the Ice rallied to beat Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2 to win the USHL championship. Pinho scored the game-winning goal with just over two minutes to go in the third period. 

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Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Team Switzerland had a porous performance at the World Championship. Led by Roman Josi and Damien Brunner, the Swiss failed to qualify for the playoffs, finishing fifth in Group B due to Mikhail Grabovski’s game-winner for Belarus. Eliminated before the end of the preliminary round, the Swiss played spoiler for Latvia, who needed a win to make the quarterfinals.

Late in the third period, Latvia trailed 3-1. After pulling goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, the Latvians got a goal back from Zemgus Girgensons on a deflectionSoon after, Kaspars Daugavins turned the puck over, giving the Swiss a chance to seal the deal. Reto Suri and Thomas Rufenacht went two-on-none towards an empty net.

And then they blew it.

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UPDATED BELOW

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin suffered a lower-body injury in a World Championship game against Germany. In the middle of the third period, Ovechkin, who was breaking out of Team Russia’s zone, collided knee-on-knee with Marcus Kink in what looked like a failed hip check. There was no penalty on the play.

After staying down for more than a minute, Ovi was helped off the ice to Russia’s locker room by his teammates without putting weight on his right leg.

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“The Pittsburgh Penguins are proud to select, out of nowhere, a guy you will never hear from again.” (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

After the Pittsburgh Penguins collapsed against the New York Rangers, some readers suggested that the Caps should hire Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero, both of the Pittsburgh Penguins, should they get fired from their current jobs. In regards to Shero at least, we’re a bit leery.

Here’s one reason why.

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All photos: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Washington Capitals forward Mikhail Grabovski scored a late game-winning goal in Belarus’s upset victory over Switzerland on Monday. The win substantially improved the chances that Grabovski and his teammates will make it out of the group stage at the World Championship. That’s huge for Belarus and its fans, and it explains why Grabovski celebrated like he had just won the Stanley Cup after scoring on the breakaway.

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Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Team Russia beat the living tar out of Team USA at World Championships today with a final score of 6-1. Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored goals, while Hershey Bears goalie Pierre McGuire David Leggio came on in relief of Tim Thomas in the second period.

Leggio allowed one goal on eight shots in 28:57 of ice time.

Let’s take a look at the highlights.

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Photos: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer hit a milestone on Sunday. The 22-year-old prospect, who will likely back-up Braden Holtby in Washington next season, won his debut on the international stage with Team Germany, a 3-2 in a victory over Latvia. Grubauer made 30 saves, defeating Tampa’s talented prospect netminder Kristers Gudlevskis in the process.

Grubauer’s role on Germany is unclear. Grubi served as a back-up to Rob Zepp in Germany’s first game of the tournament on Saturday, a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.

Two weeks ago, Grubauer shut out Team Russia in a pre-tournament game.

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Joel Ward celebrates victory with teammates Ryan Ellis, Mark Scheifele and Nathan MacKinnon (Photo: Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward scored two goals at the World Championship on Saturday as Team Canada beat Slovakia, 4-1, marking the first and second international goals of his career.

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