Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan already made some interesting comments about free agents who might leave town, but what about players who might join the fold?
The still-fairly-new-GM shared some interesting thoughts on the development of forwards such as Tom Wilson (he’s hoping to see the brutish winger become a top-six guy some day) and Andre Burakovsky, yet the position that tops his free-agent shopping list is awfully interesting. As he told the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, the Capitals are hoping to sign a first-line right wing.
Capitals fans are all-too-familiar with a revolving cast of linemates for the dynamic duo of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. It’s actually been a theme even before the Capitals changed their management combo.
Sometimes, the Capitals have rolled with a power forward-type such as Joel Ward or Wilson. Other times, a “finesse” player would compliment them, such as Burakovsky or Marcus Johansson. (These “With or Without You” stats show how erratic things got for Ovechkin + Backstrom.)
Naturally, there are plenty of questions that arise, including “are you sure there’s even a suitable right win out there?” As you can see from this list, the choices fall off fast after Justin Williams and Martin St. Louis, two players who could conceivably stick with their current teams.
Still, plenty of things can change, and you can’t blame MacLellan for pointing out an obvious hope.
Speaking of hoping, Japers’ Rink did an amusing job of cobbling together Prewitt’s findings into what would seem to be MacLellan’s ideal top-six scenario:
Oh man, Dude Not On Roster can play.
On Monday, IIHF president Rene Fasel had some choice — and ominous — remarks for Team Russia, which left the ice before Canada’s anthem was played following Sunday’s 6-1 loss in the World Hockey Championship final.
“The IIHF has its own protocol and some sort of punishment will be handed down,” Fasel told TASS, per Reuters. “When I saw what had happened, I was very upset. In the 29 world championships that I have had the honor of attending, this is the first time I have seen something like this.
“What the Russian team did was completely out of order.”
Watch full replay of championship final
Canada routed the Russians on the strength of four goals in 10 minutes spanning the first and second periods. The Canadians eventually pushed the lead to 6-0, before Evgeni Malkin scored a consolation marker for the Russians with under 10 minutes to play.
Following the game, the Russian team stayed out for the medal ceremony and individual award announcements, but left the surface prior to ‘O Canada’ being played.
According to various onlookers, former NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk reportedly waved his teammates off the ice (here’s a video from Russian sports writer Slava Malamud.) It’s worth noting that Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was trying to keep his Russian mates on:
Related: Canada creams Russia for WHC gold, Crosby joins ‘Triple Gold Club’
Russia will look to take home their second straight gold medal this afternoon when they faceoff against the Canadians in the gold medal game at the World Hockey Championship.
It’ll mark the first time in a decade that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin face one another in international competition.
Canada cruised through the preliminary round with a perfect 7-0 record before beating Belarus 9-0 in the quarterfinals and the Czech Republic 2-0 in the semifinals to earn a berth in today’s final.
Russia finished the preliminary round third in the Group B standings. The defending champions beat Sweden 5-3 in the quarterfinals and shutout the Americans 4-0 on Saturday.
Puck drop this afternoon is at 2:45 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on NBCN and also by following NBC’s Live Stream via the link below:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Now that he’s had a chance to reflect on the Washington Capitals’ 3-1 series collapse in the second round, Barry Trotz has been able to put his first season as head coach of the squad into perspective.
He saw some real positives from Washington in 2014-15. Braden Holtby was able to play like an elite goaltender, rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov took big strides forward, and Trotz felt the team’s best players grew as leaders as well.
“I think we didn’t cower from things, we looked things in the face when adversity hit our way,” Trotz told the Washington Post. “We sort of dealt with it head on, and we didn’t make excuses. That’s what I think we learned.”
And yet Washington can’t escape the fact that it once again was unable to reach the Eastern Conference Final. Another year of the Alex Ovechkin has been lost. So additional lessons are required.
“We said, ‘What lessons can we learn?’ ” Trotz said. “If we can learn anything, it’s that we’re still going to have to find that next level of killer instinct. We have a team like the Rangers on the ropes and how this series got there didn’t really matter, but I didn’t think we played as well in a couple of our wins that we did win, and we played quite well in some of our losses. It really doesn’t matter. You still have an opportunity at certain points where if you can knock out a team, you’ve got to find that next level of hardness, killer instinct, whatever. And I think we recognized it.”
Whether they’ll be able to do that remains to be seen, but in the meantime they have some matters to address over the summer. Holtby, Kuznetsov, Nate Schmidt, and Marcus Johansson are all set to become restricted free agents and they also have quite a few players that could potentially walk, including forward Joel Ward and defenseman Mike Green.
The United States, which leaned on the country’s youth movement when assembling its roster, turned some heads during its run to the semifinal in the 2015 Worlds. Along the way America managed an upset win over Russia in the Preliminary round, but with a spot in the gold medal game on the line, Russia got revenge with Saturday’s 4-0 victory.
Alex Ovechkin, who was a late addition to Russia’s roster after Washington’s elimination, scored a goal and later added an assist on Evgeni Malkin’s empty netter. Sergei Mozyakin and Vadim Shipachyov accounted for Russia’s other two markers.
Team USA might not go away empty handed though as it has a chance to claim the bronze medal on Sunday against the Czech Republic. It would be America’s second medal in three years.
Russia, which won last year’s tournament, will now face Sidney Crosby and Canada in the Championships Final. Canada has gone undefeated thus far and is coming off of back-to-back shutouts against Belarus and the Czech Republic.