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Galiev has a 'still-beating' chance of making Caps


Galiev has a 'still-beating' chance of making Caps

Stan Galiev wants to be recognized as something more than just the hockey player who once ate the beating heart of a cobra before devouring the rest of it.

That’s why he’s been on the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex the past three weeks, working with Capitals strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish and a growing contingent of Capitals players.

But first, we’ll recount the snake story.

Galiev and his girlfriend had planned a vacation in Vietnam and read online that it is a Vietnamese tradition to have a snake killed in front of you at a restaurant, and to eat its “still-beating” heart.  

“Basically, it was my biggest fear,” Galiev said. “So I was like, why not do it? I might only have one chance to do it. I am proud. I fight through it and I ate the snake. I’m glad I did.”

So, how did it taste?

“Actually, I was surprised how it tastes.  It tastes like normal meat. Snake tastes good.”

While on the same vacation Galiev also overcame his fear of piranhas by catching one and eating that as well.

Making the Capitals is next on his bucket list.

It seems like a lifetime ago that Galiev, now 23, came into training camp as one of the Caps’ top forward prospects. Coming off a dominant 2012 Quebec League playoff performance in which he led all scorers with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 17 games, Galiev spent most of his first pro season with the ECHL Reading Royals, where he recorded 47 points in 46 games in 2012-13.

He split the following season between Reading and the Hershey Bears and when he began last season as a healthy scratch under Bears first-year head coach Troy Mann, it appeared his career with the Capitals had reached a dead end, especially since he was in the final year of an entry-level contract.

“Obviously, you get angry when you’re not in the lineup,” Galiev said. “I said, ‘I’m going to do everything I can so that will be my last healthy scratch game.”

Galiev scored in his first game back in the Bears lineup and never looked back, leading the club with 25 goals, including 15 on the power play.

“He’s got a good shot and scored lots of goals in the American Hockey League,” said Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who played on a line with Galiev in their two seasons together on Russia’s junior national team. “He has skill and you have to have skill in this league. You always want your friends to play with your team, so it would be cool for him to get a spot on the NHL team.”

Mann said Galiev’s willingness to go into the danger zones – in front of the crease, at the sides of the net and in the high slot – resulted in more scoring chances and more goals.

“I think I started shooting more and went to the greasy areas,” Galiev said. “I started to think defense first. And I played with confidence. If there was a play to make I tried to make it and not think about making mistakes.”

The Capitals were impressed enough to recall Galiev for his first two NHL games – he scored a goal in his second NHL game against the Rangers on April 11 – then awarded him with a two-year, two-way contract that pays him $100,000 if he plays in the AHL and a salary cap-friendly  $575,000 if he plays with the Caps.

“When you get a two-year deal (it shows) people trust you,” Galiev said. “I played my first two NHL games and it kind of teased me. I want to be here and I want to do everything I can to impress the coaches.

“I feel I’m ready. I just have to be smart and don’t be nervous. It’s the same game, just different people.”

With the Caps’ top three spots at right wing expected to be taken by T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams and Tom Wilson, Galiev will be battling forward Michael Latta for fourth-line ice time.

“It’s been long enough,” Galiev said about his wait for training camp, which begins Sept. 18. “I miss hockey.”

As for confronting his fears, Galiev was asked if he would be willing to eat the beating heart of a snake again if given the chance. He passed on the opportunity of a clever reply (“In a heartbeat”) but said he would.

“If I had the chance, I would do it again,” he said with a snake-eating grin. “Why not?”

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

No player on the Caps gets more scrutiny than defenseman Brooks Orpik. While the analytics aren't kind when he's on the ice, we got to see what the Caps looked like without him when he was scratched against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday and...well, his loss was noticeable.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir discuss what Orpik's true impact on the Capitals really is both on and off the ice on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast. Plus, they also talk about John Carlson's monster season and Barry Trotz's new strategy for the goalies.

Listen to the latest episode in the player below or here on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps prospect watch: Signing season?


Caps prospect watch: Signing season?

The 2018 NCAA Hockey Tournament bracket has been announced and only one Capitals prospect, Brian Pinho, is still in the running.

