andre-burakovsky

While the Washington Capitals’ past season was an unmitigated disaster, there was one bright spot located about 364 miles northwest of the district in Erie, Pennsylvania. Unheralded 2013 first round draft pick Andre Burakovsky had a breakout year with the OHL’s Erie Otters. His rapid development in Erie could launch him into the NHL next season.

But things could have gone very differently. Last July, after being selected fifth overall by the Otters in the CHL Draft, Burakovsky revealed disappointment with the decision, telling a local reporter, “this is not what I had in mind.” The young Swede, who spent the season before playing for the Malmo Redhawks of the HockeyAllsvenskan, did not want to join the OHL team.

It wasn’t until some convincing from then-GM George McPhee that Burakovsky signed on to play for the Otters, who were led by future 2015 first overall draft pick Connor McDavid.

Speaking to Uffe Bodin of hockeysverige.se, Burakovsky explained just how happy he was with that decision.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

ovechkin-assist

Photo: Russian Hockey Federation Instagram

In Russia’s 3-0 quarterfinals win against France on Thursday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he felt about 90% playing and was uncomfortable wearing a custom knee brace the Team Russia medical team special-ordered for him after suffering a leg injury four days prior.

Playing Sweden on Saturday, Ovechkin still didn’t feel 100%, but he did switch things up. According to Slava Malamud, Ovi wore a new knee brace. He also tallied an assist in Russia’s 3-1 win over Sweden. Russia will play in the World Championships gold medal game on Sunday.

Continue Reading

alex-ovechkin-tongue

Ovechkin’s tongue sure does look spry and healthy. (Photo: R-Sport)

For the first time since the Olympics, Russia had both Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin in their line-up. Russia defeated France 3-0, but the two superstars did not skate exclusively together. Malkin was paired with Viktor Tikhonov and Nikolai Kulyomin, while Ovechkin skated on the second line with Sergei Plotnikov and Vadim Shipachyov.

In his grand return from his definitely-not-a-knee injury, Ovechkin skated 12 minutes over the first and second periods. He was benched later in the third period and did not record any shots or points. A day after saying, “I am not wearing any brace,” Ovechkin wore a knee brace.

After the game, Ovechkin spoke to reporters about his health.

Continue Reading

alex-ovechkin-practices

Photo: Pavel Lysenkov

On Wednesday, Team Russia captain Alex Ovechkin practiced with his team for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Sunday against Germany. Or so we thought!

After he left the ice, Ovechkin spoke to a scrum of reporters and waxed poetic on his injury.”It’s hard to say that I have a knee problem,” Ovechkin said according to R-Sport, confusing everyone. “It’s actually something a bit different.”

When asked if he was planning to wear the custom-made knee brace the Team Russia medical staff ordered for him, Ovechkin seemed unsure. “I am not wearing any brace,” he said. “They brought it to me, but so far I have not tried the magical brace. Let me repeat, it’s not my knee, but different organs and muscles. I skated today, I have some pain, but of course, it is better than it was the first day.”

Continue Reading

ovechkin-official

Not sure. (Photo: championat.com)

Before getting injured on Sunday by German enforcer Markus Kink, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was having a splendid World Championships. Team Russia, for whom he is captain, is undefeated in six games with a plus-23 goal differential — the highest in the tournament. Ovechkin ranks second in points in the tournament. Plus, he got to ride a tank and shoot off guns and stuff.

Speaking to reporters for twenty minutes on Friday, Ovechkin spoke about a wide range of fun topics. He talked about his duties as captain for Team Russia, his on- and off-again relationship with Evgeni Malkin, and if he’d ever leave for the KHL. Ovechkin also was asked about his upcoming wedding (which, c’mon, that’s inevitable) and his ideal linemates. He really misses Sasha Minor and Sergei.

RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has translated most of the press conference, transcribed by Sport-Express, below.

Continue Reading

christian-djoos

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

According to a report out of Sweden by Uffe Bodin of HockeySverige.se, the Washington Capitals have signed 2012 seventh-round pick Christian Djoos (pronounced “YO-os”) to an entry-level contract.

There’s been no official confirmation of this information from Washington or Djoos’s current club, Brynas of the SHL.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

alex-ovechkin-victory-loaf

Photo: R-Sport

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and the team he’s now captaining, the Russian National Team, arrived in Minsk, Belarus earlier today for the 2014 World Championships, which begin tomorrow. When Team Russia arrived at the President Hotel, they were greeted by a hotel official. Then things got weird.

As Ovechkin approached, the official came up to him and said (as translated by Fedor Fedin), “We’re welcoming all of you, dear friends, and we’ve been assigned by the Belarus National Committee manager to present you this Karavai, hoping this will be a victory Karavai.”

The official gave Ovechkin a giant loaf of bread. A victory loaf.

Continue Reading

evgeny-kuznetsov-practice

Photo: Sport-Express

After scoring nine points in 16 games with the Caps, Evgeny Kuznetsov has flown back across the world to play for Russia’s national team in the upcoming World Championships. On Tuesday, Kuznetsov spoke to Vladislav Domrachev of Sport-Express after practice and talked more about his NHL debut and how his English is progressing.

Apparently the NHL is like bobsledding or something.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

ovi-national-team

Photo: R-Sport

On Monday, Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov joined the Russian national team in Novogorsk, near Moscow, to get ready for the IIHF World Championships to take place in Minsk, Belarus beginning on May 9th.

According to new national team head coach Oleg Znarok, the players exercised for an hour and fifteen minutes. How exciting.

Znarok also revealed that all three Caps players will play Thursday against Germany in the Eurochallenge, an exhibition tournament to help teams prepare for the World Championships.

Afterwards, Ovechkin talked to a bunch of different Russian press members. He didn’t really say much.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

backstrom_nicklas

Despite not making the playoffs, a lot of Washington Capitals players still have some hockey left to play. Last week, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and he will be representing Team Russia in the 2014 World Championships happening in Minsk, Belarus.

But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.

When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”

Continue Reading