- Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy20 days ago
For the Washington Capitals, the arrival of Evgeni Kuznetsov late last season was a welcome addition. The Capitals have for years struggled to fill the second line center spot that was one of the Achilles heels for the club. Kuznetsov, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was the prime player to fill that role.
“I haven’t really comprehended exactly what was happening due to the short amount of time I spent playing in the NHL last season,” Kuznetsov shared his thoughts with me this week, regarding last season.
With the arrival of the new coach Kuznetsov feels he has even a better shot now.
“We have a new coach this season, so for me everything is new again.” Kuznetsov said. “And it is a plus for me in a way, because it is new for all of the guys here with the new coach. We are all equal here now. And it is a good thing. Everyone was expecting to play defense first and only, but it is not the case. We attack, and defensemen are encouraged to go forward. We will play attacking style hockey this season. We are just told how to play defense the right way.”
- Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy22 days ago
It was a few years ago when the Washington Capitals started rebuilding the hockey capital, encouraging their fans to “rock the red.” Led by the core of “Young Guns” – Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom – the team was hyped to compete for the Cup for years to come. Alex Ovechkin was viewed as positively as anyone in the NHL.
At some point it all started to change. The “Young Guns” were not so young anymore, and even lost one of their musketeers. Alex Ovechkin has – fairly or unfairly – become more of a villain in the eyes of a lot in the media and amongst fans. And the Washington Capitals are in search of a new identity yet again, after a major – and an overdue – overhaul in their front office after the end of last season.
Alex Ovechkin is entering his 10th season in the NHL. And over the summer he has taken some time to reflect on the decade gone.
- Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy2 mths ago
Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals spoke with Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport recently for another wide-ranging interview, one that covered everything from his injury at the world championships to asking Vladimir Putin for cars as gifts for his teammates to dealing with another new coach in D.C.
Oh, and he also addressed his problem with plus/minus.
Here’s the interview; the Russian language version is here.
Q. After a disappointing season the Capitals started cleaning the house, and the head coach Adam Oates and the general manager George McPhee were let go, you said ‘It’s good that I wasn’t kicked out.’ Is this even possible? Ovechkin is the symbol of the city. You were given keys to the city!
OVECHKIN: “This is business. Right now we are sitting, and suddenly I will get a call: ‘Man, you have been traded to another team.’ And I just bought a house, and haven’t made it my own yet.”
And what to do with the house then? Sell it?
“Why? I will keep it. I like living in Washington.”
Two and a half years after the plane crash that took lives of the entire Lokomotiv KHL team, authorities finished their investigations into the crash, concluding that the flight crew was allowed to fly unlawfully, according to First Yaroslavl TV Channel and Sovetsky Sport.
Investigators performed forensic analysis of all evidence, interviewed hundreds of witnesses of the crash, spoke to the relatives of players and coaches and employees of Yak Service airline that was responsible for the flight. Following the investigation, only one person will be criminally charged as a result of the crash – the former deputy general director of Yak Service airline Vadim Timofeyev. Working at the airline he was responsible for flight operations. The prosecutors are charging Timofeyev with criminal negligence related to safety and operation of a plane.
KHL President Alexander Medvedev has long desired to have Russian stars in the NHL come back home to play for his League. Last summer, Ilya Kovalchuk’s “retirement” followed by his signing with SKA blazed a path for others to follow.
The question being asked now: Would Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin attempt to follow it?
Medvedev, through a KHL spokesman, told ESPN.com earlier this month that, "Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Ovechkin would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Washington club. Should that situation come to pass, I have no doubt there are KHL clubs who would have interest in his services."
In a recent interview with Championat.com, Medvedev went into further detail on Ovechkin and whether or not he’d make the jump to the KHL:
Cam Ward has played just 47 games in the last two seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes due to injuries. This season, he was 10-12-6 with a save percentage of .898. He’ll earn $6.7 million next season and then $6.8 million in 2015-16, after which he’ll become a free agent.
Anton Khudobin was Carolina’s best goalie this season, is three years younger and costs over $4 million against the cap cheaper than Ward.
Khudobin respects Ward. But he also feels like, perhaps, his time is over in Carolina.
