Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has had a tough time this year. Over the last few months, he’s suffered three injuries. When he’s been healthy, he’s struggled. Traktor Chelyabinsk, which played in the KHL Finals last season, is barely clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Kuznetsov remains out with a leg injury.
But fear not, the few and proud members of the Kuzya fan club. While your hero’s hockey career has taken a very circuitous path, Zhenya has been testing the waters in an alternative occupation while recovering from his latest injury. No, not driving a bulldozer, dabbling in real estate market, head-butting a sitcom character, or torturing an imaginary microphone with his interpretation of an old pop song. Kuzya is trying out a new hobby that’s a bit less exotic: TV hockey analyst. Last Sunday, Evgeny acted as color commentator for Chelyabinsk local channel OTV’s broadcast team during the 2nd and 3rd periods of Traktor’s game against the visiting Slovan of Bratislava. Kuznetsov shared with the TV audience a few bits of hockey wisdom and insider information from the team’s locker room. During intermission, Kuzya provided expert analysis of his team’s performance (“What did I like? That we scored two goals and did not allow any.”… “Who has been the standout so far? Our goalie and the defense. And all of our forwards.”) and made a prediction for the final period.
But everything changed last week when we saw a special feature on Burakovsky filmed by SVT — better known as Sveriges Television. The angle of the feature focused on Burakovsky’s reunion with his best friend in the whole wide world, Nick Sörensen, and playing on the same line together at the World Junior Championships.
We learned that Burakovsky is a playful and inquisitive guy. And that he’s a huge hugger. Like zero respect of personal space with this guy.
Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky was fantastic in the 2014 World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was a point per game player for Team Sweden, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in seven tournament games.
The Washington Capitals 2013-14 season has been a roller coaster, but their big summer acquisition, Mikhail Grabovski, has been one of the team’s most reliable performers. The 29-year-old Belarussian has adjusted splendidly to his new team and is on pace to comfortably exceed his career-best season total of 58 points — all earned while centering just about every winger on the Capitals roster. Grabo has received accolades from coaches, teammates, and analysts alike– a significant turnaround from the disastrous end to his time with the Maple Leafs.
So, how is Misha settling in the new city, how does he get along with gracious host Alex Ovechkin, and, of course, what led to the conflict between him and his old coach? Those are just some of the questions Igor Tichonenko of the Russian Service of Voice of America asked Grabo a couple of weeks ago when they met up at KCI. They went for a ride in Grabo’s car — in spite of having roomed with his captain for a few months now, Grabo does not drive 250 km/hr (at least not with camera rolling). You can watch the whole interview, and just in case your Russian has gotten a tad rusty, you are welcome to cheat and follow along the translation below.
Alex Ovechkin had a pretty good night at the rink Tuesday. The Washington Capitals captain almost single-handedly (okay, Nicky and Grubi helped) dragged the team out of the 3-0 hole they had dug. Four goals and an avalanche of hats later, Ovi’s night to remember was in the books. And that outrageously awesome tying goal celly – was Alex the Great going for a swim at center ice? Showing off a triple Salchow? Channeling his inner Superman? Whatever it was, it must have been something Alex devised ahead of time and saved for a special occasion, right?
Burakovsky carries the puck during a game against USA at the U18 World Championships last spring. (Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos have been selected to the list of 26 players named to Sweden’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors, which will be held in Malmo, Sweden.
Djoos, 19, won silver with Team Sweden last year in Ufa, Russia, while Burakovsky was left off the roster.
Djoos is an offensive defenseman with good passing and a high hockey IQ. His size and defensive abilities are question marks as he looks to move to the next level (the Caps have until next June 1st to sign him). He has struggled offensively this year with Brynas in the SHL after an impressive second half of last year.
Burakovsky is on a roll as of late. On a stacked Erie Otters team, he has 39 points in 27 games so far. This will be a special tournament for Burakovsky, who was raised in Malmo and played there for the local Redhawks before coming over to North America to sign with Erie, where he plays with his fellow countryman goaltender Oskar Dansk.