The Caps trioka is now 2-0 in two World Championship play.
Monday at Moscow’s Ice Palace, the Russian National Team defeated Norway 3-0. Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov had two assists. Dima received the primary assist on Ivan Telegin’s second period goal and tallied a secondary on Roman Lyubimov’s third period goal.
After finishing the regular season as the NHL’s best team, the Washington Capitals fell short of their ultimate goal, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games during the semi-finals. Captain Alex Ovechkin hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs during his entire 11-season career, but despite some national media reports, this season’s early exit was not Ovechkin’s fault.
“It was my back, lower back,” Ovechkin said. “Right now it’s gone. The trainers did a great job to keep me safe and healthy.”
This weekend, we also learned of something else Ovechkin was dealing with privately. According to a Russian TV program, two days before the playoffs began Alex Ovechkin’s father Mikhail suffered a heart attack, which caused the family to call for an ambulance.
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.”
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.”
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.”
There’s still more hockey to be played for Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov. This morning, less than 12 hours after the Capitals’ season-ending loss to the Penguins, Russia announced that they were calling up the three Caps to their World Championship team.
The 2016 World Championship is being held in Saint Petersburg and Ovechkin’s hometown of Moscow.
You’re not gonna believe this. Not only did the Capitals gain an early lead over the Penguins, but it also happened on the gosh darn power play, thanks to hard work by Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, and TJ Oshie. Wonders never cease, and Russian machines never break.
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby’s hand just had a semi-violent encounter. The Russian machine slashed Crosby in the arm while trying to forecheck. Crosby, injured on the play, would immediately go down the tunnel and into the locker room.