Next Thursday, the Washington Capitals will open the season in Pittsburgh. After being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Penguins in six games, the Capitals will be present as Pittsburgh hosts their banner raising that night. On Wednesday, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby downplayed that significance during an interview with DC101’s Elliot in the Morning.
“Yeah, it’s just another game,” Holtby said. “We’re gonna prepare a bit next week to be ready for Game 1.”
The reigning Vezina Trophy also spoke about being back in DC, his experience with Team Canada during the World Cup, and the So Kids Can Play starting lineup fundraiser.
Nathan Walker has already accomplished a lot of firsts. Walker is the first Australian hockey player to play in the AHL, the first Australian hockey player to be drafted by an NHL team, and the first Australian hockey player to have a snow globe made in his honor as a promotional giveaway. Walker, who was born in Wales but grew up playing ice hockey in Australia, has one last major dream: to become the first Australian to play in the NHL.
If you ask Caps head coach Barry Trotz, it’s not a matter of if, but when.
“He’s going to be a really great story when he plays in the National Hockey League,” Trotz said Monday after practice. “He’ll be the first Australian player who was born in Australia and really started training in Australia. And how he’s done it… I mean, he’ll be an inspiration to a lot of people.”
Trotz’s full comments on Walker are below.
A huge payday awaits Evgeny Kuznetsov this summer. The Russian center morphed into a superstar last season, leading the Capitals in regular season points and participating in his first career NHL All-Star Game.
This season, Kuznetsov has an inside track to becoming the team’s first line center. Pairing the upcoming restricted free agent with his friend Alex Ovechkin — one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time — could open Kuzy up to more personal success and a bigger payday.
When Caps radio announcer John Walton asked Kuznetsov if he wanted to play with Ovi to start the season, the Chelyabinsk native said yes, but had a very thoughtful response about why it didn’t matter all that much.
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.
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