Guys, Kuzya’s not really dead. We promise.

Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov started the season with an impressive stretch of nine goals and 21 points in his first 19 games. Since then, however, something wasn’t quite working for Kuzya who only added two goals and six points in his next 12 outings.

With that uncharacteristic stat-line (and news about his non-inclusion to the national team for the Moscow stage of EuroHockeyTour), the star right-wing faced adversity for one of the first times in his career. Heading into Traktor’s game against Spartak Moscow (featuring Shaone Morrisonn) Friday, Kuznetsov had something to prove.

And prove something he did. Kuznetsov scored two huge goals, collecting three points and 8 shots on goal in 19:53 of playing time. He also unveiled a new goal celebration.

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When Washington Capitals prospect Stan Galiev was demoted to the Reading Royals earlier this season, the 20-year-old Russian took it in stride. Case in point: during Reading’s 4-2 win over the Florida Everblades, Stas scored such a boss breakaway goal that he ended up on SportsCenter’s Top Ten list on Thursday. Kind of an amazing feat considering ESPN spent more time on Thursday discussing a cut on Carmello Anthony’s non-shooting hand than the NHL lockout.

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During the third period of the AHL Showcase between the Hershey Bears and Norfolk Admirals, Caps fans broke into several “Fire Bettman” chants. It’s especially clear at the 4 second mark above.

Full disclosure: that noise at the 2 second mark is my ferret sneezing.

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Filip Forsberg and Jacob De La Rose celebrate. (Photo credit: Leksands IF)

Washington Capitals first-round pick Filip Forsberg, who recently was named to Sweden’s preliminary World Junior Championships roster, scored a goal and assisted on the game-winning tally in Leksands IF’s 4-0 victory over Karlskrona HK Wednesday. It was the prospect’s first game back from a painful hip injury that had sidelined him since November 4th.

Video is below.

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Photo credit: dynamo.ru

In Dynamo’s 3-1 win over Lokomotiv Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin extended his KHL point-streak to nine games with a first period assist on a Leo Komarov goal. But it was Ovechkin’s comments after the game with Sport-Express, where the real fireworks happened.

When asked about his recent interview with the Russian newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva (Evening Moscow) where he said that his “soul was still with Washington,” the Capitals captain revealed that he never said such words.

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Report: Gary Bettman Wants NHL Lockout Ended on Friday

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The last few days, there have been a number of positive signs that the NHL lockout may be near an end. In a Russian interview, Ovechkin revealed that his soul was still in DC and in two seperate reports from The Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Rob Rossi and WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton, sources have revealed that the two sides are finally working together constructively.

Now, former NHL player and current Sportsnet broadcaster Nick Kypreos has gone a bit further, saying that Bettman, behind-the-scenes, wants a new CBA completed in a matter of days.

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During Capitals Development Camp this past July, seventh round pick Sergey Kostenko came to America for the first time in his life. Despite not knowing a lick of English, the 20-year-old Russian goaltender was impressed by how the organization treated him. So much so that he negotiated out of his KHL contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk to sign an entry-level contract with Washington a few days later.

“They take a very good care of the players here [in America],” Kostenko told RMNB’s Igor Kleyner during an interview in Reading, Pennsylvania, where Kostenko is rehabbing a shoulder injury with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. “Even the smallest things, like they asked me in Washington: ‘do you want to get your mask painted?’ And I said, ‘of course!’”

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Alex Ovechkin’s Favorite Color Is Blue

The guy’s a natural.

In “oh my God, end the fucking lockout already” news, Nike just released a video promoting their new holiday sportswear. The two-minute clip features Alex Ovechkin (looking more like JAWS from Bond than ever before) modeling super-tight Nike gear and answering personal questions.

Everything goes gr8 until Ovechkin starts blabbering on about his favorite color. Blue.

BLUE?! No, no, no, no Ovi. Red is your favorite color. It’s not Rock The Blue: it’s Rock The Red. Everyday that passes, I get more and more scared that Putin Dynamo Moscow fans have created some kind of brain-washing device to keep Ovechkin and Backstrom for themselves when the lockout ends. But that’s just silly. Hahahaha. [looks scared] …Right? Ugh.

Below the jump, check out the video, and Ovechkin’s full transcript, lovingly translated by RMNB’s Igor Kleyner.

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Riley Barber Turns Heads, Makes USA WJC Camp

Riley Barber against Brandon Anselmini of Ferris State. (Photo credit: Rachel Lewis / Triple Deke Photography)

It’s easy to be overlooked when you’re a sixth-round pick in the NHL draft. From 2000 to 2011, only one in five sixth-round selections ever suited up for a NHL game. But for Washington Capitals prospect Riley Barber, being the underdog seems to work in his favor.

After missing a 45-man Evaluation Camp roster in August, Barber, on Monday, was named to the United States’ preliminary 27-man roster for the 2013 World Junior Championships.   These 27 players will meet in Tarrytown, New York on December 16-18th to determine who will represent the US in Ufa, Russia this year.

Barber, a first overall pick by the Dubuque Fighting Saints at the 2010 USHL Draft, made this giant leap in the depth chart by putting on a show playing for the third-ranked Miami University RedHawks of the CCHA this season. The 18-year-old right wing currently leads all freshmen in college hockey with 18 points in 14 games, also good for third amongst NCAA players drafted by NHL teams. Barber has been held off the scoresheet just twice in those fourteen contests.

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