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Top Stories of 2012, No. 8: Bruins ousted in first round of playoffs by Capitals 12.26.12 at 8:42 am ET
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Over the final week of 2012, will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 8: the Bruins’ first-round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year

Coming off a Stanley Cup season, the Bruins looked poised to make another run deep into the playoffs in 2012. However, they were dismissed in shocking fashion with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

One goal decided the series, and it was Joel Ward‘€˜s overtime goal that decided Game 7. The Caps outscored the B’€™s 16-15 in the series. Four of the seven games were decided in overtime.

“It was a long year,” B’s defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the Game 7 loss. “We had a few ups and downs, longer ups than downs. At the end, we came out of it strong and we seemed to find our rhythm going into the playoffs. But then again, we didn’€™t play our best hockey in this series. They played us well. It was tough.

“It’€™s definitely a weird feeling. It’€™s an empty feeling. You’€™re wondering what’€™s going to happen. You don’€™t really realize it’€™s over. It’€™s summer now. It’€™s going to be a long summer. A couple of bounces here or there, it could’€™ve gone the other way. You always have to look at it from a different perspective. The next couple of days, it’€™s going to sink in, probably.”

The Bruins had 49 wins in the regular season, three more than they had during their Stanley Cup season. The Bruins put up an impressive 102 points despite the ‘€œStanley Cup hangover’€ that contributed to their slow start and grabbed the second seed.

On the other side of the ice, the Capitals finished with 42 wins and 92 points. They made an early coaching change, firing Bruce Boudreau following eight losses in 11 games while the Capitals sat at 12-9-1, tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Dale Hunter, a former Capitals enforcer, took over and led the team to 30 wins. The Caps won eight of their last 14 games, including two shootout wins (one against the Bruins) in their final three games.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, bruins
Alexander Ovechkin threatens to stay in KHL 09.19.12 at 1:31 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, Alexander Ovechkin has signed with KHL team Dynamo Moscow for the NHL lockout.

This isn’t the Capitals star’s first stint with Dynamo Moscow, of course. Ovechkin played for the club from 2001 until 2005, when he made his NHL debut after being the first overall pick in the 2004 draft. He stayed in the KHL for the cancelled 2004-05 season.

The biggest piece of news to emerge from Ovechkin’s signing, however, is a threat he made to stay in the KHL. Ovechkin said that if there is a rollback on salaries, as the league wants, he might not go back to the NHL.

‘€œIf our salaries get slashed, I’€™ll have to think about whether to return to NHL,’€ he said, adding “I won’€™t rule out staying in Russia past this season.’€

The KHL remains the NHL’s biggest competition as far as personnel goes. It would be a major blow to the NHL if it were to lose one of its biggest Russian stars to the KHL. The legality of such a move would have to be determined, as Ovechkin is still under contract with the Capitals.

Read More: Alexander Ovechkin, Rumor Mill,
Alex Ovechkin suspended three games, may skip All-Star Game 01.24.12 at 11:59 am ET
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Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin was suspended without pay for three games Monday for a hit on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek during Sunday’s 4-3 Penguins overtime win. Ovechkin’s hit was ruled illegal as he charged toward Michalek in the corner and left his feet to launch his body “recklessly” into Michalek’s head. Michalek was not injured on the play.

Ovechkin’s suspension will cost him $154,677.75, according to the NHL. The suspension is Ovechkin’s third in the last three seasons (he has also been fined twice for his hits), but it is all the more noteworthy considering Ovechkin is slated to participate in the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa this weekend.

According to TSN analyst Bob McKenzie, Ovechkin will likely withdraw from the All-Star Game due to his suspension.

“No firm decision’s been made on anything, but all accounts would lead us to believe that there will be some decisions in Washington [Tuesday] with the Capitals, with Ovechkin about this issue,” McKenzie said on TSN show “Insider Trading” Monday night. “I would bet right now that Alexander Ovechkin’s going to want to withdraw from the NHL All-Star Game.

“The sense seems to be that the NHL would not make a big issue if Alexander Ovechkin said he were uncomfortable being at All-Star Weekend as a suspended player.”

Ovechkin has been a participant in the All-Star Game every season since breaking into the league in 2005-06.

Read More: Alexander Ovechkin, NHL All-Star Game, Rumor Mill,