Alex Ovechkin Captains Russian National Team

Photos: FHR.ru

On Thursday, Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all played in a hockey game for the first time since the Caps’ dreadful season ended two weeks ago.

The three Russian Caps suited up for Russia’s national team in what was basically a glorified exhibition against Germany to warm up for the World Championships. Team Russia won 4-2 and scored three of their four goals in 1:38. None of the Caps players scored or tallied a point.

One interesting fact we can take from the game is that Ovechkin was captain of Team Russia. It’s the first time he’s led the national team since 2005, when he was the 19-year-old captain of Russia during the World Junior Championships. Though his captain patch totally looks velcroed on.

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The Three Futures of the Washington Capitals

It’s been ten days since the Washington Capitals’ season ended and the proverbial axe has yet to fall. As of press time, both George McPhee and Adam Oates are still gainfully employed. That has some people upset.

I get it. I’m a bit surprised the team hasn’t acted yet. And this period of uncertainty doesn’t come without consequences, among them the possible loss of pending free agent Mikhail Grabovski. That would be bad, but I’m trying to see it from the owners’ perspective.

The Caps are at a fork in the road. I can see three potential futures ahead of the team, and now Ted Leonsis has to choose one. It’s a daunting decision, one that merits careful deliberation and planning. If the Caps pick incorrectly– or fail to properly execute that decision– things could get grim and dark. Things could get grimdark.

Here are all the ways I can I see it going.

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Photo: R-Sport

On Monday, Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov joined the Russian national team in Novogorsk, near Moscow, to get ready for the IIHF World Championships to take place in Minsk, Belarus beginning on May 9th.

According to new national team head coach Oleg Znarok, the players exercised for an hour and fifteen minutes. How exciting.

Znarok also revealed that all three Caps players will play Thursday against Germany in the Eurochallenge, an exhibition tournament to help teams prepare for the World Championships.

Afterwards, Ovechkin talked to a bunch of different Russian press members. He didn’t really say much.

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ovesby

The greatest story in the history of hockey continues. I am so excited to share this I am about to puke rainbows all over the keyboard.

Our brother from another blogger, Kyle Mace of SHOE, shared this photo from Hershey, Pennsylvania. It’s the sequel to CROCHKIN, the legendary Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin Frankenstein shirsey.

Ladies and germs: presenting OVESBY!

Is everyone freaking out or is it just me?

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On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex after missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. Alex Ovechkin spoke about his disappointment, Evgeny Kuznetsov talked about sneezing, and Dmitry Orlov learned what corsi is.

Four days later, all three Caps Russians jumped on a plane to go back home.

You know what that means: selfies on an airplane.

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Despite not making the playoffs, a lot of Washington Capitals players still have some hockey left to play. Last week, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and he will be representing Team Russia in the 2014 World Championships happening in Minsk, Belarus.

But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.

When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”

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Photo: Chris Gordon

On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.

There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.

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Off to the Golf Course: Caps Breakdown Day in Photos

Breakdown Day (6 of 12)

NHL plus-minus spokesman and hair model Alex Ovechkin speaks for the final time this year. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Monday was an odd day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. We entered the day expecting to Adam Oates and George McPhee shed some light of their respective fates — or at least try to defend their time here.

Instead, we got an awkward stand-off with reporters. Within minutes of a spokesman announcing that McPhee would not be meeting the media, the general manager walked out to an area clearly visible to reporters. He chose to hold court with Connor Carrick in front of the entire Capitals press corps before reiterating that he would not speak today.

McPhee’s job — if he doesn’t leave of his own volition — is now in the hands Caps owner Ted Leonsis, who has never fired a general manager.

There were, however, other things that happened at Kettler on Monday: Jay Beagle got asked what he thought of Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Penner ignored reporters to play with his phone, and Brooks Laich said that he really, really, really believes he’s healthy again.

Below, take a look at some of my photos from the day.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov takes off his pads after Sunday’s game. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

By tomorrow morning, big changes may have already struck the Washington Capitals. After the Caps’ final game, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players were somber, but not angry. They’ve been dealing with postmortem questions since Thursday. Four days later, those questions haven’t got any easier to answer, even if the team’s flaws are clear.

I brought my camera into the locker room as the players took off their skates for the final time this year and faced probing reporters Sunday evening. They’ll have to face the latter again tomorrow morning.

Take a look at my photos.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

For the first time in their respective careers, Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, and Evgeny Kuznetsov will all play together on Russia’s national team. As first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov, Ovechkin announced the news after the conclusion of the Caps’ season-ending shootout loss to the Lightning.

The World Championships, which will be held this year in Minsk, Belarus, begin on May 9th and end May 25th.

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