Unfortunately, when Galiev first played for the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, he looked lost at times. He struggled on defense, not surprising considering how easy things came for him in juniors. The game was just a little bit too quick for him.
Because of that hard work, Galiev was arguably the team’s best player in Washington’s first preseason game of the year Saturday. Less than one week into training camp, Galiev might have turned a corner in his development.
Tom Wilson and Madison Bowey during Caps Development Camp in July. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
[Editor's Note: Fedor has reported on Washington Capitals prospects for RMNB for the last three years. This year we're proud to introduce his prospect rankings. The rankings will be updated three times during the season-- with the goal of updating you on how prospects are or not progressing. The first edition of the rankings come on the second day of Rookie Camp, as Caps prospects jockey for position within the organization.]
The Washington Capitals have re-stocked their prospect pipeline over the past two NHL drafts, giving fans a wealth of new players to get excited about in addition to a few solid free-agent prospects signings.
The 2012 Draft is turning out be a sterling spot on George McPhee’s resume. After picking Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson in the first round, GMGM made a few strong picks in the latter rounds with Thomas DiPauli, Connor Carrick, Riley Barber, and Christian Djoos– all of whom have been invited to their junior national team camps and left good impressions.
Depth on defense is an area of strength for this crop of talent, with more than a few prospects ready to compete for roster spots as soon as they open.
Below, check out inaugural edition of the RMNB prospect rankings.
Varly and trainer Steve Saunders. (Photo credit: Power Train Sports Institute’s Instagram page)
It seems like such a long time ago, but a few years back the Washington Capitals would almost always have a Russian on the ice. Not Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Viktor Kozlov, or Sergei Fedorov. It was Semyon Varlamov. At least, when he wasn’t struggling with groin injuries.
Varlamov, who at times looked more like an Olympic gymnast than a traditional NHL goaltender, had the talent to become the franchise’s long-term solution in net. After replacing Jose Theodore and dominating in the 2008-09 playoffs, Varlamov failed to lock down the starting position the next season. Because of injuries.
Varly’s injuries were made worse after rehab starts in Hershey. The next season, Varly battled with Michal Neuvirth for the number-one spot and again would was plagued by the same issues, again making another rehab trip to the Capitals’ AHL affiliate.
The Caps eventually dealt Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for draft picks during the summer of 2011, allowing the Avs to take all of the risk with Varly after his cheap entry-level contract expired. Since then, the Samara, Russia native has found his groove. After averaging 30.7 NHL-AHL appearances from 2008-11 with Washington and Hershey, Varlamov played in 53 games with Coloardo in 2011-12 and 51 in 2012-13 combined with Colorado and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. So what changed?
When Washington Capitals prospect Stan Galievwas demoted to the Reading Royals earlier this season, the 20-year-old Russian took it in stride. Case in point: during Reading’s 4-2 win over the Florida Everblades, Stas scored such a boss breakaway goal that he ended up on SportsCenter’s Top Ten list on Thursday. Kind of an amazing feat considering ESPN spent more time on Thursday discussing a cut on Carmello Anthony’s non-shooting hand than the NHL lockout.
Photos expertly taken by Perry Keating. (Copyright Perry Keating 2012)
Soon after representing the NHLPA in Toronto, Alex Ovechkin was back at home in Virginia playing soccer with his shirt off. Along with girlfriend (and Olympic bronze medalist!) Maria Kirilenko and Capitals teammates Stan Galiev and Dmitry Orlov, Ovi kicked the ball around on Wednesday night, letting us all know he’s fit and active during this hopefully not overlong offseason.
Ovechkin’s fitness comes as a huge relief to the Caps community, who last summer suffered terribly under the extinction-level crisis we now know as Fat-Gate. Ovechkin appears lithe and healthy here, which is exactly what any rational person would expect of an elite professional athlete.
The teams shake hands following the game. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
As has become tradition, Kettler Capitals Iceplex was packed to capacity Saturday for the final scrimmage of the team’s Development Camp and annual Fanfest. On a mid-July morning, hundreds were jammed into the team’s practice facility to watch prospects and college and free-agent invitees duke it out for the last time. Fans also took advantage of autograph sessions with Caps prospects and new Capitals center/rapperMike Ribeiro, who met the media for the first time yesterday.
As for the game itself, Team Red won in thrilling fashion, pulling out a 4-3 victory in overtime. After red pulled their goaltender, T.J. Syner scored in the final minute of the third period. In overtime, Max Iafrate set-up free-agent invitee Greg Miller for a slam-dunk one-timer in the slot. Stan Galiev and Riley Barber also scored for the red team. Daniel O’Donoghue, Taylor Stefishen, and David Vallorani tallied white’s three goals.
Below, check out my shots from the final day of camp.
2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson absorbs a big hit. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
Day two of Caps Development Camp took place today, with timed tests for the prospects in the morning and a scrimmage in the afternoon, but it was what was said off the ice that was most interesting. Olaf Kolzig talked abouta possible lockout, Stan Galiev talked about gaining nearly twenty pounds, and Max Iafrate brought us the distressing news that his father now listens to rap music.
Connor Carrick had the quote of camp however, explaining what Adam Oates’ first day as coach was like. “He’s nervous, we’re nervous, everybody’s nervous so nobody’s nervous.” Somebody put that to music, we’ve got a new hit for Carly Rae Jepsen.
In regards to the scrimmage, Team Red avenged Team White after their 3-1 loss yesterday, and won today, 2-1. AustralianNathan Walker scored the white team’s lone goal, while the red team’s two tallies were scored by Aaron Gens and David Vallorani.
RMNB’s Chris Gordon was there to capture all the action. Check out his photos below the jump.
Will Nail Yakupov don a Russian jersey again after these comments? (Photo credit: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald)
On Saturday, the Russian media outlets Sports.ru, Kulichki Hockey, and SportLook posted some blockbuster quotes from the NHL’s top draft-prospect Nail Yakupov at the NHL Combine in Toronto. Yakupov downplayed his Russian image and refused to be compared to Nikolai Zherdev (a notorious NHL bust who was drafted 4th in 2003). There hasn’t been a lot of talk about this in North America yet, but I would still like to clarify some points now.