Over the the course of his nearly 16-season NHL career, Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin has been joined by a number of notable fellow countrymen from Russia in the Capitals’ lineup. In recent days, news on three of those players has come out of Russia, including 2019-20 team member Ilya Kovalchuk.
After being traded to the Capitals during the 2019-season, 37-year old Kovalchuk has received no offers from any NHL team in free agency. According to reports from Russia, if that situation does not change within the next week, the former first overall pick will consider offers from the Kontinental Hockey League. Omsk Avangard, a team rumored to be interested in the veteran forward, recently traded Sergei Shumakov to Avtomobilist, and as a result have more rubles available for adding members to the team. According to reports, the team is prepared to spend 25 million rubles for Kovalchuk. Another team, Spartak, is also interested, but the possibility of them signing Kovalchuk is believed to be low. According to Sports Express Russia, Avangard is a more realistic option, given that Kovalchuk, who recorded a goal and four points in seven games played with Washington, could join his former bench boss with the Atlanta Thrashers, Bob Hartley. In addition, Kovalchuk also is a good friend of the team’s Chairman of the Board, Alexander Krylov.
Forward Dmitrij Jaskin played 37 games with the Capitals during the 2018-19 season, recording eight points (two goals, six assists) before signing in the KHL. On December 9, Jaskin’s team Moscow Dynamo won a 3-2 decision against Dynamo Minsk. Jaskin scored the game-winning goal on a power play at 14:49 in the second period, and was assisted by former Capitals’ defensive prospect Michal Cajkovsky and Vadim Shipasov.
Stanislav Galiev, who played 26 games over two seasons with the Capitals, scored a goal for Ak Bars during a 3-0 victory against Metallurg Magnitogorsk and in talking to the media afterwards, described his impressions of the win saying, “Heavy, one might say, strong-willed victory. We were opposed by a good team, there was speed hockey. We played strictly on the defensive, well done, for the second game in a row we are playing ‘to zero’. Realized their chances and stood for five minutes four of us – also great.”
Galiev has played in penalty killing situations and talked about his versatility in a number of roles, commenting, “The more I play, the better – all the time in the game, in good shape. I started playing in the minority [penalty killing] last season, I like that. If I cope with this task, then the coaches will trust me in unequal compositions. It all depends on me.”
Galiev scored in his third game in a row, after a four-game drought and described it as, “…A difficult time when I could not score and score points. I tried not to think about it. I knew that the faster I go through this difficult time, the better and easier it will be in the future.”
By Diane Doyle