Now that the World Championships are over and Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Andre Burakovsky have returned to their offseason homes, Capitals players will refrain from playing meaningful hockey until mid-September when the 2016 World Cup of Hockey gets under way in Toronto.
Just before the tournament, Verizon Center will host a pair of exhibition games featuring four of the World Cup teams. Tickets went on sale Thursday and are available as a two-event package featuring Team USA vs. Team Finland on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and Team Sweden vs. Team Europe on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.
The four teams will also practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington from Sept. 12-15. Tickets for the games are available online only on WashingtonCaps.com and Ticketmaster.com.
Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden), T.J. Oshie, John Carlson (USA), Braden Holtby (Canada), Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov (Russia) were selected in the preliminary round to represent their countries in the World Cup. Other Capitals, like defensemen Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen, could be added to rosters. Capitals head coach Barry Trotz will also serve as an assistant coach for Team Canada.
The World Cup features teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Team Europe, Team North America and the United States and runs from Sept. 17 through Oct. 1.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said he’s already had “a couple discussions” with his coaching staff about how the team would like to integrate their stars into training camp and the preseason.
“We’ve got a lot of guys there that will be playing some intense hockey at a high level early,” MacLellan told NHL Radio Network. “How we incorporate them into the season and get them some rest and get them mentally focused for the start of the regular season might be difficult.
“It depends on how the tournament plays itself out and how intense and emotional it ends up being. We’re trying to figure out ways we can give these guys rest and get them best prepared for the season.”
Because of the World Cup, all 30 NHL teams will have a five-day bye-week built into their 2016-17 schedules. The bye weeks will be scheduled sometime during the months of January or February and players will not have to report for practice until after 4 p.m. on the fifth day of that break (if they have a game on the sixth day). If the players don't have a game on the sixth day, they would have the entire fifth day off.