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.

Continue Reading


On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia lost to Sweden 2-0 at Stockholm Globe Arena during the Oddset Hockey Games, which is basically another international tournament before the World Championships begin on Friday.

We have two important pieces of information to share from this game. First, Mattias Ek of the Swedish website Expressen reports that Ovechkin was named captain of Team Russia for the Worlds. That’s neat and not all that surprising.

Second, Ek shares a story that should warm your our cold, Capital heart. Apparently in the third period, with Swedes Jimmie Ericsson and Andreas Thuresson in the penalty box, Ovechkin “bombed away for Putin and his motherland” and “shot off the blade of Tre Kronor centreman Mikael Backlund” with a huge shot.

Unfortunately, there’s no video, but Backlund spoke to SportExpressen.se exclusively after the game about the incident. He sure was impressed by Ovechkin’s power.

Continue Reading

Fancystats Crash the ESPN Mock Draft

Anze Kopitar

Anze Kopitar celebrates a goal last year against the Blackhawks. (Photo credit: Harry How)

Editor’s note: You can win a 1-year subscription to ESPN Insider and a $25 gift certificate to Front Page VA by guessing Neil’s first two draft picks tonight. Check out the details on our Facebook page.

As part of ESPN.com’s NHL family, I was invited to participate in their fantasy hockey draft this past Tuesday. Just me and guys like Craig Custance, John Buccigross, and Scott Cullen.

No pressure.

Victoria Matiash has already given a bird’s eye view of the draft, but I thought I would run through my thought process on various picks and give you some ideas for your fantasy draft. Plus, you can see how I do for the season because we are making the results public.

Here were the ground rules for the draft:

Participants included, in original order, Craig Custance, Tristan Cockcroft, Tim Kavanagh, John Buccigross, Pierre Becquey, Michael Hume, Victoria Matiash, Neil Greenberg, Sean Allen and Scott Cullen. Categories include goals, assists, power-play points, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal and average time on ice for skaters and wins, save percentage and goals-against average for goaltenders. Slots to fill include nine forwards, five defensemen, one “utility” skater, two goaltenders and a five-man bench.

My philosophy was simple: grab young, healthy, talented players with upside. Let others worry if Patrick Kane would be healthy or if Sergei Kostitsyn can once again score 20 goals on less than 100 shots.

I had the eight pick. With my editor Mike Hume drafting before me (he knows which players I fancy) and Cullen having back-to-back picks behind me I knew I had to make strategic decisions.

Continue Reading