Evgeny Kuznetsov Dominates in the Preseason

Kuznetsov during the game against Kolner Haie. (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor)

Washington Capitals top prospect/prodigal son Evgeny Kuznetsov kicked off his season last week at the Chelyabinsk Region Governor’s Cup, a 4-game preseason tournament which featured two local teams (Traktor Chelyabinsk, Metallurg Chelyabinsk), two KHL teams (Avangard Omsk, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk), and one foreign team – Kolner Haie of the German DEL.

On Saturday, Kuznetsov showed why he’s one of the best players not currently in the NHL, tallying a shorthanded goal and an assist in Traktor’s 5-1 victory over Kolner Haie, a team coached by former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Uwe Krupp.

Video of Kuzya’s highlight-reel plays are below the jump.

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Alex Ovechkin Plays Shirtless Soccer Again

Photos expertly taken by Perry Keating. (Copyright Perry Keating 2012)

Soon after representing the NHLPA in Toronto, Alex Ovechkin was back at home in Virginia playing soccer with his shirt off. Along with girlfriend (and Olympic bronze medalist!) Maria Kirilenko and Capitals teammates Stan Galiev and Dmitry Orlov, Ovi kicked the ball around on Wednesday night, letting us all know he’s fit and active during this hopefully not overlong offseason.

This is just the latest in the continuing saga of A.O.’s love affair with unamerican football. Recall if you will last year’s world champs, when Team Russia ditched morning workouts to kick the ball around sans shirts. And also that time Ovechkin wore that thing at that place that made us giggle.

Ovechkin’s fitness comes as a huge relief to the Caps community, who last summer suffered terribly under the extinction-level crisis we now know as Fat-Gate. Ovechkin appears lithe and healthy here, which is exactly what any rational person would expect of an elite professional athlete.

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Photo credit: AllHockey.ru

After his tennis superstar girlfriend Maria Kirilenko won a bronze medal at the Olympics on August 5th, Alex Ovechkin tweeted to the world,”we take [the medal] to Moscow and make party!!” But that wasn’t the only reason Ovechkin returned to his home country.

A few days later, on August 10th, Ovechkin hosted a master class for children at the Yantar hockey rink in downtown Moscow (which coincidentally is only four miles away from Fedor’s house).

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Photo credit: hctraktor.org

A few weeks ago, 20-year-old Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov returned home to Chelyabinsk to start training for the upcoming 2012-13 KHL season with Traktor Cheylabinsk. Already a beloved figure in his hometown, Kuznetsov saw his profile increase over the summer after committing to the KHL for two more seasons and winning a World Championship gold medal as part of the Russian National team. Kuznetsov’s club even succumbed to the hoopla by raising his name and number 92 up to the rafters in his home arena to show their appreciation.

On the morning of July 26th, Kuznetsov decided to put his fame to good use by hosting a public workout for over 200 orphans in the heart of Cheylabinsk, at Revolution Square.

Kuzya had the kids from the orphanage called “Revival” try more than ten different exercises in 20 minutes, including stretching, squats, and pushups. He even showed the orphans how to do some of his more complicated exercises that he does before games. And Kuznetsov dressed appropriately for the carefully choreographed PR event by wearing a… Washington Capitals hat?

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Happy #TweetLikeOviDay

It’s August 8th! Today is the day where we tweet like a caffeine-addled adolescent with only a passing understanding of English syntax and a strange affinity for the close parenthesis key.

It’s #TweetLikeOviDay! So go ahead and peruse Alex Ovechkin‘s timeline for some style guide tips. Personally, I recommend flourishes of repeated vowels “bronzeeeeeee!” and not using a space between your sentences. From what I’m told, the close paren “)” key means you’re smiling, so do with that what you will. Have fun!

Best!!!!hahahahahahaaaah)))))

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Filip Forsberg is back in North America. (Photo credit: Pavel Paprskar)

While the Capitals are still a month away from training camp (please, no lockout), up to six of their prospects may participate in under-20 tournaments that will be held this week, including 2012 first round draft picks Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson.

The first tournament, which is being held in Lake Placid, New York, hosts hopefuls from the United States, Sweden, and Finland for an eight-day camp to prepare for the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.

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During TSN’s “Free Agent Frenzy” special on July 1st, a panel including former NHL head coach Marc Crawford and sideline reporter Pierre McGuire lambasted Alex Semin in comparison to Zach Parise. The panel got their paddles out and verbally spanked Sasha thoroughly. Crawford called Semin a “complete loser,” and former player Ray Ferraro labeled any team that might want the former 40-goal scorer as “desperate.” Pierre McGuire capped the discussion by calling Semin a “bad teammate” and the “ultimate coach-killer.”

Crawford, who left for a coaching gig in Switzerland a day after the incident, offered a dubious explanation for his words last week to the German language newspaper Tages Anzeiger, saying that he was “misinterpreted.”

Now, thanks to a great find from reader @zuc0, we have more context on Pierre’s statements– right from the horse’s ass’s mouth. On July 2nd’s episode of XM home ice, McGuire explained why he thought Semin was such a bad teammate.

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Ovechkin also tweeted out this photo, saying,”Thats my prize for Olympic games…we going back to Moscow. We gonna have a gr8 time there!!!hhaahah!!bronzeeeee”

Photo credit: @Ovi8

After falling just short of a medal in the Women’s Tennis Singles competition, Alex Ovechkin’s girlfriend Maria Kirilenko won an Olympic Bronze Medal today in doubles together with fellow Russian Nadia Petrova.

Kirilenko/Petrova, who previously lost to the Williams sisters in the doubles semifinals on Saturday, beat the top-seeded American pair Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber. The Americans won the first set, 6-4, but couldn’t seal the victory, losing 4-6 and 1-6 in the next few sets. In the third, Huber visibly struggled, suffering from pain in her left hip.

Alex Ovechkin, sitting in the VIP lounge of the main Wimbledon court, went wild when Kirilenko/Petrova clinched, screaming, waving, and even taking photos from his seat. A few minutes after the victory, Ovechkin tweeted out,”we take [the medal] to Moscow and make party!!”

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Fifteen years ago, communication was different. There were no iPods or iPads, phones were used to make phone calls, and Steve Jobs was still spitballing how to change the world. All that has changed, and the world just sort of feels better now doesn’t it? For example, because of these leaps in technology, 2012 Conn Smyth winner Jonathan Quick can tell the world about the things that really matter to him.

Like a pregnant rabbit squatting down and popping out a kit in the middle of his backyard.

If Steve Jobs has a headstone, someone needs to print this and tape it on top.

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Photo credit: Getty Images/NHL

On a fairly tame July 1st this year, the most notable thing that happened on the first day of free agency was not a player signing, but TSN opening fire on free agent Alex Semin with what bordered on xenophobic hate speech. The worst offender, former NHL Head Coach Marc Crawford, called Semin “a complete loser” and said that he had “no character”. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth reviewing here.

The next day, Crawford did us all a favor and left the continent, accepting a head coaching position with the ZSC [Zurich] Lions in Switzerland. Hooray! We thought we’d never have to watch him on TV or hear his commentary ever again.

We were wrong.

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