What IIHF World Shows Caps About RFA’s Kuznetzov and Orlov

The NHL season didn’t end so well for the Capital’s Russian players Evgeny Kuznesov and Dmitry Orlov. As another year ended at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins and fellow countryman Evgeny Malkin, Kuzy and Dima made plans to join Team Russia for the IIHF Worlds in Germany and France.

And boy oh boy did they shine. In their first game against Czech Republic, Orlov, wearing his old 81 sweater, scored the game winning  goal of the game. Kuznetsov earned three points in the three games he played (one goal and two assists)  to help the team take home the Bronze. He had five shots in nine games. Orlov had seven shots in his five games. Kuzy played with the finesse we are used to seeing while Dima was a speed demon and really lit up the ice when he was on.

The pair of 25 year-old players are both restricted free agents this summer. It is highly likely that the Caps will sign both players. It goes without saying that the KHL has an interest in both players. No doubt the Caps kept an eye on their players and how they performed in different circumstances. They have to balance that against their performance this season.

11-25-0215In his third full year of playing with the Caps, Kuznetsov dropped from a previous high overall points recorded of 77 to 59. While his goal scoring was pretty static (20 dropping to 19), his assist number dropped 57 to 40. His plus/minus dropped from 27 to 18. His power play production dropped, as did his shots indicating that he has not been contributing as much to the teams scoring chances. And yet we believe that the best is yet to come from Kuzy. Maybe World’s was what he needed to shake off the rust of the season past.

img_7622-1Orlov had a rather uneven year. Fans were either all praise or all trade him. This was his second full season after returning from a wrist injury. His overall performance was slightly improved over the 2015/16 season going from 21 to 27 points. Most notable he improved his plus/minus from eight to 30, meaning he was on the ice when a lot of Caps goals were scored. Then again, his save percentage dropped from 8.9 to 4.8. When it comes to the playoffs–which is really where the team needs to focus, Orlov was a shooting machine who had three assists to help the team.

Going forward it will take a little bit of $$ and some longer contracts to keep these two on the roster. The last time Orlov negotiated a contract, it went down to the wire and it wasn’t clear if the two sides would come to agreement. Given the uneven performance, the Caps might decide to go with another one- or a two-year contract to see how he improves. For Kuznetsov, the team again is highly likely to sign him to a multi-year deal Many have believed that the long-term future of the Caps rests on the shoulders of younger players and none more than Kuzy.

The watch continues as the boys and their families head off to vacation and spend time catching up with family and friends.

Team Europe Surprise Defeat over Team USA WCH2016

We’ll keep this short: Team Europe managed to get around goalie Jonathan Quick. Team USA, with 35 shots on goal, couldn’t break through the Wall of Halak.

Some have said USA seemed to lack a sense of urgency or desire to win. We think their shots show the opposite. We actually think it may be more of a coach issue. John Tortorella has something to prove with this team; however, he doesn’t seem to have created a cohesive system or even a team the can read one another.

We won’t totally blame Torts. The guys need to take this loss and find a way to return energized against the dynamic and cohesiveness of Team Canada on Tuesday if they hope to advance.

We remain cautiously hopeful and have faith in Quick!!

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Go USA!!

Photo Highlights of Team USA from WCH2016

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Team USA Celebrates it’s Win Over Team Finland

Team USA plays Team Europe at 3:30 EST.

Washington was treated to a great pre-tournament match between Team USA and Team Finland. The night was extra special because three Washington Capitals’ players are on the team. We had a chance to wave the flag, sing our anthem,and chant “USA, USA” for a few hours.

It was great seeing the Caps players on home ice. We also had the privilege of seeing some of the best American hockey players come together to take a 3-2 win over Finland. A sign of things to come in the tournament???

T.J. Oshie always gets the crowd excited when he puts on the Team USA jersey and Tuesday night was no different. Just remember when watching the games the next couple of weeks that he is wearing number 74 and not John Carlson!  So confusing…

Speaking of John Carlson-he has had a great showing in the pre-games. That’s a good sign for the Caps. He will be wearing the number 4 jersey as he usually does in non-Caps games.

Matt Niskanen, another Washington Capital, is also on the team. He at least is wearing his normal number 2.

 

Team USA has some great goalies minding the net: Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop, and Corey Schneider. Quick, who will get the start on Saturday, is an Olympic silver medalist and two-time Stanley Cup winner. He also earned the Conn Smythe trophy as most valuable player in 2012. (sorry, no shots of Schneider)

Other favorites from around the league include Patrick Kane (88) and Ryan Kesler (17). Kesler scored a goal and an assist in the USA-Finland game in DC.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the whole Team USA and how they progress through the World Cup of Hockey. For now, we will cheer on the likes of Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, (33-Jets), or Ryan McDonagh (27-NYR).

In the end, we think it will come down to how good this guy is in the net and how team stands up against a strongly united Team Canada who is playing at home and Team Russia who is determined to show the world that they are still competitive.

GO USA !!!

USA-Finland World Cup of Hockey Third Period Wrap

Back to the third period with a stong USA lead over Finland. Finland put up a good fight against Team USA closing the gap to 3-2 as USA takes the win.

Pretty uneventful 10 minutes until USA Justin Abdelkader was called for slashing- Finlnd to the PP again. 

Finally Finland’s Patrik Laine got one on the boards.  3-1 USA

Finlnd wasn’t done yet scoring again with 4:33 left in the game- goal by Jussi Jokinen. 3-2 USA.

USA-Finland World Cup of Hockey 2nd Period Around  the Glass

Second period started with USA power play but no conversion. 

Ryan Kesler fires a powerful shot past Finland goalie Pekka Rinne. USA leads 2-0.

 In a blink of an eye Derek Stepan slides one in the net with a John Carlson assist! 3-0 USA

Penalty called on Jack Johnson for cross check gave Finland the man advantage. USA held them back–no score–still.

Caps played a tribute to Oshie from the Olympics- lots of cheers!    

Only excitement for a while was a tiny scrum with Osh behind the Finland net.

And we were treated to the Red Rockers showing off their dancing skills. We highly recommend more of this in Caps regular season.

Any who- second period ended with USA controlling the ice and the game 3-0. 

USA – Finland World Cup 1st Period Round the Rink


Verizon Center is rocking!! Wes Johnson was in his rightful spot and Slapshot was all patriotic waving the flag!!!

TJ Oshie was first to score! Go Caps!!

Power play for USA but nothing makes it to the goal.

PP for Finland with a little more than two minutes left and with only one SOG, they returned to five on five without scoring. 

LA Kings Jonathan Quick was barely challenged stopping 11 SOG. 

End of second it is USA leading 1-0