Saturday night, Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov drove up to Atlantic City to watch the WBO light heavyweight champion of the world, Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev, box Blake Caparello. Kovalev hails from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kuznetsov’s hometown, and won via a vicious TKO in round two.
Last Saturday, I spoke to Baltimore Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy about a range of fun topics: baseball, pick-up trucks, Gettysburg, hockey, his own rehab, and why every time I saw him that weekend he was wielding a giant crossbow. Bundy, ranked the 12th best prospect in all of baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law, has a fascinating story, which I had the honor of documenting for The Washington Post.
You are certainly familiar with Stephen Strasburg, the hard-throwing ace for the Washington Nationals who was drafted first overall in 2010. Bundy, the top high-school athlete of the 2011 draft (and who can lift an insane amount of weight), was drafted 4th overall by the Baltimore Orioles the very next year. They’ve had mirror abilities and mirror career trajectories since. Both starters could throw 100 MPH. Both were robbed of a season due to Tommy John surgery after breezing through the minors. Both were heaped with humangous big expectations from fans immediately after they were drafted.
Two years ago, Bundy became the 16th youngest player to make the Orioles. He pitched twice in relief. 2013 was supposed to be the year he joined the rotation and dominated. Instead, he blew out his elbow in spring training.
After a year of rehab, Bundy returned to the mound with the Aberdeen Ironbirds in early June. A few weeks ago he was promoted to the Single-A Frederick Keys. While his velocity has not been the same, if all goes well, he could potentially join the Orioles down the stretch as they make their final push for the playoffs in September.
RMNB reader and mega Caps fan Max attended Tuesday’s exhibition game at FedEx Field between Inter Milan and Manchester United. Because, like I said, Max is a mega Caps fan, he donned his Caps hat instead of the traditional soccer kit or scarf or something. (I barely watch soccer, my bad.) That decision worked out well for young Max.
Sitting in his same section were Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. The Russian Caps spotted Max in his Weagle hat and — get this — asked Max to come over.
RMNB’s been busy working on a special project, so we missed the Inova Blood Drive at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Every few months, Inova holds a blood drive at the Caps practice rink and gives away bobbleheads and shirseys of certain Caps players. This past Saturday it was Joel Ward.
Unfortunately, the Wardo bobble heads got stuck in customs, but donators wound up getting a more special gift: meeting The Big Cheese himself. Ward signed autographs, took photos, and complimented people on their t-shirts.
We were tipped off to the players’ movements when Kuznetsov posted a selfie with his wife on Instagram shortly after boarding a plane at 2AM on Thursday. His caption was, “✈️✈️✈️ DC,” which means either that he had two connecting flights or — like me — he realizes that emoticons are effective only if you repeat them a lot.
Eight hours later, Orlov posted a photo posing with his girlfriend at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in D.C. I cannot tell if his broken left arm is healed or out of the cast yet.
A lot has changed in Washington D.C. since last season, including the goalie situation. On the first day of free agency, new Caps GM Brian MacLellan signed veteran goalie Justin Peters to be Braden Holtby‘s back-up. That means goaltending prospect Philipp Grubauer, who shined in a one-month stint with the team last December, will likely be relegated to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears for most of next season.
I bring that up because, um, well, this is awkward. Grubauer’s new mask from Swedish airbrush artist David Gunnarsson is 100% Caps-flavored.
On Monday, Maria Kirilenkoannounced through R-Sport that she and Alex Ovechkin were dunzo. “There are a lot of reasons, but I wouldn’t want to go in detail,” Kirilenko said, as translated by Fedor Fedin. “I’ll say just that our relationship is over, but I respect Sasha as a person and an athlete and sincerely wish him athletic success in the future.”
Without sharing those details, the gossip hounds turned to speculation.
Case in point: Ovechkin, who is currently vacationing on a French beach, posed in photos that got published on the internet. One person in those photos was gymnast Karolina Sevastyanova. Sevastyanova was scrutinized in particular for a) being a woman, and b) being near Alex in those photos.