Report: Evgeny Kuznetov Coming to America Within a Week



Russian reporter and recalcitrant Sabres fan Slava Malamud just shared this nugget, which we’re now passing onto you. Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, now finished with his KHL season, will be coming to North America soon. Slava says within the next five days.

Keep in mind that there are lots of hurdles to clear: visas, travel, signing a contract. Don’t expect Kuznetsov to play against the Penguins on Monday or anything, but he could be lacing up at KCI as soon as next week.

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Trade Deadline Bonanza Open Thread

Ryan Kesler: he's gonna move today, right?

Ryan Kesler: he’s gonna move today, right?

I was torn on whether or not we should do an open thread today. The Caps made some hugealicious moves yesterday, getting Dustin Penner for a fourth-round pick and sucking the Martin Erat out of the wound for assorted odds and ends.

But as of Wednesday morning, the Caps have $1.8M in salary cap space. They could still make moves. Plus, this open thread gives us all a chance to marvel at whatever dumb thing Holmgren does next and the continuing mass delusion that Ray Shero is improving his hockey team.

Updates below the jump and chaos in the comments. Let’s do it!

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Patrick Smith - Erat

Photo: Patrick Smith

This was inevitable.

Capitals forward Martin Erat has been traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Rostislav Klelsa, Chris Brown and a fourth-round draft pick. Capitals prospect Garrett John Mitchell was also included in the deal.

Acquired at the 2013 deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for Caps prospect Filip Forsberg, Erat played 61 regular season games for the Capitals, recording 2 goals and 24 assists.

Considered a disappointment by many, Erat still managed to rank second in even-strength assists and improve the team’s possession stats.

Erat’s 2013 season was limited by injury. As 2013-14 began, Erat had fallen out of favor with coach Adam Oates. Assigned to the fourth line for the first few weeks, Erat was not used as the top-six forward he was purported to be, and his stats suffered. He did not score until the final game before the Olympic break, an empty-netter.

After several games as a scratch, Erat requested a trade on November 25th. It took three months, but that trade has finally come through.

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Photo: Jeff Gross

The Caps are buyers. Earlier today, Washington acquired Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2014 draft, which the Caps got from the Ducks in the Mathieu Perreault trade. Penner should slot in as the first or second-line left wing for the Caps, providing some net crashing for their skill lines. He filled that role admirably in Orange County, picking up 32 points so far this season playing on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

“Hopefully it’s similar to the way Getz and Perry were,” Penner said of the possibility of playing with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. “We were able to generate offense.”

“I hope to be in the lineup tomorrow,” he added by phone from LAX. “If not then I rushed for nothing.”

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TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Capitals have acquired left-shooting Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 4th round pick.

Penner is a big, net-crashing forward with 13 goals and 19 assists in 49 games. He carries a $2MM cap hit through the end of this season. He also has the third highest PDO (a proxy for unsustainable luck) in the league.

And, oh yeah, he’s most famous for injuring his back while eating pancakes. Today is National Pancake Day. You can’t make this $#!& up.

The Capitals are now over the salary cap. More to come.

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Early on Tuesday morning, Admiral, the eighth best team in the KHL’s Eastern Conference, defeated Amur 4-1. Admiral has now qualified for the KHL Playoffs. This also means that Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk, who was the Eastern Conference Champions last season, will miss the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2010-11.

Despite high hopes for this season, Traktor couldn’t quite get it together. Kuznetsov, the hometown star and offensive leader, suffered a shoulder injury that required shoulder surgery on September 6th, just a few games into the season. A few months later, Kuznetsov suffered a freak knee injury that also required surgery.

Traktor will now participate in the Nadezhda Cup, the KHL’s “loser” tournament for teams that don’t make the postseason.

It remains to be seen what Kuznetsov will do next.

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Orlov - Rob Carr

Photo: Rob Carr

Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia is reporting that the Department of Player Safety has suspended Dmitry Orlov two games for his boarding hit on Brayden Schenn during Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Flyers. (UPDATE: Confirmed by the NHL.) Schenn was apparently not injured on the play, but Orlov’s hit constituted a charge, a blindside hit, and an airborne hit.

Orlov was assessed a five-minute major penalty for the charge, during which the Flyers scored one goal. The Capitals went on to lose in overtime.

Orlov will be eligible to return on Saturday’s game against Phoenix.

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In KHL action on Saturday, Admiral jumped into the East’s final playoff spot with a 3-1 home win over Metallurg Novokuznetsk. On Sunday, Traktor Chelyabinsk, who still had control of their own destiny with a game in hand, had a chance to leapfrog Admiral if the could beat Torpedo.

They could not.

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The Risk and Reward of Dmitry Orlov and Mike Green


Photo: Evan Vucci

Thursday night, defense partners Mike Green and Dmitry Orlov were on the ice for two goals against. On Florida’s first goal, Jesse Winchester torched Orlov, blowing past him on the far wall. For the Panthers second goal, the duo left men wide open in front of Braden Holtby before Brad Boyes flipped the puck in.

Sunday afternoon, however, the pair was brilliant — at least for the first 50 minutes. Orlov had the first multi-goal game of his career while Green racked up three assists. It’s usually a zero-sum game with Greenlov: they either win big or lose badly.

Today, though, it was both. With 10 minutes left in game, Orlov went after Brayden Schenn, who had just hit him behind the net. Dima unleashed a brutal board in the corner, receiving a well-deserved five minute major. The Flyers got scored on the ensuing power play. They added two more to stun the Caps in their first game back at home since the Olympic break. Orlov and Green, naturally, were on the ice for the game-tying goal.

“He didn’t change,” head coach Adam Oates said of Orlov’s hit. “He was on the same shift and he went right back after him.”

“You’ve got to suck it up when it’s your turn,” the coach continued. “They hit hard too. They’re big boys too. They’ve got to push, they’re losing. They’ve got to push. We’ve got to be able to handle that.”

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Ovi celebrates his 800th career point. (Photo: Alex Trautwig)

Alex Ovechkin is hitting a lot of milestones lately. So far this season he’s tallied his 1000th professional points, become the franchise leader in power play goals, and scored his 400th career goal. With two goals against the Bruins on Saturday, Ovi hit 800 points. He should hit 50 goals by the end of year too.

“It’s history,” Ovi told reporters after the game. “You always wants to be in the history. You always want to be on top of everybody. I try to do my best, but without my linemates and teammates I didn’t get those kind of points.”

Once again, this underscores the remarkable year Ovi has had. Ovechkin has a stunning 73 regular season goals since February of 2013. Under Adam Oates, Ovi has gone from an oft-criticized washed up star to the best sniper in the game — though, of course, he’s still criticized.

“I feel good about myself,” Ovi said. “I have a good feeling about my shot. Every time when I have opportunity to shoot the puck I’m going shoot.”

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