Stanley Cup Party- it all starts with a little dance

We love the Caps Russian players.

Ovi’s big toothy grim.

Kuzy’s hysterical laugh.

Dima’s boyish smirk.

And now we love their dance moves!!!!

Saturday night in true Ovechkin party style, Alex hosted a party for Lord Stanley in a karaoke bar. It was also the night Dima and Kuzy invented the Bird Dance and Ovi joined in for the Cup Lift Dance!!

Watch for yourself:

What can we say?? These guys are great!!!!

They even like watching themselves.

Video and Photos from Mrs. Ovechkina and Mrs. Orlova Instagram

read more about Ovi’s day with the Cup here.

Capitals Development Camp Ends With Scrimmage And Hopes

Photos by Brittney Marcum Click Here

The Capitals concluded this year’s development camp with a high-paced game in which some players really stood out. Kettler Capitals Ice Plex was packed for the game, although some fans braved the heat for a chance with the Stanley Cup – more from our team later.


The group was divided into Team Red and Team White. Out of play today were Lucas Johansen and Kristofers Bindulis.dsc_0496

The goalies were also split between the two teams with Mitchell Gibson, Peyton Jones, and Frank Marotte in the net for White while Ilya Samsanov and Logan Thompson protecting the net for Team Red.

Scrimmages are short bursts of play and the prospects have a limited time to show their skills to coaches as management. Watching from rafters were the new Caps coach Todd Reirden, Olie Kolzig (professional development coach and former goalie goalie mentor), Blaine Forsythe, Mitch Korn, as well as GM Brian MacLellen. Not that that added any pressure to the guys hoping to get to the show soon.

The game was full of lots (we mean LOTS) of hits between the guys. And some decent scoring too!!!

Goal makers today included:

Eric Florchuk (Red)

Mark Simpson (White)

Sebastian Walfridsson (White)

Shane Gerish (Red)

Chase Priskie (White)

Final score 4 – 2 Team White!

We had a few favorite standouts today and we will dive deeper into their play and potential in a few features later this summer. For now, let’s take a look at some of them:

Connor Hobbs is our number one player from camp and the scrimmage. He is everywhere on the ice, reading where the puck goes and getting there quickly. Everyone we spoke with today mentioned him. And there is something different in his play. A definite level of confidence we haven’t seen in previous camps.

Cooper Zech, a defenseman who at 5’9″ and 161 pounds was a real powerhouse. We liked him from day one and he confines to impress us in the scrimmage.watermarked24(2018-06-30-1552)

Shane Gerish is the real deal. He has fast feet, good hands control, great in the corners, and lots of control. Oh and he can score too! He had a goal and an assist today. We can’t wait to see him at training camp!watermarked28(2018-06-30-1552)

Jonas Siegenthaler had full control today. He has a new maturity in the ice. Today we saw a nice move forward and a backhand pass that looked effortless for him. Like Hobbs, he seems to have a new-found confidence in his performance.watermarked19(2018-06-30-1551)

Chase Priskie was outstanding- including that sweet goal late in the second period. There is something about his style we like. You know he is there, and yet he can skate under the radar and make a play like he did today. He is one to keep an eye on.

And we just have to mention Patrick Giles. He was one of the three youngest players at camp this year. He is a local guy and his family and fellow teammates came out today to watch him. It was fun seeing their excitement for their buddy! Giles wasn’t drafted but he was invited to camp. He will be off to Boston College and we hope we get to see him back at camp again.

We will cover more of the players, especially those heading to Hershey and those drafted by the Capitals. It can take a while for the dream to come true, but this crew has a lot of potential.

Next up for the Caps? Capitals Training Camp in September.

Washington Capitals US-Russia Connection, (and then some)…Part 2

Part two of Luis Felipe Rodrigues’ series on former Soviet/Russian players for the Washington Capitals. Read Part One here.

We were reminded that in 1974, the first year of the Washington Capitals, the Cold War, a dispute between the United States and the Soviet Union, still loomed.  The dispute had and impact on hockey as many of the players were born in the old rival power of the USA did and today continue making history in the NHL.

The Capitals have a long history of bringing in players for former Soviet-bloc countries, as well as Russia. In part one we looked at former Capital’s players from those areas. Today we look at current players from Russia and the Czech Republic. Perhaps none have had more of an impact than the Capital’s current captain.

Alexander Ovechkin was born in Moscow, Soviet Russia. His father Mikhail was a soccer player. His mother, Tatyana, a legend of Soviet basketball, won two Olympic gold medals in 1976 (Montreal) and 1980 (Moscow). Ovechkin has loved the sport since childhood and has always stood out. He arrived at the Caps in a troubled times for the NHL and the Capitals.

