Alex Ovechkin stepped onto the ice Wednesday afternoon, as usual, in a red sweater. But instead of saying Россия, his jersey said Washington Capitals. As the both captain of Team Russia and a nationalist, Ovechkin didn’t want to be in Arlington, Virginia, skating at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Instead, he wanted to be playing for a champion at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto along with Capitals teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov.
But the Russians ran into Canada in the semifinals, resulting in another international defeat. Back with the Capitals, Ovechkin tried to move past the loss.
“You can talk about what if, what if,” he said. “It was fun. It was nice to represent my country out there and we do our best.”
The NHL will be entering its centennial year in 2017 and Tuesday, Gary Bettman announced their centennial ambassador: Wayne Gretzky.
During a long introductory press conference with reporters in Toronto, Gretzky spoke on a wide range of topics and then Alex Ovechkin got brought up.
Ahead of the first preseason game of the 2016-17 season tonight at 7:00 p.m., 18-year old rookie defenseman and 2016 first-round pick Lucas Johansen sat down to talk with CSN about his eating habits which are those of an absolute maniac.
To put on much-needed muscle and weight, seeing as he is 6′ 1″ and 174 lbs, Johansen has to eat.
And eat and eat and eat.
Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored 14 goals after New Years last season in 45 games, good for nearly 30 goals at an 82 game pace. He did this all without being a regular on the power play and playing just over 14 minutes a game. Now he’s likely got get a renewed chance at racking up points on the man-advantage. Last season only one of his 17 goals came on the power play. He finished second in even-strength goals, behind only 50-goal scorer and Rocket Richard winner Alex Ovechkin.
Burakovsky, 21, started the season on the power play, but lost his spot to Jason Chimera, who had four PP goals and five PP assists, after 14 games due a poor start, which included time in the press box. In Burakovsky’s first 32 games of the 2015-16 campaign, he had just two goals and six assists.
“In the beginning you just want to do everything so properly and the right way,” Burakovsky said of first full season in the NHL. “[I] was trying to bring everything full speed. Sometimes you just slow down the game and think a little bit more than you act. That was kinda what I did at the end [of last season] there. When I had the puck I felt more comfortable. I could hold it a little bit more and find an open lane for my teammates. I think it worked out pretty good for me.”
Filip Forsberg is a weapon on the ice. In just two seasons in the NHL, he’s become one of the league’s most prolific goal-scorers, with 33 tallies last year and 26 in his rookie campaign.
Now the newly minted 22-year-old has been compared to Alex Ovechkin, one of the greatest scorers of all-time. It’s just one more stab in back for Caps fans by reporters who refuse to forget Forsberg’s trade for Martin Erat in 2013 by former Caps general manager George McPhee. Oh wait.
“He reminds me of playing with Alex with his quick release,” Nicklas Backstrom, who centers Ovechkin and has played with him his entire NHL career, told Dan Rosen of NHL.com on Friday. “He loves shooting the puck. He loves to go to the net. He loves creating stuff. In that way he reminds me of Ovi.”
On January 10, Alex Ovechkin became the fifth fastest player in hockey history to hit the 500-goal plateau. In seven of his 11 seasons pro, Ovechkin has scored 50 goals or more — including a career high 65 in 2007-08. At age 31, Ovi, who has scored 50 goals three-straight seasons, trails Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal-scoring record by 369 tallies.
Does The Great Eight think he can catch The Great One?
Not a chance.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was demoted from first-line center to a fourth-line winger ahead of Russia’s final World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament game against Canada, Wednesday.
“That’s because he went to Oleg Valerievich [Znarok] and said he doesn’t want to play on the line with Ovechkin and Kucherov anymore,” Ovechkin deadpanned while speaking with Pavel Lysenkov after practice. “I am still in shock.”
“And they moved me to the 4th line!,” a laughing Kuznetsov replied.
Sure, Nicklas Backstrom wants everyone to cheer for Team Sweden tomorrow night, but we can’t let our goaltender Philipp Grubauer go completely unheard. Team Europe got some practice time in at Kettler this morning and the radio voice of the Capitals, John Walton, got to talk with him about the team and how weird it is to be in the guest locker room.
I’m extremely excited to hear what the anthem for Team Europe could be, but in the meantime, mark your calendar to watch Grubi and Team Europe take on Team Sweden tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.
Here’s the full transcript of Grubauer and Walton’s brief chat.
Over the weekend, we reported on something that felt gross, weird, and terrific all at once. Caps defenseman John Carlson scored on Caps goaltender Braden Holtby during the second of a back-to-back exhibition series between Team Canada and Team USA.
Monday morning, Team USA held their practice at Verizon Center and Matt Niskanen was asked about the awkward goal.
Sorry, Philipp Grubauer.
Coming off of a 6-3 win over Team Finland, Team Sweden made their way to D.C. and held their evening practice tonight at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
Caps center and our sweetheart, Nicklas Backstrom took the time to talk with the media about a pile of issues including line-mate chemistry, how the world cup format compares to the Olympics, and much more.
“It’ll be nice to play in front of the home crowd and hopefully they will cheer us on,” Backstrom said to reporters while flashing an innocent grin. Don’t worry, we will.
The team is gearing up to play their next game at the Verizon Center on Wednesday, September 14th vs. Team Europe at 7:00 p.m. EST. Here’s the full transcript of Backstrom’s meet-up with the press.
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