On Wednesday, the Hershey Bears opened their preseason by playing the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the brand new PPL Center. The result of the actual game however is secondary to the sick goal Russian prospect Stan Galiev scored.
Galiev does a 360, passes the puck to himself, goes through two defenders, and then snipes the puck to the top right corner of the net.
Dmitry Orlovjust returned to DC today, after spending the last few weeks in New York (with Sasha Minor) rehabbing his injured wrist. Meanwhile Evgeny Kuznetsov and Stan Galiev have been in Arlington since late July.
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.