Way back in early July, Traktor Chelyabinsk published a press release stating that Evgeny Kuznetsov was changing his jersey number to 84 for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Traktor did not say why, and in interviews since the news broke, Kuznetsov has not been asked about it. Russian media, we care about these things!

Meanwhile, Traktor continues to sell Kuznetsov 92 gear in its online store. Without a discount.

On Wednesday we finally got our first look at Kuznetsov wearing his new number (honoring, I assume, me and my birth year) during Traktor’s media day.

A few more photos by the redundantly named Ivan Ivanov are below the jump.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov faces pressure on and off the ice. (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin / HC Traktor)

Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov continues his KHL playoff run. After a tough 4-3 series win over Barys Astana in the first round of the playoffs, Traktor dethroned Eastern Conference champions Avangard Omsk in five games.

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Explosions in Chelyabinsk; Meteor Suspected (UPDATED)


LATE UPDATE: No immediate confirmed reports of casualties. See the AP for more information.

We’re getting all kinds of information about explosions in Chelyabinsk, the city in the Ural region of Russia that hosts Evgeny Kuznetsov’s KHL team. Information is sparse right now, and we do not want to speculate.

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Photo credit: Valery Zvonarev / KP.ru Chelyabinsk

In their third game of the 2012-13 KHL season, Traktor met Western Conference powerhouse SKA at home in Chelyabinsk. Evgeny Kuznetsov entered the game with two goals. He left with three.

Kuznetsov also tallied his first two-point performance of the year. His first point came very early in the game, as he got credit for a secondary assist on Jan Bulis‘ goal less than three minutes into the game. That goal tied the game at one. Things quickly unraveled for Traktor however, as SKA scored twice more to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

The score remained unchanged for the next 39 minutes, despite both teams trading chances (one of the biggest opportunities was a Kuznetsov breakaway denied by goaltender Ilya Yezhov). With about a minute to go in the third period, Kuznetsov finally broke through, skating the puck into SKA’s offensive zone guarded by two men. After his initial shot was blocked from the slot, Kuznetsov, out-battled three other defenders and got to the rebound first, snapping a shot past Yezhov. Kuznetsov celebrated by jumping high into the boards near center ice. Despite a late flurry, SKA, led by their netminder, managed to keep their one-goal lead and win 3-2. The game’s highlights can be seen under the jump.

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Photo credit: 74hockey.ru

Don’t look now, but wayward Capital Evgeny Kuzetsov has started the 2012-13 KHL season with two goals in two games.

In Traktor Cheylabinsk’s first away game of the year on Monday, the defending Continental Cup champions held a huge shot advantage over Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (41-24), but were unable to crack Avtomobilist’s all-star goalie Chris Holt through two periods. With less than nine minutes to go in the game however, Traktor finally dented the twine. After a Avtomobilist defender turned the puck over at center ice, Kuzya sprinted the puck into the offensive zone and wristed a shot past Holt glove side. The goal was unassisted.

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Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov opened the 2012-13 season with style on Thursday, scoring an empty-net goal in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s 2-0 victory over KHL rival Metallurg Magnitogorsk. But that wasn’t all. Since Kuzya can’t do anything without a tinge of controversy, he decided to celebrate his goal by dropping down in Metallurg’s offensive zone and doing push-ups. For a man who has in the past both canoed and swam down the length of the ice after scoring, this seems a bit reserved for him.

Below the jump, check out the video.

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