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On Sunday, Evgeny Kuznetsov practiced for the first time as a Washington Capital. Since it was a scheduled off-day for the rest of the team, Kuzya was alone on the ice. With only head coach Adam Oates and strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish on the ice, Kuznetsov performed some drills.

Towards the end of his 50-minute practice, Kuznetsov and the coaches had some fun, taking pot shots at an empty net from the opposing goal.

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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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Photo: Chris Gordon

Sunday was Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s first full day as an official Washington Capital, and we were all over it. Our intrepid reporters were at Kettler Capitals Iceplex first thing in the morning, taking photos, and covering his first press conference. But we also got a couple minutes with the man himself to chat in his native tongue.

RMNB’s own Igor Kleyner and Kuznetsov chatted about his first few hours in Washington, expectations for the Penguins game, and comparisons to Evgeni Malkin. Igor’s got your translation below.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov will be living with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin during his initial stay in America, and while he’s been really appreciative of Ovi’s kindness, he’s seemed lukewarm about being taken care of by his teammate.

Earlier in the week while still in Russia, Kuzya told Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov about his living arrangements, “It’s a bit awkward. Ovechkin is a grown-up, he has a future spouse. Why bother them? But at first I will stay with Sasha. He’ll explain everything, help me out.”

Well, judging by Ovi and Kuzya’s first day together, they are long-lost brothers. Maria Kirilenko now has two children to babysit.

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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

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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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Evgeny Kuznetsov is in the building and he is now officially ours for the next two seasons.

Photo: @WashCaps

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You guys, Evgeny Kuznetsov is really here and signed now and every little part of that process is exciting. Such as this photo from the Washington Capitals. The pic, which shows Kuznetsov’s new locker stall at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, received over 3,000 likes in two hours on Instagram.

Let me repeat, a photo of a locker stall and a nameplate. Three thousand likes.

You’re excited. We’re excited. Everyone’s excited. Why? Because it’s finally Kuzya Time.

Let’s do this.

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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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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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