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Alexander Radulov plans another NHL return for 2016-17

Alexander Radulov plans another NHL return for 2016-17

Russian hockey star Alexander Radulov plans to return to the NHL for the 2016-17 season, according to multiple reports.

Radulov, who will turn 30 in July, does not have the best reputation in North America given his tumultuous history in the NHL.

Drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2004, Radulov played two seasons in the NHL before returning to his native Russia in 2008 after signing a deal in the KHL. The problem? He was still under contract with the Predators. He returned to Nashville in 2012 near the end of the regular season then went back to the KHL after the Predatores decided not to extend his contract.

Well, I hope you're ready for NHL Radulov 2.0

When trying to figure out where Radulov may go, you can go ahead and cross the Captials off that list given his history with Caps' head coach Barry Trotz who was Radulov's coach in Nashville.

Radulov's first return was a disaster even with six points in eight playoff games. He and Predators teammate Andrei Kostitsyn were caught breaking curfew the night before a playoff game and were suspended for the next game after Trotz found out.

When speaking at the time about the suspension, Trotz said, "We did not know before Game 2 [that Radulov and Kostitsyn broke curfew], we found out after Game 2, and hell would've had to freeze over if they would've played in Game 2...if I knew before."

Needless to say, Nashville chose not to extend Radulov's contract after the season. The idea of a Trotz-Radulov reunion feels about as likely as Wayne Gretzky coming out of retirment.

Where could Radulov go? The early speculation is Colorado as Patrick Roy was Radulov's junior coach in the QMJHL. If there was a coach willing to give the mercurial Russian another shot at the NHL, it would probably be Roy.

If you're hoping to see Radulov playing with Alex Ovechkin, however, chances are you'll have to wait for the World Cup of Hockey. Assumng Radulov makes the roster for Team Russia, that is.


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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.