We’ve been fascinated by Dmitri Orlov since Fedor told us that
The Washington Capitals selected Stanislav Galiev (friends call him “Stan”) as the 86th overall pick in the draft. The baby-faced left winger from Moscow stood out during development camp as a competent skater, playmaker, and polyglot whiz. He’s not a particularly big player (178 lbs), but Galiev’s personality is plenty big. Our girl Friday, Oksana Zolotar, chatted up Stan in his native tongue following Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Follow us past the jump to learn about his adoration of Alexander Semin, bulking up, and Russian camaraderie at dev camp. If you missed Monday’s interview with Evgeny Kuznetsov, we politely remind you that this will all be on the final exam.
If one player could be said to have stolen the limelight during Caps development camp, it must be Evgeny Kuznetsov. The first-round draft pick scored a flurry of goals in scrimmages; invoked the ire of that other RMNB crush object, Braden Holtby; met with some Russian-language students from UMD, and even gorged on some cupcakes. We wanted to pick Evgeny’s brain, but we were stifled by the language barrier.
Luckily, friend-of-the-blog and sage of all things Caps, Oksana Zolotar, helped us out. In addition to having a truly awesome name, Oksana speaks fluent Russian. We put the two kids together for a chat following Wednesday’s scrimmage (in which Evgeny went 2G-1A-3P). Follow us past the jump to hear Evgeny discuss English, his ambitions, and his always cheerful attitude.
RMNB’s resident casanova and now photog for the Examiner, Neil Greenberg, spent the week at the Capitals development camp. What follows are his thoughts on the experience.
What a week.
Overwhelming. Fulfilling. Humbling. No other words can describe it.
From when I said yes to cover it for the Examiner to when Kelly showed me where I could and could not go to when I got in my truck at the end of Fan Fest: total euphoria.
Not going to lie, I was overwhelmed when Michael asked me if I would be interested in taking pictures at the Camp for the Washington Caps Examiner – and would be jealous, too, of someone in that position. Of course, I could not say yes quick enough.
What an honor, right? Two things I am passionate about mashed up together for a surreal experience: the chance to cover the sport I love through art – despite being told that becoming an artist would never work for me. Specifically, “Neil, you can’t be an artist.” I tried everything: playing instruments (violin and saxophone), drawing, painting and even writing. In fact, most of my childhood I was told I couldn’t do stuff. Not shouldn’t – can’t. Told that if I tried to chase that dream it would end in certain, perhaps orchestrated, failure.
The morning got off to an early start with the annual equipment sale. When I arrived around 7:40 there was a line at the check-in table stretching back the length of Kettler Capitals IcePlex [Ed note: Do you people ever sleep?!?!]. Making my way into the stands that served as a waiting area until the sale officially started at 8am, I was shocked to see a section of the bleachers already filled. At 8am the crowd was led to the upper level of the rink where a vast panoply of new and used hockey equipment awaited their perusal. The crowd quickly, but orderly, made their way into the sale area, making a beeline for the player sticks and used practice jerseys. Patrons could be seen with armfuls of gear and frantically pawing through piles of clothing – clearly the event was a success for the Capitals.
Group A Observations
Braden Holtby still looks a little shaky in net, letting in a few goals he probably should have saved. This could be a function of the fact that he recently had LASIK surgery done on his eyes and they aren’t quite back to normal yet. It is also important to remember that Holtby went from starting to backing up Michal Neuvirth and did not play very much over the last two months of his season.
Anton Gustafsson continues to remain an enigma. It is clear that the young Swede pick has a plethora of talent, certainly worthy of him being first-round draft selection. However, there were times during the week when his motivation appeared questionable. For example, during offensive zone entry drills today, there appeared to be moments when Gustafsson would stop skating and lackadaisically enter the zone.
Yesterday, after the Caps’ second development camp scrimmage, players made their way rinkside for media availability. I noticed Evgeny Kuznetsov slinking towards a small group of kids and adults in the far corner of the practice rink. My developing reporter sense tingled and I followed Kuznetsov and listened in to his conversation with the group. The assembled crowd was a first-year Russian class from the University of Maryland, made up of mostly rising freshmen getting an early start on their language requirements.
Kuznetsov was incredibly patient with the class, patiently listening to their choppy questions in Russian (and even correcting them at times) and answering clearly and slowly, often repeating himself several times for their benefit. The group was later joined by Stanislav Galiev and the pair of baby Capitals talked about their favorite bands (Kuznetsov loves Russian rap), cities, and foods. It was clear the students appreciated the experience and it was cute to see the young Russians teaching Americans.
Check out a few more pictures below the jump.
By 9am the stands at Kettler were about 1/3 filled as the Capitals’ prospects took the ice for their second scrimmage of 2010 Development Camp. In marked contrast to yesterday’s chippy, gritty scrimmage, today’s affair was much more fluid and wide open, resulting in over 30% more scoring. On the red team the lines stayed pretty much the same as the first scrimmage. On the white team, Stanislav Galiev was bumped down to the second line, serving with Wade MacLeod (Jr, Northeastern) and Garrett Mitchell (WHL, 2009 Draft, 6th Round, 175th overall). The chemistry of the Galiev-MacLeod-Mitchell line was palpable: the line exploded for the first three goals of the scrimmage – MacLeod was 2-1-3 and Galiev was 1-1-2. Galiev scored his goal camped out in front of the net on a nice deflection that beat goalie Taylor Nelson (So, Ferris State) Red quickly responded with a pair of goals from Jake Hauswirth (both on mostly empty nets) and one from Stefan Della Rovere. The red and white teams alternated goals for the remainder of the game, with Cody Eakin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring for the red team and Marcus Johansson and Felix LeFrancois both picking up their first goals for the white team. In the overtime shootout Galiev scored the only goal to win the game for white with a sick deke in front of the net.
Now, we’ve got video:
(All credit to Keith Mastromichails for the video.)
BB’s quote on that hit, as reported by the WP:
Kuznetsov is, skill-wise, pretty good. . . I think we’ll have a word with Kuznetsov. Because in North America you can’t taunt or make funny moves. When he did that, he was having fun maybe, but he gave a little taunt to Holtby. After [the goal], he sort of went, ‘Ooooh’ and laughed him. That’s not going to go well with North American people. …And I’m going to have a little chat with Holtby.
We’ve spent the last week and change covering the Russian prospect Kuznetsov, but we’ve been chronicling the enigma that is Braden Holtby for months. Both are undeniable talents with effusive personalities So we’re torn. What say you?
Update: Caps Snaps caught up with Holtby and Kuznetsov after the incident and got both sides of the story. Great read. Check it out here.
Day 3 was a busy day for the draftees and invitees at Capitals Development Camp. Both Group A and Group B were on the ice in the morning, and the whole squad took the ice in the afternoon for a scrimmage. The additional activity made for an extremely long day, one that not only left me exhausted, but also (and more importantly) left me feeling like a full-time member of the media. I also increased my attempts at multi-tasking: interspersing periods of photography with Tweets, especially during the afternoon scrimmage. Day 3 also provided a glimpse into the world of the best PR staff in the NHL when Nate and Kelly invited all the bloggers in attendance to a roundtable to discuss ideas and innovations.