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Photo: Monumental Network Instagram

Russian bros Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov showed some support to their basketball brethren Sunday, taking in the Washington Wizards game at Verizon Center. The Wiz beat the Jazz by 9 and are the top team in the Southeast division. Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, wearing John Wall and Paul Pierce jerseys respectively, watched the game from court side seats.

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After getting scratched for the second time this season against Carolina on Thursday, Evgeny Kuznetsov was returned into the line-up by Barry Trotz for Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. It paid immediate dividends. Kuznetsov brought an aggressive offensive edge to his game that we haven’t seen all year, shooting the puck nearly every time he touched it.

In the second period, Kuznetsov’s prolificness paid off, scoring on a sick snipe top shelf on the power play.

Look at this.

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Photo: Rob Carr

Washington Capitals rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov has struggled in both adjusting to the North American game and learning the center position. To hide his deficiencies, head coach Barry Trotz has limited Kuznetsov’s ice time, banishing him to the fourth line, and even scratching him for one game (which, let’s be honest, was painful to watch).

However, with Andre Burakovsky becoming strangely mortal lately, Trotz gave Kuznetsov a promotion to the second line against the Islanders.

Kuzya delivered in a big way.

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Photo: @a0gr8

Wednesday night ahead of Washington’s game against the Avalanche, Caps Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov reunited with Semyon Varlamov and hung out in downtown Denver. If Ovi and Kuzya had put on those cowboy get-ups again, we might have hit the RMNB pageview jackpot.

Unfortunately, The Varlamonster won’t play tomorrow night because of #brittlegroin so, no, three years later, nothing has really changed.

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Photo: @a0gr8

The Washington Capitals are out in Phoenix ahead of their game with the Coyotes on Tuesday. And our mustachioed heroes have made the most of their off day. Alex Ovechkin put on his favorite Vladimir Putin t-shirt and took a selfie with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. I’m pretty sure that shirt is honoring Putin and making him look like a action movie star, which, uh, yeah.

Other Caps players actually made it out of the hotel rooms.

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Finding Roles for the Caps’ Misfits

Evgeny Kuznetsov is among the players for whom Barry Trotz has struggled to find a consistent spot in the line-up. (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty)

To break out of their slump, the Capitals needed offensive contribution from their second line. Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky scored four points each in the last three games, all Caps wins. Before that, when the Capitals struggled to get points, their third line featuring Joel Ward and Jason Chimera shone. Right now, the Caps have an eight-plus goal-scorer on each of their top three lines in Alex Ovechkin, Johansson, and Ward.

Coach Barry Trotz has found three successful pairs so far: Ovechkin-Backstrom, Johansson-Brouwer, Chimera-Ward. Andre Burakovsky seems to have secured second-line center position for now, which leaves two main vacancies in top nine: top-line right wing and third-line center.

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Photo: Sergei Belski

After the Capitals defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Friday, Sovetsky Sport’s Leonid Varshavsky spoke to Caps rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov. The talented forward, scratched for the first time in his NHL career that night, spoke about his relationship with Barry Trotz and how he’s been adapting to life in America.

All in all, you see a player who readily admits that he still has a lot to learn before he becomes a great player in the NHL. “The hockey is different,” Kuznetsov says. “I understand now that you can’t compare KHL and NHL. It’s entirely different.”

“There’s little use for what you learned in the KHL,” he added. “You learn everything from scratch.”

RMNB’s Fedor Fedin has your translation below.

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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Alexander Semin is having a rough time in Carolina. He has no goals this season and has been a healthy scratch. Saturday, though, Sasha Minor spirits perked up. Playing against his former team, Semin had seven shots attempts in a 3-2 loss. After the game, he caught up with his old Russian pals Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. Ovi, in fact, eluded reporters postgame just so he wouldn’t miss his old friend.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

During Thursday morning’s practice, Barry Trotz debuted new lines (again). According to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, these are the new combos.

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson
Johansson – Burakovsky – Brouwer
Chimera – Laich – Ward
O’Brien – Latta – Beagle

And the extra forwards:

Kuznetsov – Fehr – Volpatti (IR)

With Brooks Laich’s shoulder finally healed, the lines had to be juggled. It appears Caps rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov will be scratched for the first time in his career against Chicago on Friday. Eric Fehr will join him in the press box, scratched for the second straight game.

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The Arizona Coyotes scored five unanswered goals on Sunday night, putting the Capitals behind by three. It was a bummer. After Coyotes goal number six, and the Caps still several minutes away from losing their fourth straight game, CSN cameras rolled tape of an adorable girl yawning during warm-ups to raise our spirits.

“Young lady, those are my thoughts exactly,” said Joe Beninati sadly into the microphone.

That young lady is Amelia, and she was the star of warm-ups on Sunday. Her brother too.

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