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Three Caps named to Russia World Cup roster

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Three Caps named to Russia World Cup roster

Team Russian announced its initial roster for the World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday with three Caps making the cut. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov were among the first 16 players to be named to the team. Former Cap Semyon Varlamov was one of three goalies included as well.

Ovechkin has played at the senior level of 15 international competitions. Though Russia's struggles of late in the Olympics have been well documented, Ovechkin has won seven medals in the World Championships including three golds.

Kuznetsov has played in the World Championships three times with two gold medals. Orlov has never played on the senior team. His last international tournament was the World Junior Championship in 2011.

Here is the full list of 16 players:

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, G
Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche, G
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, G
Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers, D
Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens, D
Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals, D
Artem Anisimov, Chicago Blackhawks, F
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings, F
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning, F
Nikolay Kulemin, New York Islanders, F
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals, F
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, F
Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning, F
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, F
Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks, F
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues, F

Offensively, it is an unbelievably explosive squad. The team is lacking in defense, however, with inconsistent goaltending.

The 23-man roster must be finalized by June 1.

RELATED: Truth is, Capitals love beating the Penguins

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

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NBC Sports Washington

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.