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Caps dream team: Semin, Kuznetsov, Ovechkin

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Caps dream team: Semin, Kuznetsov, Ovechkin

In Finland today Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will skate together as teammates, representing Russia in the quarterfinal round of the World Hockey Championships.

For a time, Capitals fans held out hope they would one day see the three talented forwards together on the same ice at the Verizon Center.

Not so much anymore.

Who wouldnt like to be a fly on the wall listening to what Ovechkin and Semin are telling Kuznetsov about the Capitals?

With Semin, 28, headed toward unrestricted free agency, Ovechkin, 26, unhappy about his playing time and Kuznetsov, 20, committed to playing in the Kontinental Hockey League for the next two years, Capitals general manager George McPhee is faced with a very difficult philosophical decision.

Is the risk of drafting highly touted Russian players worth the reward?

For years, other NHL general managers have shied away from drafting Russian players, fearing they would do what Kuznetsov is doing spurning the NHL for the KHL.

Weve talked to Kuznetsovs agent, McPhee said. It doesnt appear that hes going to make it over for next season. Hes a young guy, hes only 20 years old, so we understand why he might not want to leave yet. But at some point hell want to come to this league.
Its the best league in the world and hes a heck of a player, so when hes ready to come well be ready for him.

No one has ever questioned Kuznetsovs talent. In fact, some say hes the worlds best player not in the NHL.

In 49 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk this season he posted career highs with 19 goals, 21 assists and 40 points and delivered seven goals and two assists in 12 playoff games.
He was the best player on the ice at the 2012 World Junior Championships with six goals
and seven assists in six games.

Several NHL general managers, including McPhee, believe Kuznetsov would make an immediate impact in the NHL next season. McPhee says hes concerned that two more seasons in the KHL will adversely affect Kuzentsovs transition to the NHL if and when it comes.

It is a concern, McPhee said. We like him a lot as a player. We think hes a terrific player. But at the same time, I think he can take the bad habits out of the game. On the other hand, theyre usually bigger and stronger if they come a little bit later.

If McPhee had known at the NHL trade deadline that Kuznetsov would not be coming to Washington next season he might have dealt his rights. There were several NHL general managers, including Ottawas Bryan Murray, who asked about the talented Russian.

But with Kuznetsov committed to two more years in Russia those offers likely wont be coming this summer. And if Semin decides to make his millions elsewhere, the Caps will be left with just two Russians on their roster Ovechkin and defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

Another Russian prospect, forward Stanislav Galiev, also stands a good chance of making the Capitals 2012-13 roster.

As for filling the potential voids left by Semin and Kuznetsov, McPhee says its on his list of things to do this summer, after hiring a head coach, of course.

Id just be speculating, McPhee said. Every summer is a challenge with these jobs. Theres never a summer when you dont have anything to do.

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”

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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

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Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!

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