The Caps had traded Peter Bondra and a few other players as a way to cut costs. The team had finished the 2003-04 season in as the last place of the then Southeast Division and penultimate placed East Conference with 59 points and ahead only of its arch rival Pittsburgh Penguins (of the Atlantic Division) with 58 points. At the Western Conference, Washington was ahead of only the Chicago Blackhawks, who also had 59 points, but the Capitals took the best for more victories, which gave the Capitals the penultimate last place in the league. 

The Capitals won the 2004 draft lottery and selected Ovechkin; however, his debut was postponed due to the NHL lockout which canceled the entire 2004-05 season. Ovi has since become a symbol of the Caps franchise, his home country, and sport as one of the greatest scorers playing today. Ovi keeps making history with every passing season. First, he received the Calder Memorial Trophy as the rookie of the league year. He has been selected eight times for the All-Star Game, won the Art Ross Trophy in 2008 (given to the highest scorer in the season) with 112 points,  and six times won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He became the player with most goals and points in the franchise history, surpassing Peter Bondra.

Ovechkin currently has 558 goals and 477 assists, totaling 1035 points. In addition, he holds the franchise’s record in: most goals in a season (65 in 2007-08), most goals in a season as a rookie (52 in 2005-06), most power-play goals in a season (24 in 2013-14), most power-play goals in a season as a rookie (21 in 2005-06), most power-play career goals (191 so far), most game-winning career goals (86 so far), plus points in a season as a rookie ) He also recorded the most shots on goal in one season (528 in 2008-09). For the league, Ovi is the player who most scored goals in a season by left winger (65 in 2007-08) and the Russian born who scored most goals in the league, surpassing former Capitals Sergei Fedorov. When playing for Russia, he won three IIHF World Championships (2008, 2012 and 2014).

Born in 1992, Evgeny Kuznetsov is the first and only Russian of the team hitherto born in the country after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He was picked as the 26th overall by the Capitals in 2010, but he didn’t debut with the team until the 2013-14 season.  On April 27, 2015, he scored the game-winning goal over the New York Islanders in Game seven of Round one, which was externalized in fans memory. In 2016, he played the All-Star Game replacing Ovechkin, who suffered an injury. “Kuzy,” as he is called by the fans, is an indispensable player, renewing his contract recently for eight years and will receive a total of $ 63.4 million. He was with Ovehckin on the team which won the gold medal in the IIHF World Championship in 2012 and 2014.

Dmitry Orlov was born in Novokuznetsk, Soviet Union in 1991, the year in which the dissolution occurred. He is the last player to join the Caps who was been born in Soviet Russia. He was drafted by the Capitals as the 55th overall choice in 2009. He was slow to take to the team, sometimes playing for Capitals, sometimes for Hershey Bears, the Capitals affiliate in the AHL. The defenseman  joined the team in the 2015-16 season. Recently, just like Kuznetsov, he had his contract renewed and will receive 30.6 million over the next six years.

Jakub Vrana was born in 1996 in the Czech Republic. With the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia emerged. Vrana, who was drafted as the 13th choice in 2013, has already proved to show great promise, slowly gaining space but already has great affection from the fans. He stood out last season in the brief time he was called. He is expected to have a bigger role with the Capitals this year,moving up from the Hershey Bears to play in the NHL

There are many more players waiting in the wings that could join the Caps over the next few years. There is no doubt that Russia and the former Soviet-states continue to influence the game of hockey in the United States.

The Capitals and the “Russian Spies Era” in DC?

The second half of the 20th century was marked by the Cold War, a dispute between the United States and the Soviet Union. The relationship between the White House and the Kremlin was tense, making the world fear nuclear war for such a long time. The dispute, which lasted from the end of World War II until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, also had its impact on hockey for many of the players were born in the old rival power of the USA did and continue making history in the NHL.

The year was 1974. Two historical events took place that year in Washington, DC: the capital saw a city team debut: The Washington Capitals during NHL’s 1974-75 season. Before that, another historical fact in the context of the Cold War that year was the resignation of President Richard Nixon of the Republican Party, following the Watergate scandal. Another element of the Cold War Era was the conflict known as the Vietnam War, which lasted from 1955-1975. The following year, the United States was defeated in the Asian country, with many casualties of US soldiers, prompting protests across the country.

The Washington Capitals emerged at a time of great difficulty and tension that the country was experiencing, and was just what Washington needed.

Speaking of hockey and the Cold War, it is impossible not to forget the 1980 Winter Olympics, when the young and amateur United States hockey team defeated the legendary Soviet Union hockey team in the semifinals 4-3. The “Miracle on Ice”, as it became known, gave the USA the way to the final and the team defeated Finland two days later, winning the gold medal.

The Capitals have a long history of bringing in players for former Soviet-bloc countries, as well as Russia. Lets take a look back as some memorable contributors to the success of the Caps.

Former Players

Milan Nový became the first player born in then Czechoslovakia, which was a satellite state of the Soviet Union, to play for the Capitals, joining the team in the 1982-83 season. At the time, few players from these countries were selected in the draft because it wasn’t sure they would be allowed by their countries to play for the NHL franchises – the United States and Canada. Just a few players were allowed to play in the West, like Nový, by the authorities of Czechoslovakian hockey.

