Photo. FHR.ru

If you count the Capitals’ regular season and playoff games, Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s World Championships goal Saturday was his second tally in 32 games. And it was another jaw-dropping example of Kuznetsov’s magical hand-eye coordination. As Kuznetsov flew by a Swiss defenseman, he put a shot on goal before whacking the rebound into the net out of mid air.

The Russian Hockey Federation managed to snap the brilliant above photo, which shows Kuznetsov getting the blade of his stick on the puck from behind the net.

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The playoffs broke Nate Schmidt. (Photos: Amanda Bowen)

The Washington Capitals held their closing interviews for the 2015-16 season at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday morning. What many of the players noted should have been a big practice day to prepare for Game Seven, was instead a somber cleaning out of the locker room. The season-ending Game Six loss to the Penguins on Tuesday was still very fresh. None of the Caps were quite ready to pack up and leave, especially after winning the President’s Trophy as the league’s best team during the regular season. Literally every player looked sad and at times on the verge of tears.

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Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all made their 2016 World Championship debuts for Team Russia, Saturday. Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal scorer didn’t dent the twine, but his Caps teammates sure were busy. Orlov delivered one of the biggest hits of his career while Kuznetsov, the Caps regular season leading point scorer, tallied on a brilliant mid-air deflection.

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Dmitry Orlov is in Russia for the IIHF World Championship, the NIT Tournament of the hockey world. That’s bittersweet, but this hit by Orlov on Nino Niederreiter of the Swiss team during Saturday’s game is just sweet. It is freaking sweet.

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Photo: Russian Hockey Federation

Friday afternoon, Washington Capitals Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov arrived safely in Moscow, home of the 2016 World Championship. Dressed from head to toe in nationalistic Team Russia gear, each Capital met with the media and talked about their disappointing finish to their NHL season.

“We are going to try to make up for the unfortunate showing in the NHL by winning the tournament and showing good hockey,” Alex Ovechkin said as translated by Igor Kleyner. “Of course it’s disappointing. But we’ll think about it later. Right now al the thoughts are about the Worlds. We will do everything to win.”

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Andre Burakovsky to Play in IIHF World Championship


Screenshot: buracap

Capitals forward and certified cinnamon roll Andre Burakovsky will face off against teammates Alex OvechkinEvgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov in the 2016 IIHF World Championship, held in Russia this month.

Burakovsky scored five points (four goals, one assist) in five games with Sweden in the 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championships. Burakovsky won a silver medal with Sweden at the 2014 event (3 goals, 4 assists). This will be his first World Championship appearance. He’s expected to make his debut in Sunday’s game against Switzerland.

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Photo: @jp_daddi0

During Thursday night’s taping of Jeopardy!, @jp_daddi0 alerted us to some important news: there were two Capitals fans in the audience. After a contestant answered a Daily Double correctly, a Jeopardy! camera shot to the crowd, revealing a male and female fan wearing the Caps’ third jerseys. That is awesome.

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Photo: Patrick Smith

Every year, Nicklas Backstrom’s facial hair gets a little less terrible and Alex Ovechkin’s hair gets a little more gray. Both players are still at the top of their game — for now. But by the time next season rolls around, Ovechkin will be 31. Backstrom will turn 29 soon after. Each player is getting near the latter half of their career.

“It absolutely crosses your mind,” Backstrom said when asked about him and Ovechkin running out of time to win a Stanley Cup. “We need to get over the hump we can’t get over.”

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Photo: Drew Hallowell

On Thursday, the Capitals gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to discuss another season that ended prematurely. The players were more visibly emotional than in years past at the annual end-of-season confab with reporters, promising Stanley Cups to the fans and articulating their frustrations with plenty of “failures” and “sucks.”

The news, however, came in the form of injuries revealed publicly for the first time. Karl Alzner’s ailment was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Referred to by Braden Holtby as the team’s most important player, Alzner missed most of the final game with a torn groin. He played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from the game.

“I know that the first four games of the series, I was just out there filling a spot, Alzner said. “I was out there and I was not hurting the team I don’t think, but I also wasn’t helping in winning in the game. That’s when you know you can still do things, but once I’m getting beat up the ice trying to chase a guy and not able to at least stay in battles, that’s when you know it’s time.”

He watched the Capitals penalty kill, a unit he normally plays big minutes on, give up two power play goals in 33 seconds after Brooks Orpik took a double minor for high-sticking. Later, Alzner sat helpless on the bench as the Penguins won it in overtime.

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The End-of-Season RMNB Party Line (RMNB Podcast)


Good morning, hockey fans. Yesterday I gathered a bunch of RMNB contributors to talk about the heartbreak of game six, what’s next for the Capitals, and how one could ever withstand the universe’s stark indifference to the suffering of man.

You can get the RMNB Podcast on iTunes. We’d love it if you could give us a rating and review.

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