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We don’t have many pictures of Dmitry Orlov from this year. This one almost makes up for it. (Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter)

Dmitry Orlov‘s 2014-15 season stunk — if you can even call it a season. After breaking his wrist playing for the gold medal-winning Russian national team at the 2014 World Championships, Orlov was supposed to be playing by the end of September. Instead, he never played an NHL game this year.

Orlov had numerous complications, with his return constantly getting delayed. He was finally ready to suit up at the end of March, and the Capitals assigned him to Hershey Bears for a conditioning stint. The 23-year-old played three games and rejoined the Caps, but Orlov had fallen in the depth chart by then. Tim Gleason had supplanted him in the lineup, and Nate Schmidt served as Washington’s seventh defensemen. Head coach Barry Trotz showed little interest in dressing someone who had not played in the NHL for a year.

Next season, however, looks to be more promising for Orlov. With Mike Green likely to depart, Orlov could slot into the third pairing alongside fellow RMNB-favorite Schmidt.

“It’s been frustrating that he hasn’t played,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday. “We missed a year of development with him. He’s a good young defenseman. We’re counting coming into our lineup next year and having our coaching staff work with him. I think we’ll see major strides.”

I spoke Orlov about his rough season on breakdown day. It turns out it wasn’t that fun for him. His English is good though!

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MikeGreenBreakdownDaySusanWalsh

Photo credit: Susan Walsh

At age 23, defenseman Mike Green scored 31 goals. His 2008-2009 season was one of the most remarkable scoring performances by a blueliner of all-time. His bright blue Easton Stealth CNT was a lethal weapon. It was just the seventh time in league history a defenseman topped 30 goals. That last player to accomplish the feat, Kevin Hatcher, did it 26 years earlier.

The next year, Green’s goal total dropped by 12. He still easily lead all defensemen with 76 points. The Capitals cruised to the Presidents’ Trophy.

“He set the standard for offensive defensemen in the league,” Karl Alzner, Green’s longtime teammate, said of his 31-goal season. “That’s been the benchmark for a lot of guys. Guys are trying hard to get there, and no one’s been even close. ”

“I think he’ll be a guy that gets remembered in Washington forever,” Alzner added.

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Karl Alzner: 2014-15 Season Review

karl

Dear Karl,

You have skated nearly 3,000 minutes with John Carlson in your career up till now. Next season, you’ll play just 45 minutes of even strength ice time with him.

Good luck.

Signed,
Barry Trotz, October 2014

By the Numbers

82 Games played
19:26 Average time on ice per game
5 Goals
16 Assists
51.6% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
51.7% Goal percentage during 5v5

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Photo: championat.com

Alex Ovechkin‘s 2014-15 season came to an end Sunday as Team Russia got crushed by Team Canada 6-1 in the World Championship gold-medal game. Yes, that’s two crushing defeats for the Russian Machine in five days.

Ovechkin left DC for the Czech Republic Thursday afternoon approximately 15 hours after the Caps lost to the Rangers in game seven. Ovi scored a goal and tallied an assist in Russia’s 4-0 semifinal win against the United States Saturday.

On Sunday, however, Ovechkin managed only two shots on goal in 15:57 of ice time. Russia’s roster, filled with mostly KHL players (and Evgeni Malkin), could not overcome Canada’s team full of NHL all-stars (plus Cody Eakin).

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Sidney Crosby and Team Canada destroyed Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia 6-1 today in the World Championship gold medal game. Since I’m sad that Ovi lost, here’s Crosby going for a line-change in the third period.

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Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz

Less than 24 hours after the Washington Capitals were eliminated by the New York Rangers, Alex Ovechkin was on a plane to Prague. After another early exit from the NHL postseason, Ovechkin jetted off to play in his 11th World Championship tournament. In 65 career games, Ovechkin had scored 57 points. He added two more today, helping Russia advance to the gold medal game against Sidney Crosby and Team Canada on Sunday. Ovi has already won Gold at Worlds three times. Another party with Vladimir Putin may be in order this year.

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Photo credit: Susan Walsh

Evgeny Kuznetsov was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2010. It took him four years to come over to North America. He could have left in 2012, but he signed a contract extension to stay with hometown team, Traktor Chelyabinsk. With that decision, it became easy to stereotype him as another Russian who chose the motherland and lots of tax-free money over playing in the best league in the world. But last year, Kuznetsov finally signed with the Capitals. With that contract now up, Kuznetsov, as he has before, tacitly admitted it was a mistake to stay in Russia when he spoke to reporters on breakdown day.

“When I came last year, I don’t understand yet what is this NHL,” Kuznetsov said. “Right now I know what is this.”

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Photo Credit: Katie Brown

Nicklas Backstrom can be bland. He’s one of the best players in the league and one of the Capitals’ alternative captains, but sometimes you forget he’s there. On the ice and off it, he draws almost no attention to himself.

Two days after the Capitals were eliminated by the New York Rangers in game seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinal, the team gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to pack up their equipment and speak to reporters for the final time this season. In past years, we’ve seen weird fashion choices and forceful quotes, but Backstrom normally sits in the shadows. Friday, however, was Nick’s time to shine: he wore a shirt that read “Free Hugs” and said some vaguely interesting things.

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p-v-i

The Caps are out, but the drama continues.

Here’s how we did last round:

  1. Peter: 3 for 4
  2. Keith, a Coin: 2 for 4
  3. Ian: 4 for 4 oh bravo you special little snowflake you picked against the Caps aren’t you so clever hold on let me put an applause gif in here

Now for the Conference Finals.

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Wednesday night, the Caps and Rangers played another brilliant hockey game, which came in a series full of brilliant hockey games. Every game in the series was close, so it was appropriate that game seven would be decided in overtime.

10:18 into the extra period, there was a faceoff in the Rangers zone. Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Emrick decided that this was his moment to say something poignant– something to capture the moment– the tension of the game, the drama of the sport, and the anxiety of its nervous fans.

Instead, this is what he said.

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