Providence College was selected as the No. 2 seed in the East Regional and will play No. 3 Clarkson in the first round on Friday, March 23 on ESPNU. The winner will play the winner of Notre Dame-Michigan Tech on Saturday with a chance to advance to the Frozen Four.

The college season is over for the rest of the Capitals' college prospects which begs the question, will any of them sign an entry-level deal with Washington?

In the spring when seasons end for colleges, junior leagues and European leagues, we see a flurry of signings across the NHL as teams sign their prospects and young free agents.

Among the Caps' college prospects, the most likely candidate to sign would be Shane Gersich. Gersich just wrapped up this third season at the University of North Dakota, finishing second on the team in goals (13) and tied for third in points (29). The Capitals will certainly make a push to sign him considering his talent and because if he returns to college for a fourth year, he stands to become a free agent on Aug. 15, 2019.

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported Wednesday that North Dakota was still awaiting Gersich's decision on whether he planned to return to college.

Quinnipiac defenseman Chase Priskie is in a similar situation, but it he has decided to head back to school for another season.

“That wasn’t a season I’d want to leave on,” Priskie told the New Haven Register. “When I came here as a freshman I saw our senior class, Garteig, St. Denis, Soren Jonzzon, and they left such a legacy that guys still talk about them. Same for Sam Anas and Devon Toews. They were all such great players and some of the best people for our program. When I leave, I want to be talked about like they are.”


Other prospect notes:

  • For Pinho, now a senior at Providence, this marks an opportunity for him to finish his college career the same way he began, with a national championship. “I don’t think I realized at the time how hard it is just to get back to the tournament,” Pinho told the New Haven Register. “So that’s something we older guys have been telling the younger guys. You never know when you’re going to be back and you have to make the most of it when you’re there.” (You can read the full feature on Pinho here)
  • The end of the season may suddenly be near for goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov. Metallurg Magnitogorsk finds itself down 3-1 in its series with Ak Bars in the KHL playoffs meaning their season could be over as early as Friday. Of course, the big news to watch after that is whether or not Samsonov would come to North America. If he does, he would most likely go to Hershey to play for the Bears. With only 10 games remaining on Hershey's schedule, however, the sooner Samsonov's team is ousted from the playoffs, the better. At least from a Washington perspective.
  • All three of Washington's WHL prospects have reached the WHL playoffs. Moose Jaw (Dmitriy Zaitsev) finished with the best record in the league and will play Prince Albert in the first round. Swift Current (Beck Malenstyn) finished second in the East Division behind Moose Jaw and will play Regina. Everett (Garrett Pilon) won the U.S. Division and earned the top seed in the Western Conference. They will play Seattle in the first round.
  • Dmitriy Zaitsev remains out after taking an illegal hit last week. He did not play in either of Moose Jaw's final regular season games, but was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
  • Adam Carlson has found his groove in Kansas City. Playing for the Mavericks of the ECHL, he won each of his two starts this past week allowing only one goal on 43 shots. He was named the 2nd star of the game for both games.
  • Madison Bowey recorded an assist on Friday and two more for Hershey on Saturday for three over the weekend in his first week back with the Bears. Bowey has spent the majority of the season with the Caps, but the additions of Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek at the trade deadline meant there were just too many bodies up in Washington and not enough playing time to go around. As Bowey is waiver exempt, he became the odd-man out and was sent to the AHL. It would not be surprising to see him recalled by Washington when the NHL playoffs begin.
  • Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler brought his goal total up to five for the season with two goals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Monday. The Bears really wanted to emphasize his offensive game this season to see if Siegenthaler could be developed into a two-way player. His strength is definitely is on the defensive end of the ice, but he will be a more versatile player if he can also be a threat offensively as well. You can see the highlights of Siegenthaler's two-goal game here:

  • Forward Hampus Gustafsson was recalled to Hershey last week and did not wait long to make an impact. He scored his first career AHL goal on Friday. He also added an assist making that game his first career multi-point game as well.
  • Tyler Lewington was suspended two games by the AHL for a punch he delivered to Bridgeport's Scott Eansor in Friday's game.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in this week's updated rankings