“Of course he is a strong goaltender. He is a good goaltender. No one is counting him out. They [Carolina] will decide what to do with him this year, this summer. Maybe he, how can I say, has presented everything he could have,” said Khudobin at a Russian National Team press conference on Monday.
Presented everything he has with Carolina or in the NHL?
“Maybe at this club. Maybe in his career. He has been playing in the NHL since he was 19,” said Khudobin.
This should make for an interesting training camp. Provided Ward is still a Hurricane.
Some additional words from Khudobin:
How do you rate this season?Sat, Nov 14:00 PM PDTArizona at CarolinaPreview Game
Anton Belov signed a four year contract in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg. To some it was an unexpected move. For others, Belov could never fulfill the promise that the one-time best KHL defenseman would become a good player for the Edmonton Oilers.
Belov joined the Russian national team in Novogorsk, near Moscow, to get ready for the IIHF World Championships that will take place in Minsk, Belarus beginning May 9. He was asked about his departure from the NHL by Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, who shared the conversation with us.
Why did this move happen? You secured a spot on Edmonton’s roster, played a lot there, and then you decided to come back.
“There is no one reason that made it an abrupt change. It all was building up during the season, especially more so after the Olympics. And the hire of coach Bykov (by SKA) was also an influence. The other point is that I could have re-signed with Edmonton, but I didn’t want to stay with that coach [Dallas Eakins]…”
You were offered a contract?Sat, Nov 17:00 PM PDTVancouver at EdmontonPreview Game
Henrik Lundqvist on NY Rangers’ Cup chances, John Tortorella vs. Alain Vigneault (Puck Daddy Interview)Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy7 mths ago
Henrik Lundqvist already has a silver medal to his credit this year. Could he add more championship hardware with the New York Rangers this postseason?
I recently caught up with the goalie to discuss the Rangers’ Stanley Cup chances, comparing his current and former coaches, the Sochi Games and how he relaxes in his down time.
Q. You broke quite a few records for the New York Rangers recently, and the ceremony the team held for you was appreciated by every hockey fan.
LUNDQVIST: “It was definitely a special moment in my career. Skating over there, I saw my mom standing there crying. It was hard not to get all emotional. It was just very special for me, to have my family on the ice to share that moment with me was so great on so many levels.”
Would you say this team is the deepest Rangers team in your tenure?
- Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy7 mths ago
Team Russia on Monday named its extended roster – minus NHL players, for now – for the IIHF World Championships that will take place in Minsk in May. Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the names on it. It wasn’t long, though, before Kovalchuk himself ruled himself out, announcing he will have a surgery on his knee in Germany later this week.
Kovalchuk got injured in Sochi in Team Russia’s final group game against Slovakia. He aggravated the injury in Russia’s next game against Norway.
At the time doctors knew that the injury was serious. Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport reports that team doctors even contacted his KHL club SKA to obtain permission for him to play against Finland. Kovalchuk himself insisted he should play saying, “Tell the coaching staff that I want to play. I am ready. And my leg is letting me, I can bend it.”
Kovalchuk scored Russia’s only goal against Finland in a 3-1 loss.
- Puck Daddy7 mths ago
Evgeni Malkin made the media standing outside the Penguins locker room wait for him after the Pittsburgh Penguins' Monday night win in Washington against the Capitals. The pain of losing in Sochi is still present on Malkin’s face every time a question is asked about it. And he doesn’t hold back answering. Malkin talked walking to the team bus on Monday night.
The Washington-Pittsburgh games have lost their luster a little. Don’t you think?
“I don’t know. I think fans still like them. The playoffs will start and if we play against each other I think everything will come back. The season is long, there are a lot of games. And now every time we play against Washington now the hype is not the same. Maybe because Sid had some injuries in the past the draw of this game was lost.”
This is the first time after the Olympics you played against Washington. Did you and Alex Ovechkin talk?
“No. We arrived late last night, and we are leaving right after the game. They are also leaving right away. Maybe we will talk tomorrow. But what’s there to talk about? To remember Sochi?”Sat, Nov 14:00 PM PDTBuffalo at PittsburghPreview Game