Rod Langway, known as “Secretary of Defense”, was captain and defenseman of the Capitals, playing in the team from the 1982-83 season until the 1992-93 season. One of the greatest legends of all time in the team, his jersey # 5 was immortalized by the franchise, becoming the second of the four to receive such an honor. But… what does Langway have to do with the subject matter? Another country of ideology opposed to the US comes into the picture in the context of the Cold War: China. Langway was born in Taiwan because his father was a US soldier on duty, becoming the first and only player to have been born in China/Taiwan to play in the league. The insular country served as a refuge for Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, when he and his forces were expelled by the troops commanded by Mao Tse Tung in 1949. Since then, Taiwan has approached to the United States. Langway is the Caps player with the best plus-minus in a season, with +117.

Michal Pivoňka, like Nový, was also born in Czechoslovakia, becoming one of the main players of the sport in his country. However, unlike Nový, he had to defect from his homeland to play in the NHL. It was the 59th overall pick in the draft in 1984, but his debut for the team was from the 1986-87 season. Before Nicklas Backstrom, Pivoňka was the player with most assists in the Capitals history, with 418.

Peter Bondra was born in Ukraine, but moved to Czechoslovakia. “Bonzai”, as he is known by the fans, was the 156th overall pick in the 1990 draft as a Soviet citizen. Already at the end of the Cold War, he became a citizen of Slovakia in 1994, with the separation of the former country. Bondra became one of the biggest players in the franchise’s history and was part of the cast that won the 1998 Eastern Conference. Prior to Alex Ovechkin, Bondra was the player with the highest number of goals (472) and points (825) in the Franchise by which he played 961 games. Playing for Slovakia, he scored twice, including a 4-3 win in the memorable final against Russia at the 2002 IIHF World Cup in Sweden, giving his country the first and only gold in its history. He still has the franchise records for shorthanded goals in a season (6) and career (32) and greatest number of game-winning goals in a season (13). He often participates in Alumni Games, being always remembered as one of the greatest idols in the team’s history.

The 14th overall pick in the 1992 draft by Capitals, Sergei Gonchar, born in Soviet Russia, was a defensive who was part of the 1998 Eastern Conference conquest. He also placed his name in the franchise history as the defenseman with most power play goals (53). In 2009, he won a Stanley Cup playing by the rival Penguins, team, for which he is currently the defense development coach.

In 2001, the Capitals tried a high bet: hired Jaromir Jagr, trading three young prospects for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jagr was one player more born in Czechoslovakia. Jagr signed the then-largest contract in NHL history – $ 77 million over seven years, earning an average salary of $ 11 million per year (over $134,000 per game), with an eighth-year option.  However, the expensive contract was not reflective of a great performance by him in the team. The player, who won two Stanley Cups (1991 and 1992) for Penguins, the Capitals’ greatest rival, was traded to the New York Rangers in the 2003-04 season. In total, Jagr has played in eight league franchises and is the oldest active player in it.

The Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov, was born in Pskov, Soviet Union and had to defect to play in the NHL. Named one of the top 100 players in NHL history, the Russian played for the Capitals alongside compatriot Ovechkin for two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09). Among the achievements in his great career are three Stanley Cups for the Detroit Red Wings, one of them in 1998, against Capitals. Also against the Capitals, he had a very rare record: scoring five goals in a single match when Red Wings beat the Caps in the overtime by 5-4 on December 26, 1996. Also on Red Wings, Fedorov was part of the Russian Five, sometimes known as the Red Army or The Wizards of Ov. For the first time in the league, a whole line was made up of Russian players: in the offensive zone. Fedorov played alongside Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov while the defense was composed by Vladimir Konstantinov and Viacheslav Fetisov. For the Soviet Union, they won the 1989 and 1990 World Cups. For Russia, they won the 2008 World Cup. For the Capitals, they scored the series-winning goal against the Rangers in Round 1. Caps won Game 7 by 2-1 (Alex Semin scored the first goal).

Alexander Semin was born in Krasnoyarsk, Soviet Union. A close friend of the current Caps greatest player, Alex Ovechkin, Semin was drafted by Caps in 2002 as the 13th overall choice, but there was a controversy over compulsory military service in which Russian men should serve for at least two years. For those who play hockey, Russia allows players to devote themselves exclusively to the sport, but it must be in the home country. Curiously, Ovechkin, only a year younger than Semin, managed to play in the NHL without having to do any military service. Semin made his debut for the Capitals in 2006 and did a good job alongside Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He went to the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2012-13 season, then to the Montreal Canadiens and now plays for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League).

Check back tomorrow when we take a look at the current players from Russia and the Czech Republic. 

Photo by Hooked on Hockey

Multiple sources were used for the writing of this article.