It’s been a week since we last saw Evgeny Kuznetsov in the flesh, writhing in pain and being strechered off the ice after suffering a knee injury. On Friday, however, the Traktor Chelyabinsk in-game entertainment crew featured him on the Jumbotron early in the first period so that the young Caps prospect could do a bit of advertising. In a photo published on VKontakte – Russia’s most popular social media site – and later posted on Sports.ru, a laughing Kuzya can be seen holding a sign which reads,”Selling Garage.” Underneath, it features a fake phone number. Clever.

Traktor went on to lose to Yugra, 5-2. Their playoff series is now tied 1-1.

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From the exasperated facial expressions of babes… (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

How many times have we said “this is the worst game all season”? It seems like it’s been half a dozen times at least, maybe more. Someone make a slideshow of this and get back to us, complete with sad eighties breakup music.

I don’t know if this was The Definitive Worst Game of the Season, if only because it has so much competition, but it was pretty bad. Please come down from the ledge and let’s talk about it. We’re here for you.

Zach Parise scored a pretty PP goal on a pretty pass from Patrik Elias. Michal Neuvirth let another Parise shot trickle through to make it two goals on four shots. Former Cap Dainus Zubrus closed out the first period with a slapstick falling-down third goal. Parise scored a third for the hat trick, but no hats were forthcoming at the Verizon Center, no sir. Patrick Elias capitalized on a shorthanded chance on a Caps PP. Devils beat Caps, 5-0.

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Photo credit: Gerry Thomas

Last year, the Capitals re-signed Alex Semin to a one-year, $6.7 million extension on January 27th, ending months of speculation about the 27-year-old’s future with the team. This season, Semin’s production is way down (17 goals in 59 games), and he’s on pace to have his lowest goal-scoring season since his rookie year in 2003-04 when he tallied 10 goals in 52 games. No early extension was forthcoming this January for Semin, nor will it be, as Caps GM George McPhee told NHL Live Tuesday — but it’s not because of his off year. McPhee has decided to change his strategy.

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A week ago in the final minutes of Traktor’s 2-1 win over Spartak, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov absorbed an awkward hit near the end boards and suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury. Kuznetsov, who can be seen writhing on the ice in pain, was then taken to a local Cheylabinsk hospital where an MRI of his knee came back clean. Accordingly, Traktor Chelyabinsk’s official website announced that Kuznetsov had a bruised knee and would only miss a week of time, meaning he would be ready for the start of the KHL playoffs.

Well, not so fast! The next day, Kuznetsov flew to Germany to have European doctors take a closer look at his knee. On that flight over, Kuznetsov announced on Twitter that he’d be out three to five weeks because of the injury. After being examined, Kuznetsov gave no update on whether the diagnosis had changed.

The saga continued this past Thursday after Traktor defeated Yugra 3-1 in the first game of their KHL playoff series. Traktor’s head coach Valery Belousov told the Russian media that “Kuznetsov is on crutches for now. Don’t expect him to come back very soon.” Suffice to say, that must be one heck of a bruise to put a 19-year-old athlete on crutches.

Meanwhile, the normally chatty Kuznetsov has avoided the media altogether lately, but that wasn’t the case a few weeks ago when he went on Russia-2′s “Week of Sports” to accept the prestigious honor of being named “Russian Athlete of the Month” for January. During the fascinating ten-minute interview, host Alexey Popov asks Kuznetsov about a variety of things including the Outdoor Game he recently played in, his feelings about winning silver in the World Junior Championships, and his relationship with the Capitals. Below I offer a translation.

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