Photo credit: Matt Slocum
When Peter Laviolette was panic-fired Monday morning for his team shooting 2.4% through three games at even strength, I laughed. Then I thought about the five-year contract they gave Vincent Lecavalier over the offseason, and I laughed some more. Then I thought about how they traded Vezina-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky one season and then bought out Ilya Bryzgalov the next, choosing to pay the Russian $23 million over the next 14 years not to play, tears started rolling down my face. Paul HoLOLmgren, you are teh best.
Once I got past that (it was difficult), I was quite happy for long-time Washington Capitals enforcer Craig Berube, who was named the Flyers’ new head coach (Not interim!).
Berube becomes the third player from the Capitals’ 1997-98 Stanley Cup Final team to become a head coach in the NHL joining former Capital captains Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. With former Caps’ 98 Cup Final players Calle Johansson and Olie Kolzig serving as assistants in Washington (Kolzig is goaltending coach), I wondered how many other players from that very-talented, overachieving team are now coaching in hockey.
The number is staggering.
Fifteen years ago, former Capital Esa Tikkanen had a breakaway in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. It could have iced the game for Washington and led them to the franchise’s first Cup. Instead, his shot completely missed the wide-open net and the Capitals were swept in four games by the Detroit Red Wings.
Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov had his own painful playoff moment Friday. With Traktor Chelyabinsk trailing Dynamo Moscow in the KHL Finals 2-1, Kuzya had a chance to put Traktor in total control of game three, when he was sprung on a breakaway mid-way during the second period. At approximately 95 MPH, Kuznetsov performed his patented breakaway move where he fakes a forehand shot and then puts the puck waaaaaay on his backhand, trying to slip the biscuit past the goalie. It almost worked.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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