Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin excited to join club of 'legendary' Russian forwards

Alex Ovechkin excited to join club of 'legendary' Russian forwards

Alex Ovechkin doesn’t need any extra incentive when facing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rival Penguins.

But he’ll have some on Wednesday night when the Capitals face the Penguins, anyway.

With one more point, Ovechkin will join the 1,000 point club. He’ll also become just the fourth Russian player to achieve the feat, joining Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny and Alexei Kovalev.

“It’s small but it’s [a] very legendary club,” Ovechkin said after the morning skate. “I get lucky to play with Fedorov for a couple years [in Washington] and I know him as a person. It’ll be nice to be with him, in the same company.”

RELATED: OVECHKIN GREETS FAN WHO TRAVELED OVER 4,000 MILES TO MEET HIM

Ovechkin added that he feels fortunate to get the opportunity to add a comma to his career point total at Verizon Center, the building where his NHL journey began 12 years ago.

“It’s a real big number,” he said. “Obviously it’s nice to get [the chance] at home, in front of fans, my family. It’s going to be a big moment.”

Ovechkin also gave a nod to his friends and family in Russia—even the ones who typically root for Malkin and the Penguins.

“All my friends texted me and said they are going to watch the game back at home,” Ovechkin said.

“I have friends who are cheering for Penguins and they [are] going to be cheering for me right now. It’s going to be a great day for fans and for us. It’s going to be a fun night to play.”

The 31-year-old did, however, downplay the significance of getting the chance against his team’s biggest rival, which, by the way, is just as hot as the Caps right now, having won five games in a row and 13 of 16 (13-1-2).

“It doesn’t matter which team we’re going to play when get those kinds of milestones,” Ovi said. “I just want to get it and move forward.”

On Monday night, Ovechkin told reporters in Montreal “it means I’m getting older” after a three-point night landed him on the doorstep of No. 1,000. On Wednesday, he set the record straight regarding how he’s actually feeling.

“I don’t feel old,” he said with a grin. “I just said, when you get a 1,000 points it [means] you’ve been in the league a long time. I’m still young.”

RELATED: ARE PENGUINS ABOVE CAPITALS IN LATEST NHL POWER RANKINGS?

Quick Links

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates.

First, we previewed Tom Wilson.

Today we are looking at Brett Connolly.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF BRETT CONNOLLY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Brett Connolly

Position: Right Wing
Age: 25
NHL Seasons: 6 (276 games)
2016-17 Stats: 15 goals, 8 assists, +20 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview: 
After playing the last three seasons on one-year deals, Connolly finally has a little security after inking a two-year, $3 million contract with the Caps earlier this month.

It’s a hefty raise over the $850,000 he earned last season, and it’s emblematic of the higher expectations that he’ll shoulder in 2017-18.

Connolly’s first season in Washington was a strange one. It began with him sitting out as a healthy scratch, and it ended with him sitting out as a healthy scratch. But in between, the former first round pick was remarkably efficient, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games, while skating fewer than 11 minutes per.

Next season, Connolly’s role and playing time are expected to increase … and so, too, are his numbers.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Maturity: "He's finally settling in and understands what it means to be a pro hockey player. He feels like this is a good fit for him. He's ready to handle the increased pressure and increased responsibillity."

2.  Comfort Level: "He feels like Washington is where he wants to be. He has a nose for the net, and with that comfort level now with this team, that natural scoring abillity I expect will come through."

Prediction: Total Points
Tarik: 21 goal, 16 assists
Jill: 20 goals, 18 assists

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

Quick Links

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates. The first of the three selections is Tom Wilson. 

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF TOM WILSON IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

2017-18 Capitals Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
NHL Seasons: 4 (313 games)
2016-17 Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 133 penalty minutes

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
After mustering only seven goals in 82 regular season games, Tom Wilson scored three times against his hometown Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs.

Was the offensive outburst a blip, or the start of a trend? The Caps, obviously, hope it’s the latter—and there’s reason to believe it could happen. The 23-year-old former first rounder is entering a contract year but, more important, he’s expected to play a bigger role in 2017-18. Bigger role + better linemates + more ice time = more goal production.

Makes sense, right?

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Health: "This will be only his third season fully healthy. I look at that, from a chronological standpoint as a reason to up his production."
2.  Responsibility: "He would be a good addition on the power play in front of the net. he has that net-front pressence and they like when he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin."

Prediction: Over/Under 18 Goals
Tarik: 18. Push.
Jill: 21. Over.