kuznetsov-gardiner

The first half of the season was a struggle for Evgeny Kuznetsov. Lately though, we’ve been seeing some more confidence from Kuzy during even strength. Playing Toronto on Wednesday night, Kuznetsov skated nearly the length of the ice on a 2-on-4 attack before dishing to Marcus Johansson for a beautiful, one-timer goal.

It was a delicious apple– of the Russian variety!

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holtby-daughter

After the Washington Capitals concluded their first and only practice on the Winter Classic ice sheet, head coach Barry Trotz gathered his team in a semi-circle.

“They’re kicking us off the ice so we can let our families and let the people who helped us get here and the people you care about have some time on the ice,” Trotz said as the group disbanded. It was at that point dozens of friends, girlfriends, wives, and children came out onto the ice to enjoy a family skate with the Caps.

“This is Belle,” Braden Holtby said to EPIX cameras. “This is her first time on the ice.”

“Too bad you won’t remember this,” Holtby said, as he head turned to his new-born daughter. “We will.”

Brooks Laich could be seen skating with his girlfriend Julianne Hough. Trotz even got to say hello to Alex Ovechkin‘s mom and dad, Tatyana and Mikhail.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with your son,” Trotz said to Ovechkin’s parents, as the Russian machine translates. “I don’t know if it’s a pleasure coming back, but I know it’s a pleasure this way. I think we get along.”

“Happy New Year, health, good luck for the whole team and your family,” Ovechkin’s father responded back in Russian.

“The same thing goes for you,” Trotz said.

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bowey-destroys-xmas-stuff

Caps prospect Madison Bowey just won the World Junior Championship. He scored a goal in the tournament, but I was more impressed by something else: the destruction he authored at Christmastime. Bowey teamed up with forward Nick Ritchie to fire pucks at some traditional holiday favorites and put a unique spin on a hockey shootout.

I like seeing things get destroyed in slow motion and I think you will too. So here’s 8 GIFs.

See the unembeddable video on Bar Down here.

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burakovsky-goal

Photo: Brad Mills

After being infinity-scratched and forbidden to go to the World Junior Championship, head coach Barry Trotz put Andre Burakovsky back in his natural position on Sunday. He even gave the 19-year-old rookie a comfy spot on the first line next to Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. The move paid off. Burakovsky scored the first game-winning goal of his career in Washington’s 4-3 win over Florida.

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holtby-finds-puck

Braden Holtby made a simple stop during a Panthers power play early in the third period, but he couldn’t find where the puck went afterwards. It was lost somewhere in his pads.

“Look, I can make it disappear!” CSN’s Joe Beninati joked. “He might find it in the shower an hour later.”

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ovechkin-goal

Alex Ovechkin followed up his Winter Classic tally with a power-play goal against the Panthers on Sunday, his eighth of the season and 19th goal overall. It was all made possible because of a beautiful pass by Nicklas Backstrom.

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troy-brouwer-goal

Troy Brouwer is your hero. After Alex Ovechkin’s stick got slashed out of his hands, Brouwer, in the slot, just skated in a circle and fired blindly on net.

He scored!

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angry-barry-trotz

The Washington Capitals are being called for a bunch of penalties. Through the game’s first two periods, this is how the box score reads.

The officiating was already irritating head coach Barry Trotz when he went into Barry Crush Mode after John Carlson took an dumb cross-checking penalty during a penalty kill.

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ovechkin-blocks-shot-throat

We’ve known for years that Alex Ovechkin is a tough player. Russian machine never breaks and all that. During a first-period power play, Ovechkin’s immunity to human pain was spotlighted when he blocked a Blackhawks clearing attempt WITH HIS THROAT.

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ovechkin-celebrates-winter-classic-goal

Photo via @NHLPA

We don’t love the idea of Jay Beagle on the first line, but darn it if a clutch screen by #TopLineBeagle didn’t just help Alex Ovechkin score at the Winter Classic.

What a moment.

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