The Russian National Team remained undefeated Tuesday with the Caps trioka — Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov — on the roster. Russia beat Team Sweden 4-1 to finish second in Group A.
But the victory didn’t come without a scare – especially for Caps fans. In the second period, Evgeny Kuznetsov absorbed a dangerous hit from Swedish center Mikael Backlund as he skated into the offensive zone. Kuznetsov, who did not have the puck, was hit the head and shoulder by Backlund. Kuznetsov, woozy, needed help to get off the ice, but returned several minutes later after applying ice on the bench.
Team Russia head coach Oleg Znarok commented briefly on the play in his post-game press conference.
One of Caps fans’ biggest fears when players head overseas for international competition after the NHL season is the very real threat of injury. We got a taste of that threat today when Evgeny Kuznetsov had to be helped off the ice during Russia’s match against Sweden in the IIHF World Championships underway in Moscow.
Kuzy went down after taking a shoulder to the head from Mikael Backlund, a Swedish center who plays for the Calgary Flames. Kuznetsov did not have the puck.
Photos: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images
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.
If you count the Capitals’ regular season and playoff games, Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s World Championships goal Saturday was his second tally in 32 games. And it was another jaw-dropping example of Kuznetsov’s magical hand-eye coordination. As Kuznetsov flew by a Swiss defenseman, he put a shot on goal before whacking the rebound into the net out of mid air.
The Russian Hockey Federation managed to snap the brilliant above photo, which shows Kuznetsov getting the blade of his stick on the puck from behind the net.
Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all made their 2016 World Championship debuts for Team Russia, Saturday. Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal scorer didn’t dent the twine, but his Caps teammates sure were busy. Orlov delivered one of the biggest hits of his career while Kuznetsov, the Caps regular season leading point scorer, tallied on a brilliant mid-air deflection.
Photo: Russian Hockey Federation
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.”
Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
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.
The Washington Capitals must win their next two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins to keep their Stanley Cup dreams alive. Yet, if you think the players are figuratively drowning in a sea of anxiety, you’d be wrong. So. Very. Wrong.
For example, let’s take a closer look at this post-practice interview with Jason Chimera.
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