Monday, Team Russia held their first official practice for the World Cup of Hockey and I’ve got some great news. Washington Capitals brothers from another mother Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin have been paired together on the first line along with Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov.
Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov is also on Russia’s first defense pairing.
Alex Ovechkin is already the 33rd greatest goal scorer in NHL history. The Russian machine has 525 career goals, and, at 30 years old, was the fifth fastest player to reach the 500-goal plateau.
Ovechkin is scoring, however, in a time period where goals are even harder to come by than usual. On Sunday, Hockey Reference tweeted that Ovechkin’s 601 career adjusted goals puts him in the top 20 all time.
Ahead of the World Cup of Hockey, the Russian national team has been practicing together in St. Petersburg. On Thursday, Alex Ovechkin participated in Knowledge Day ceremonies, welcoming children back to school. Today, in that same vein, the Russian machine joined Evgeny Kuznetsov and Evgeni Malkin out on the ice to play hockey against children during the first intermission of the SKA/Lada Togliatti game.
The Russian superstars were dressed — I’m serious — as mascots.
Thursday was Knowledge Day in Russia and Alex Ovechkin spent his morning welcoming children back to school.
Joined on a stage by Russian stars Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Sergei Bobrovsky, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ilya Kovalchuk, the Russian machine helped celebrate the first day of classes at School #576 in St. Petersburg, a special boarding school for developing athletes. Today marked the 60th anniversary of its opening.
“Hi, everybody,” Ovechkin said when given a microphone. “You see people on the stage here who are prominent athletes, Olympic and World Champions. We hope that sometime you will be standing on this stage and saying the same words to future first graders.”
The EA Sports NHL video game series that has cost me countless dollars in college dorm room bets has slowly been releasing their 2017 player ratings for the past few weeks. The Capitals have made out pretty well after their 2015-16 President’s Trophy-winning season as they are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks with the most players rated in the top 50 with five.
In the run-up to the World Cup of Hockey, Team USA goaltender Ben Bishop spoke to ESPN’s Chuck Gormley about which players in the tournament have the best offensive skills.
He mentioned a lot of Caps players.
Sunday morning, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin confirmed on Instagram that he married long-time fiancee Nastya Shubskaya. Caps fans responded to the news with hearty congratulations for the couple and wishes for future Ovechbabies.
Meanwhile on Twitter, NHL.com’s mentions were taken over by trolls making bad ring jokes. The most notable rabble rousers were of course Penguins fans.
Capitals teammates Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov spent Thursday together in Russia supporting friend and former Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk, who retired from the NHL over the summer, played his first home game for SKA St. Petersburg.
It took just 38 seconds for him to score.
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