On January 13th, the KHL will host their fifth annual All-Star game at Cheylabinsk’s Traktor Sport Palace and two Washington Capitals players (that we wish were in DC right now) have been voted into the starting line-up by fans: Team West’s Alex Ovechkin and Team East’s Evgeny Kuznetsov. The exhibition, which is set to be played in Kuznetov’s hometown, will mark the first time that the Caps legend and his protégé have suited up against one another — well, that is if the NHL lockout rages on for another month. And if there’s a just and loving God, it won’t!
Photo credit: yarreg.ru
The last time we visited former Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov on this site, he was showing off his gracefulness by falling on his heinie after winning the World Championship with Russia. Since then, Varly signed a lockout contract with his old Russian Super League team, Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, and has been a total stud. He currently leads all KHL goaltenders in GAA (1.63) and SV% (.951). He’s also got a scintillating 7-2-3 record.
Those superstar numbers, however, hasn’t stopped Varly from being one with his people. Last night, in Yaroslavl, Varlamov participated in a charity circus performance, hosting over 1,000 kids from orphanages around the area. He signed autographs, answered questions from fans, and… dressed up in a sumo suit. That’s not a typo.
Photo credit: dynamo.ru
On Monday Nicklas Backstrom, sporting his new #99 jersey, made his debut for Dynamo Moscow and returned to a familiar spot: centering Alex Ovechkin on the top line. The BFFs clicked instantly.
Backstrom assisted on the first goal of the game, a snapshot by Ovechkin past Lokomotiv Yaroslavl goaltender (and former teammate) Semyon Varlamov on the power play. Ovechkin would add an assist in the third period (and also challenge half of Lokomotiv’s roster to a fight). Dynamo won 3-0.
To the video!
Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth spoke to the Czech website iSport.Cz on Monday, and boy oh boy did he have some fascinating opinions to share. Talking with František Suchan, Neuvirth departed from the meek personality he’s cultivated since joining the Capitals in ’08-’09 and spoke with remarkable candor about a wide range of topics. We’d like to direct your attention to his quotes on the goalie situation in D.C.— both last season and in the future. Neuvy says he considers Braden Holtby his “weakest competition” since he’s been in D.C., expresses his frustration over always being the “bridesmaid” in net, and admits that he urged Tomas Vokoun to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Get ready to have your mind blown.
Photo via: photo.khl.ru
The entire Russian national team was clearly elated to win World Championship gold this year, dominating their competition along the way and winning their final game 6-2. While there was a lot of the expected hugging and jumping around, former Cap Semyon Varlamov was especially overexcited, which led to a small mishap when he was handed the trophy.
Alex Semin has been relatively quiet since joining the Russian national team for the World Championships, recording only assists in his two games played before the final gold-medal round. Semin showed up for Team Russia in a big way today, scoring twice and recording one assist to lead the team to a 6-2 win, securing their first World Championship gold medal since 2009.
Ovi celebrates his goal. (Photo credit: Championat.com/Getty Images)
Despite allowing the first goal, the Russians dominated the Finns for almost the whole game, winning 6-2. Evgeny Malkin scored a hat trick, while Alex Ovechkin, Denis Kokarev and Sergei Shirokov each added a goal of their own.
Photo credit: ria.ru
Top-seeded Team Russia defeated Team Norway today with a score of 5-2 to advance to the semifinals of the World Championship being held in Stockholm. Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin joined their national team on the ice for the first time and had an immediate impact, with Ovechkin scoring the first goal of the night and Semin providing two assists.
Ovechkin broke a World Championships pointless streak stretching back through all five games of last year’s tournament, scoring nearly eight minutes into the game. His tally began with teammate Alex Semin going strong to the net with the puck, allowing the Russian superstar to collect a rebound behind Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen. Ovechkin then knocked the puck in when he attempted to center the puck.
No playoffs for Varly. Sad Varly. (Photo via: carrotbazooka.tumblr.com)
The day before Semyon Varlamov was traded, all indications were that he was headed to the KHL. When news broke that he’d been traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a first and a second-round pick, we were a bit surprised. It was a great trade for what had been essentially a dead asset, but still, there was a point in the season when we had to wonder if the Caps’ own first-round pick wouldn’t end up being higher than Colorado’s.
Now with only one game remaining in the season, both the Caps’ and the Avs’ fates have finally been decided. As of Thursday night, Colorado is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, which means that #AvsFailWatch has officially come to an end, and the Capitals can finally start to get an idea of what shape the assets they hold are going to take.
Justin Bourne of The Score published a video on Tuesday capturing his top 10 goals of the 2011-12 season (so far). It’s a good list with a ton of action, but it might stir up some bad memories for you. Not only are no Washington Capitals players on the list, but three of the ten goals happened against D.C. goalies.
Enjoy the video and follow me past the jump: