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Eric Fehr celebrates his goal on Monday. (Photo: Rob Carr)

The Capitals have scored 185 goals this season. Alex Ovechkin has 44 of them. For most of the season, the team has struggled with secondary scoring. Lately, however, some of their complementary players are coming alive.

Troy Brouwer has eight goals in 11 games. Brooks Laich had goals in two straight games coming into Monday. Though Laich has being missing practices and morning skates due to a lingering groin injury, he played great against the Penguins, scoring a goal that was later credited to Nick Backstrom. Laich did register an assist, marking his third straight game with a point.

Monday, the third line of Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, and Joel Ward provided half of the Capitals’ offense in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh. They greatly titled the ice in their favor, scoring the Caps’ first goal early in the game.

“I thought Fehrsie’s line might’ve had the best game they’ve had all year,” head coach Adam Oates said. “You feel it on the bench. You hear the guys talking on the bench. Your job is to try to have the next line follow and keep it going.”

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kuzya-media

Photo: John Walton

Per The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera, the Washington Capitals’ brand new toy, Evgeny Kuznetsov, will make his NHL debut tonight on the Capitals’ fourth line tonight. As we discussed on the podcast, that’s probably the smart thing to do.

Here are Adam Oates’ full lines from Katie:

(Laich)-Backstrom-Ovi
Penner-Johansson-Brouwer
Chimera-Fehr-Ward
Kuznetsov-Beagle-Wilson

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KuznetsovMeetsMedia

Photo: Chris Gordon

At Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sunday morning, a dozen reporters and three photographers watched Evgeny Kuznetsov skate around for 45 minutes. It was eight in the morning and he was the only player on the ice. Fans held up signs welcoming him in Russian and wore his KHL jersey in the stands. The day before, Kuznetsov had signed a two-year entry-level contract with Washington, ending a four year battle to bring him over from the KHL after being drafted 26th overall by the Capitals in 2010.

“My contract is over,” Kuznetsov told reporters gathered in the Kettler conference room. “I’m excited. All is good.”

“Any hockey player wants to play in the NHL, wants to win the Cup,” he added. “It’s my dream to play in the NHL. I’m happy to see you. I’m ready 100 percent. I want to play.”

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Photo: Carolyn Kaster

Visual approximation

Visual approximation

On June 25 2010, the Washington Capitals selected Evgeny Kuznetsov 26th overall. They saw him as one of the top players in the draft. He had only fallen so low, the Capitals thought, because some teams were uncertain when or if he would come to North America. George McPhee thought he could bring the 18-year-old Russian over within a year. One thousand three hundred fifty-two days later, Kuznetsov signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Caps.

“We’ve been working on it for four years,” McPhee told reporters before Washington’s game against Phoenix on Saturday. “It’s kind of like seeing the Loch Ness Monster when he walked in. We’ve heard of you, but we haven’t seen you. There he was and I found it hard to believe he was standing there after all this. It’s a pretty neat feeling that this kid’s in the fold and he’s a pretty darn good player.”

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klesla

Photo: Christian Petersen

George McPhee was active at the trade deadline, making big moves to send Martin Erat packing and bring in goalie Jaroslav Halak. Both of those trades involved Rostitav Klesla, a defenseman formerly of Phoenix.

Klesla, who was waived and cleared back in November, was an add-in in both transactions, but considered a marquee asset in neither.

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evgeny-kuznetsov

Almost four years after he was drafted by the team, Evgeny Kuznetsov has been signed by the Washington Capitals. Drafted 26th overall in 2010, Kuznetsov has stayed in Russia, playing for the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. For the past year we’ve had indications Kuznetsov would finally be coming over. That came to a head a few days ago when he voided his expiring contract with Traktor after they failed to make the playoffs.

Just after 1 pm today, the Caps announced they had signed the 21-year-old to a two-year entry level contract. Caps GM George McPhee will talk about the signing tonight at Verizon Center. Tomorrow morning at 8, Kuznetsov will take the ice as a member of the Washington Capitals for the first time before addressing the media. He will be wearing his usual number 92.

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kuznetsov

Kuzya will be leaving for DC without his favorite two homies.

On Thursday, the KHL announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov had worked out a deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk to nullify the last few months of his two-year contract. The agreement allows Kuznetsov to travel to North America and begin his NHL career in Washington. #KuzyaWatch is finally nearing an end.

Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov managed to catch up with Kuzya during these hectic last few days and conducted a short interview with the young prospect. The 21-year-old reveals that he hopes to fly to Washington DC on Sunday or Monday and that he is initially leaving his wife and dog in Russia.

Kuznetsov also explains Traktor’s position on him leaving and hopes that he’ll “catch on for the playoffs with Washington.” Well, if they get there.

Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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Meet Alex Ovechkin in Alexandria Friday Afternoon

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Who wouldn’t want to meet this guy? (Photo: Alex Brandon)

Washington Capitals captain and future hall of famer Alex Ovechkin will be among us mere mortals on Friday. He’ll be (I assume) signing autographs and taking photos from 4-6pm at the new Hybla Valley Verizon Wireless store in Alexandria, Virginia. I am told it’s the store’s grand opening.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-contract-terminated

This just in: Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has been released from his KHL contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk. This is another hurdle cleared on his path to Washington.

The Caps have a policy of not discussing players currently under contract to other teams. That no longer applies here. What happens next will be interesting.

The news comes directly from the KHL’s Facebook page.

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gmgm

Photo: Mark Buckner

(Photo: Mark Buckner)

Coming into the 2014 NHL trade deadline, some fans feared Caps general manager George McPhee would make a drastic move in the hopes of securing a playoff spot. Instead, he made three reasonable ones. The Caps got better this year without harming themselves in the future.

The biggest deal was the final one, with the Caps sending Michal Neuvirth and the newly acquired Rostislav Klesla to the Buffalo Sabres for Caps killer Jaroslav Halak and a third-round pick.

“I think we start with Neuvirth, and he wasn’t happy being a number two,” McPhee told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “We tried to accommodate him. We brought in an experienced guy. I think it’s an upgrade on the tandem which is what we wanted to accomplish.”

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