It is a very rough translation, but according to a report on sovsport.ru.com, Capitals top forward prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has made plans to arrive in Washington this weekend. Additional reports out of Russia have indicated Kuznetsov will arrive in D.C. sometime on Saturday.
In a brief interview with Kuznetsov, sovsport.ru reported that the 21-year-old center was awaiting his U.S. passport on Friday and planned to fly to Washington without his wife and dog. Kuznetsov said he plans to play for the Capitals “before the first match of the Stanley Cup.”
Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov was teammates with Kuznetsov for the 2010 and 2010 World Junior Championships and described Kuznetsov as a “good guy” and a “good player.”
“He can score, he can pass,” Orlov said. “On the big ice he’s a good skater.”
Asked if Kuznetsov reminds him of any other NHL players, Orlov couldn’t think of any.
“Hard to say,” he said. “He likes to make plays. Sometimes he maybe makes more moves than he needs to. He tries to make beautiful plays.”
With AHL call-ups Chris Brown and Ryan Stoa on the roster the Caps currently have $1.28 million in salary cap space, enough to add the $900,000 that likely would be required to sign Kuznetsov to his first NHL contract.
Injury update: Center/left wing Brooks Laich [groin] did not skate with the Caps on Saturday and has not skated since Wednesday night in Philadelphia, but Caps coach Adam Oates said the 31-year-old forward will be a “game-time decision” for tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
“It’s up to how he feels,” Oates said. “We kicked it around and he’ll decide in warmups.”
Defenseman John Erskine [upper body] and Aaron Volpatti [left shoulder] skated with the club but will not play. Oates said Erskine passed the necessary tests to clear him for contact.
Here is the Caps’ anticipated lineup for tonight:
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Dustin Penner – Jay Beagle – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Eric Fehr – Joel Ward
Chris Brown – Ryan Stoa – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Mike Green
Jack Hillen – Connor Carrick
Jaroslav Halak [starter] – Braden Holtby