2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Photo: Andre Ringuette

On July 1st, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski will become a UFA, free to sign with any NHL team. While I can only assume whoever the Caps hire as GM would want to re-sign him way before then (please), Grabo has been quietly raising his price halfway across the world at the 2014 World Championship.

On Saturday, Grabovski scored two goals, including his second game-winning goal of the tournament (his first gwg is here) to lead Belarus over Germany, 5-2.

On Monday, Grabovski scored the game-winning goal again, this time in a 3-1 victory against Latvia, sending Belarus to the playoff round for the first time since 2009.

Grabo is kicking ass. Amazing goal GIFs incoming.

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chara

Zdeno sad. (Photo: Jared Wickerham)

The Montreal Canadiens pulled off an improbable comeback tonight, defeating the Boston Bruins 3-1 in game seven.

(Actually, I think I wrote that wrong. Let me try again.)

The universe decided it hated Zdeno Chara, so Montreal got ANOTHER fluky game seven win over a team way better than them.

(Okay, that’s better.)

Not kidding. Chara was bad. The 6’9” Norris trophy winner scored an own goal, committed two penalties, slipped on multiple invisible bananas, and had one particularly weird incident involving Brendan Gallagher and a temporary suspension of the rules of physics.

Let’s take a gander.

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All photos: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Washington Capitals forward Mikhail Grabovski scored a late game-winning goal in Belarus’s upset victory over Switzerland on Monday. The win substantially improved the chances that Grabovski and his teammates will make it out of the group stage at the World Championship. That’s huge for Belarus and its fans, and it explains why Grabovski celebrated like he had just won the Stanley Cup after scoring on the breakaway.

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Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Team Russia beat the living tar out of Team USA at World Championships today with a final score of 6-1. Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored goals, while Hershey Bears goalie Pierre McGuire David Leggio came on in relief of Tim Thomas in the second period.

Leggio allowed one goal on eight shots in 28:57 of ice time.

Let’s take a look at the highlights.

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Joel Ward celebrates victory with teammates Ryan Ellis, Mark Scheifele and Nathan MacKinnon (Photo: Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward scored two goals at the World Championship on Saturday as Team Canada beat Slovakia, 4-1, marking the first and second international goals of his career.

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2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Photo: Andre Ringuette

Back at the Olympics, Team Russia got eliminated from medal contention by Finland. It was sad. Even the mascot, the Sochi Bear, which literally had a smile fixed on its face, couldn’t keep it together.

Russia got revenge on Sunday, though some of the names and faces were changed. Buoyed by an Alex Ovechkin power-play goal (his second of the tournament), Russia beat Finland 4-2, ending a year-long losing streak to the Finns. It was Ovechkin’s second goal and his third point of the tournament.

Russia is now 2-0 in the World Championship and has outscored its opponents 9-2. Without Teemu Selanne, who is busy or something, Finland is 0-2 and may miss out on even qualifying for the playoffs.

Ovechkin’s goal was assisted by Dmitry Orlov.

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ted-leonsis-videobomb

For those who threw their remotes out the window when the Caps season ended, you’re missing out. The Caps co-tenants at Verizon Center, the Washington Wizards, have won their first playoff series since 2005 and upset the number-one seed Indiana Pacers in game one. On Wednesday night, ahead of game two, CSN Washington’s Chris Miller did a live shot from Bankers Life Fieldhouse during Wizards Central.

And then Ted Leonsis video-bombed Miller on live TV. Troy Brouwer would be so proud.

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Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is going to win the Hart trophy at the end of the season. Not only was Sid the only guy to score 100 points this year, he is also a good defensive player too. That’s why on Friday night against the New York Rangers, I was surprised to see Crosby completely give up on a play in the defensive zone.

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Semyon Varlamov Loses Another Game Seven

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Photo: Ron Chenoy

Former Capital Semyon Varlamov had an incredible year for the Colorado Avalanche, taking the Avs from last to first in the standings. He is likely to win the Vezina Trophy in June as the league’s best goaltender.

Unfortunately for Varly, this season — like many in the past — ends with a bitter taste in his mouth. Semyon Varlamov played in another game seven, and Semyon Varlamov in game sevens is not very good.

Against the Wild on Wednesday, Varly played his first game seven in four years — since he put up an .875 save percentage against the Montreal Canadiens. Varly was shaky again against Minnesota, making 30 saves on 35 shots for a .857 save percentage. He gave up the series-winning goal to Nino Niederreiter five minutes into overtime.

Varlamov is 1-for-4 in game sevens in his career with a lifetime .857 save percentage.

There’s only one thing left to do.

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ted-and-dick

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin

Today was a weird day. I’ve run into George McPhee many times, both as a tiny Caps fan and as an adult blogger. I really like him. And I loved Adam Oates as a player.

But, obviously, the Washington Capitals needed a change – the trade requests and the revolving door of coaches suggested serious dysfunction in the organization. Today, majority owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick hit the reset button, firing GMGM and Oates.

While some readers are openly celebrating the firings (which I totally get), this is also a painful moment for the people involved– most notably Leonsis and Patrick, whose decisions led the team down this path.

Both men spoke to the media on Saturday and you could tell it was not a press conference they enjoyed.

There wasn’t a lot of news in their words, but their faces spoke volumes.

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