In an interview to Alexey Shevchenko of KHL Fanzone in September, Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov emphasized his eagerness to jump to the NHL after the season’s end yet again. However, he said that a five- to seven-year offer in Russia might get him “thinking.”

It’s tough to blame Kuznetsov for wanting a secure financial future, but there’s one problem: He will never get that type of deal in the KHL. Let’s examine Kuznetsov’s comments from the interview.

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Things More Disrespectful Than Tomas Hertl’s Goal

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

San Jose rookie Tomas Hertl was amazing against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. He scored four goals in 11:12 of ice, including a spectacular nifty between-the-legs move on Martin Biron (who sported a .762 save percentage). It was a showboat move– most players would be afraid to try it in a real game for fear of missing– but it worked, and it got the broader sports world talking.

Capitals head coach Adam Oates didn’t like it though. He told The Washington Post’s Katie Carerra that he thinks Hertl made “a rookie mistake” and that he should not “disrespect the league.”

Oates has done his time in the league, and as a Hall of Famer his opinion matters, but he seems a bit out of proportion here. There are way worse things out there than cool-looking goals.

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The Capitals are Basically on Furlough

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Photo: Frederick Breedon

After Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, I figured their four days off this week would be a good thing. The team would get a chance to work on its 5v5 play, and the distance of time would give us a bit more clarity on a chaotic, young season.

Nope. I was wrong.

The Capitals don’t intend to tinker with their lines just yet, while the rest of the league seems dedicated to making Caps fans miserable. It’s been a four-day break in which players are still getting paid, but everyone still seems as grumpy as a non-essential government worker.

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Questioning the Logic of the Mathieu Perreault Trade

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Never forget. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Tonight I was naughty and ordered pizza. A food coma knocked me out for two and a half hours on our living room couch. When I woke up, walked downstairs, and refreshed the website I helped create, I learned that the Washington Capitals traded everybody’s favorite French Canadian bro, Mathieu Perreault, for a fourth round pick and a minor league dude from Anaheim that George McPhee will probably say “can play.”

As an avowed fan who gets emotionally connected to some of the players, it’s — ya know — kinda upsetting. From a blogger’s point of view, Perreault was one of the most interesting players on the team. He had personality. He delivered many, many pageviews.

But when I check my emotion and look at the facts, this move is curious on a few levels. Mathieu Perreault was an underrated player who brought the team a lot of value. Since the 2010-11 season, the Capitals have been a much better team with Perreault on the ice than off. Despite his tiny size, Perreault is a talented puck-chaser and forechecker who drives play.

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Who Will Be the Odd Man Out In the Caps Blueline Logjam?

Jack Hillen and Steve Oleksy are frontrunners for defensive spots on the Caps opening night roster. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

With days to go before the start of the regular season, a few questions regarding the Washington Capitals’ opening day roster remain unanswered. First among them is this: who will be the Caps bottom-pairing D-men?

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Evgeny Kuznetsov: Rocking the Red …or the Red Army?

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Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport

September 27th Update: Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that Evgeny Kuznetsov will not be conscripted into the Russian army (via a source close to Kuzya).

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

Just when we decided that Evgeny Kuznetsov’s days in the KHL are numbered, his local draft board has mucked up the works.

Quick recap: come next season or sooner if Traktor’s postseason ends early, Kuznestov will join the Caps– unless a gazillion-ruble, long-term deal is foisted on him (unlikely in the KHL). RMNB no longer needed to relay the latest quotes from Kuzya or his agent or his team or KHL officials, because the matter was all but settled.

Enter Alexander Bochkarev, head of Chelyabinsk regional Voenkomat (military commissariat), basically the equivalent of a local draft board in the US.

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Olympic rings at the Sochi airport. (Photo credit: Alexey Maishev)

For the record, Peter makes awesome videos, both in style and substance.

Also for the record, the recent law passed by the Russian Duma banning so-called propaganda of nontraditional relations to minors is hideous. Not necessarily because the Russian authorities in Sochi will be arresting athletes, journalists, or foreign spectators who are gay or show support for the gay rights cause by wearing a rainbow lapel pin – because they will not, and anybody who thinks otherwise does not understand a thing about Russia. And not because a gay teenager playing hockey somewhere in Ryazan or Ekaterinburg will now be prevented from coming out to his teammates – believe me, that kid is facing other, much more serious problems in his life, like getting through another day without being beaten into a bloody pulp. Will the law contribute to worsening of the public attitude towards gay rights? For sure. Will it be used against someone whose words or action rub the government the wrong way? Perhaps, but so could any other law in Russia. In my opinion, the real victims in this mess could be the many thousands of gay parents in Russia, who will now live their lives in fear of losing their children, adopted or biological. In their cases, how in the world do you avoid violating the aforementioned law – aren’t parents supposed to be role models for their kids, especially when they are minors?

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This story was inevitable. Russia’s strict laws regarding gay people and the upcoming Sochi Olympics have put some of our favorite players in awkward position. Luckily, Alex Ovechkin acquitted himself perfectly well during media time on Monday. Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk did not fare as well. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

Note: My opinion is my own and does not necessarily reflect all of RMNB.

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Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport

After Friday’s training camp session, Traktor Chelyabinsk announced their captain and assistant captains for the upcoming season. Konstantin Panov will wear the “C” while former Capital Jan Bulis and future Cap Evgeny Kuznetsov will be sporting the “A’s.”

But that’s not why you’re here. Earlier this morning, Sport.ru’s Igor Eronko tweeted out this quote from Kuznetsov: “I think i’ll return to Russia from NHL when I’m 30.”

It seems Kuzya is planning the return trip even before he’s arrived in North America.

As always, context is key. Kuznetsov is speaking to a reporter from a major Russian media outlet who has asked him a loaded question– something along the lines of “Why bother going to the NHL, Kuzya, if everybody is coming back home now anyway?” The 21-year-old Kuznetsov handled it deftly, showing respect to both the league in which he will be playing in this season and Ilya Kovalchuk, who has instantly become the face of the KHL and nothing short of the national hero upon announcing his return.

Kuznetsov is entering the final season of a two-year contract with Traktor that included an enormous bonus from the KHL to keep him at home.

I’ve translated the rest of Kuznetsov’s conversation with Alexey Mikushkin of Sovetsky Sport below.

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Yeah, Boston isn't in the division, but the gag is funnier this way.

With the signing of Karl Alzner, the Washington Capitals are just one Johansson-shaped puzzle piece away from finalizing its roster for 2013-14. Maybe. There’s still a lot of time to make moves between now and October, but what we see now might resemble the opening-night lineup. Most of the other teams in Division D (aka the Patrick++ Division, aka the “Jagr” Division) have already set their teams, so we’ve got an interesting– if a bit premature– idea of how those general managers have allocated their salary for next season.

In short: George McPhee has pinched his pennies on defense and opened up his wallet George Jetson-style for forwards.

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