In the seminal Wayne Knight film, Space Jam (1996, directed by Michael Jackson music video director Joe Pytka and written by at least four dudes), the Looney Tunes cartoons must defend the earth from hostile aliens by winning a basketball game. Asked to pick his team, Bugs Bunny went immediately for the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan. Should the same situation occur in the realm of hockey– and you freaking know it will– Alex Ovechkin knows who he’d want on his team.
While the NHL has sent its players to the Olympics since 1998 (fast fact via Chuck Gormley), there is growing speculation that the NHL will not participate in the 2018 Games held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin received his seventh Kharlamov Trophy as the most valuable Russian player in the National Hockey League. The award, named after the Soviet ice hockey player Valeri Kharlamov, is voted on by all active Russians playing in the NHL.
Last week, Russian rapper T-Killah posted an Instagram video of Alex Ovechkin sweaty and shirtless. Because reasons. The two comrades, along with Ovechkin’s close friend Sasha Gusev, had just completed a game of basketball and were debating their sporting skillz.
In a three-part interview (1, 2, 3) with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, Kuznetsov talks about his baby (his daughter’s middle name is Evgenia) and the negotiations behind his new two-year contract with the Washington Capitals.
“It is not a secret that I wanted a long-term deal,” Kuznetsov said. “But we ran out of time. And decided that two years is the right option, and Washington did not object.”
That, and literally a million other things are covered in this mammoth interview.
When the Capitals drafted Ilya Samsonov 22nd overall at last month’s NHL Draft, many people were surprised that the team, already stocked with goaltending talent, would select another netminder. In spite of conventional wisdom, the Capitals insisted that they always draft the best player available. In this case, Samsonov was the best player available.
“Our scouting staff as a whole, individually and as a whole, were more than happy to be able to call his name,” Capitals assistance general manager Ross Mahoney told reporters at the draft. “We’ve always talked in the past about trying to draft the best player that’s available to us and for sure we thought he was our best player that we could take with that pick, so we went ahead and took him.”
Despite a contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk that runs for three more years, the Capitals planned on Samsonov’s attending their development camp in July to work with goalie coach Mitch Korn.
“He has a contract, but we’ve had players in the past, some Russian players that we’ve drafted and they were able to come over,” Mahoney said. “We have tremendous confidence in our goalie coaches, being able to help this young man develop his game and bring it to a level that’ll get him to succeed in the NHL.”
That, however, never happened. While the Capitals first claimed Samsonov was missing camp due to a visa issue, he was actually attending Metallurg’s training camp as first reported by our own Ian Oland. Despite the mix-up, the Capitals didn’t purport to be concerned when they addressed the issue last week.
With the 22nd pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals took Russian goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Due to an ankle injury, the 18-year-old goaltender missed the NHL’s combine in Buffalo. The day before the draft, however, TASS’s Mikhail Zislis spoke to the young Russian and asked him about everything: from which goaltenders Ilya models himself after to his entire experience leading up to the draft.
Two weeks ago, the Washington Capitals announced that first line center Nicklas Backstrom went under the knife to have an arthroscopic procedure done on his hip. The club added in a statement that they were “confident” he will be “completely healthy” before the start of the 2015-16 regular season.