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Wednesday morning, Team Russia announced the first 16 players on its World Cup of Hockey roster. Among those first 16 were three Capitals players: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov.

This is the first World Cup of Hockey in 12 years. The last WCH was in 2004 and was won by Canada. Unlike the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the NHL, with NHL rules, and is timed to not overlap with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Alex Ovechkin Named Second Star for February

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Photo: Washington Capitals

The NHL released its three stars for the month of February, and for the fourth month in a row, a Washington Capital has made the list.

Braden Holtby was the NHL’s Second Star in November and December. Evgeny Kuznetsov was the NHL’s Frist Star in January. Now, Alex Ovechkin is the NHL’s Second Star in February, scoring 12 goals and 4 assists during the month. He continues to lead the league in goals scored. Ryan Getzlaf was the First Star of the month, Filip Forsberg the Third Star

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Photo: Marianne Helm

Early Sunday morning, Brooks Laich was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in what was essentially a salary cap dump. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin typed a particularly sweet message to Laich on Instagram immediately after the trade was announced.

“Me and u was together since my 1st year,” Ovechkin wrote. “We make this team together! Im gonna miss u bro good luck to u!!! Gonna miss u!!!”

Since then, Laich flew to Toronto and made his debut Monday night in the Leafs 2-1 loss to the Lightning. Afterwards, Laich said he still had mixed emotions about the trade. “My heart was really there [in DC],” he admitted.

Wednesday night, in a cruel twist, Laich will be forced to revisit his feelings of the deal when Toronto plays the Capitals in Washington.

Ovechkin admitted how weird the situation will be after the Caps’ morning skate, Tuesday.

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Photo: Patrick Smith

The Capitals came back to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Though they eventually had dramatic goals from Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov, they looked listless for more than 40 minutes of play. After the game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz could anticipate what was coming.

“It’s 31 times that we haven’t scored first,” Trotz told a reporter who asked about Washington’s poor play early on. “Not that I count it out.”

The Caps have now have now allowed the game’s first goal seven games in a row and 14 of their last 17 games. Many of these slow starts have been against mediocre teams like the Coyotes and the Wild who both made Washington look pathetic in the first period this week. The Capitals usually come back — barely. Twelve of their last 14 games have been decided by one goal. Eight of those 12 games were victories for Washington.

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Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The league-leader in goals, Alex Ovechkin, scored again, Friday. The Ovi shot from the Ovi spot tied the Caps-Wild game 2-2.

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Friday night against the Wild, the Capitals gave away Holtbeast figurines to everyone in attendance. The action figure barely resembles Holtby, a point Holtbeast pointed out to the media, but that didn’t stop his teammates from having fun with it.

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Photo: Greg Fiume

It’s not everyday that a hockey player lands a long feature in Esquire Magazine, but Swedish hair model Henrik Lundqvist is a different breed. In the article, we learn that The King describes his look as clean, but with an edge. Lundqvist also talks about why good clothes can be a gateway drug into the world of watches.

The part I want to point you to is where the Rangers goaltender is asked who is the toughest player he’s ever faced. His answer: Alex Ovechkin.

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Photo: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

The Arizona Coyotes learned a valuable lesson Monday night that they probably should have already known: don’t give time and space to this generation’s greatest scorer.

With 11:43 left in the third period, Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 39th goal of the season after the Coyotes dared the Russian machine to shoot from the perimeter.

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Alex Ovechkin Has Tied Jeremy Roenick in All-Time Goals

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Photo: @_JoeMays

With his first-period goal, Alex Ovechkin‘s career total is now 513, the same number that Jeremy “horses***” Roenick scored.

Ovi’s league-leading 38th of the season, also his 17th goal in the last 17 games, started way back in the defensive zone, with a smart breakout pass by Brooks Orpik.

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How the Capitals Can Hack the Schedule and Rule the Playoffs

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

If you’ve yet to come across it, I highly recommend giving Tom Haberstroh’s recent splendid piece of reporting for ESPN The Magazine a read. It sinks its teeth into the grisly nature of the NBA’s 82-game schedule, putting a spotlight on the immense physical toll it puts on its players. The story itself isn’t necessarily a revelation, but is important nonetheless because it gets to the root of the issue stemming from systemic flaws the league willingly inflicts upon itself.

The comparison between the NBA and NHL isn’t seamless. There are fundamental differences between the two sports. In basketball significantly fewer players are relied upon to carry the load. The tread on the tires can accumulate particularly quickly for those guys given how much they’re asked to do on a nightly basis. Regardless, the idea that performance dips under fatigued conditions holds true in hockey just the same. The ability to control territorial play, generate more goals than the opposition, and ultimately win games all precipitously declines with decreased rest, lending credence to the phenomenon of “schedule losses.”

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