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As evidenced by some Instagram photos last weekend, former Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov is back in the states to start training for next season– just like his Russian compatriots Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov.

Varly, who finished second in voting for last year’s Vezina Trophy, is working out with expert trainer Steve Saunders for the third straight offseason.

Last week, to improve his explosive strength, Varly attached himself to a bungee cord and did some power jumps away from the wall. It did not go well.

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The End of the Conversation

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The hirings of Kyle Dubas as assistant GM in Toronto and Tyler Dellow as analytics expert in Edmonton have sent hockey’s good ol’ boys network into a panic. The contingent of hockey pundits who tout “intangibles” have long suspected and feared a reckoning at the hands of the spreadsheets. Now that it has finally happened, they effetely plead that the new era of analysis would not begin and end with Corsi:

These people miss the point. Advanced statistics aren’t just one piece in a bigger conversation. Advanced statistics are the end of the conversation.

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Alex Ovechkin Involved in Minor Car Accident in Russia

Photo: Super.ru

On Monday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin got in a minor car accident in Moscow’s northwestern suburb of Novogorsk, where Dynamo Moscow’s and Team Russia’s training facilities are located.

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nicklas-backstrom-byrnas

Photo: Al Bello

Tuesday at noon, Swedish center Nicklas Backstrom will be playing in his first game since the Caps regular season ended on April 13th. Backstrom will be participating in Brynäs’s Black and White scrimmage – an exhibition that’s been held every year in Sweden since the 1970′s. Backstrom played three seasons for Brynäs as a teenager before being drafted by the Caps.

For those of you who are hockey starved, I’ve got some great news. The scrimmage will be available to be watched live online via a Brynäs stream at noon (as long as that link is not geo-protected).

Backstrom shot a video for Brynäs’s Instagram earlier Monday to promote the game.

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caps-shorthanded-goal

Photo: Patrick Smith

The Washington Capitals had one of the best power plays in the league last season. They scored 68 goals on 278 opportunities for a 23.4 percent conversion rate, just behind Pittsburgh. They fired 85.8 unblocked shot attempts per 60 minutes on the PP, just behind San Jose. The Caps power play was deadly, but it was not perfect.

The Caps allowed ten shorthanded goals, the fourth highest total in the league. Alex Ovechkin, who played 93.2 percent of the Caps power play, fittingly, was on ice for 9 of those 10– sending his plus-minus, which is dumb and so is your face, down even further.

When we talk about things we want for the 2014-15 Capitals, ‘continued success on the power play’ is always part of it. But the Capitals should also look into what went wrong while playing a man up. Because it’s summer, and because I was worried that story about optimism might have made you unacceptably chipper, here’s a dour collection of 2013-14′s shorthanded goals and an assessment of who was to blame for each. Let’s party.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-semyon-varlamov

Photo: @kuzy092

Saturday night, Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov drove up to Atlantic City to watch the WBO light heavyweight champion of the world, Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev, box Blake Caparello. Kovalev hails from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kuznetsov’s hometown, and won via a vicious TKO in round two.

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Photo: @a0gr8

Beyond that, I have no idea what’s going on.

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dylan-bundy

Photo: Chris Gordon

Last Saturday, I spoke to Baltimore Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy about a range of fun topics: baseball, pick-up trucks, Gettysburg, hockey, his own rehab, and why every time I saw him that weekend he was wielding a giant crossbow. Bundy, ranked the 12th best prospect in all of baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law, has a fascinating story, which I had the honor of documenting for The Washington Post.

You can read it here.

You are certainly familiar with Stephen Strasburg, the hard-throwing ace for the Washington Nationals who was drafted first overall in 2010. Bundy, the top high-school athlete of the 2011 draft (and who can lift an insane amount of weight), was drafted 4th overall by the Baltimore Orioles the very next year. They’ve had mirror abilities and mirror career trajectories since. Both starters could throw 100 MPH. Both were robbed of a season due to Tommy John surgery after breezing through the minors. Both were heaped with humangous big expectations from fans immediately after they were drafted.

Two years ago, Bundy became the 16th youngest player to make the Orioles. He pitched twice in relief. 2013 was supposed to be the year he joined the rotation and dominated. Instead, he blew out his elbow in spring training.

After a year of rehab, Bundy returned to the mound with the Aberdeen Ironbirds in early June. A few weeks ago he was promoted to the Single-A Frederick Keys. While his velocity has not been the same, if all goes well, he could potentially join the Orioles down the stretch as they make their final push for the playoffs in September.

Below is the full transcript of our conversation.

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gillis

Ed. note: Here’s F.O.T.B. Ben Lutz, aka the DC Sports Dork, with an RMNB guest spot all about head coach and GM hires. You can see more of Ben’s work on www.dcsportsdork.com. If you enjoy his stuff, feel free to join his facebook page.

While hockey fans were paying attention to the Stanley Cup Finals, a handful of NHL teams were focused on hiring a new head coach and/or general manager. The Capitals found their guys by hiring Brian McClellan and Barry Trotz as GM and coach, respectively. Pittsburgh pulled off the unthinkable by hiring ex-Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford as their new general manager.

Hires like these inevitably lead to questions about the candidates’ credentials and organizational philosophies. Is it a good idea to hire a coach that has experience or one with a fresh set of ideas? Does the same apply to hiring a general manager?

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Just a few days from now, on August 2nd, The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, MD will once again host the “Leap Towards a Cure” Charity Hockey Tournament & Community Festival starting at 10 am. Proceeds from the Tournament will benefit the Andrea Henderson Memorial Fund.

The fund is named after Andrea “Froggy” Henderson, a long-time art teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD, who passed away from complications from breast cancer in October 2009. From 1998 through 2008 Froggy served as faculty sponsor, friend, and advocate for the ERHS Ice Raiders, providing a guiding hand for the team through its inception, recognition by the school as a varsity sport, and ongoing growth. 

The Andrew Henderson Memorial Fund was organized by ERHS Ice Raiders alumni shortly after Froggy’s memorial service. For the last five years, they’ve hosted a hockey tournament to raise funds. Accoridng to the charity’s website, to date, they have donated nearly $65,000 to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD.

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