Russia’s Captain, Ilya Nikulin, holds the Karjala Cup; Kuznetsov gets mugged in front of the net.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Russian National Team’s youngest player at 19, once again proved his mettle and how lucky-a**ed (Kuzya called himself that during last year’s WJC) he can be in clutch situations. With ten seconds left and Russia stuck in a 1-1 tie with the Czech Republic, Kuznetsov — currently leading the KHL in game-winners this season — potted his only goal of the tournament. Not only did the tally give Russia the win in their final tournament game, it also clinched them the 2011 Karjala Cup.
Video of his goal can be seen below the jump.
The footage above also includes the ceremony where Russia is awarded the Karjala Cup.
Despite only registering one point in the four tournament games, Kuznetsov also scored during a shootout attempt in Russia’s first game against Finland.
After today’s victory against the Czech Republich, Kuzya was interviewed by Sport-Express’ Andrey Kuznetsov. Below I have your translation.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I have a most enthusiastic impression of the tournament. I was able to score at the end, we won the tournament, and I liked working with the coaching staff. If they’ll call me up to the next EuroHockeyTour stage in Moscow, I’ll come happily. But I don’t know if I’ll get the invitation. The National team starts preparation for the Channel One Cup at the same time as our junior team starts preparation for the World Championships.
Andrey Kuznetsov: Did [Head Coach Zinetula] Bilyaletdinov teach you a lot?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Yes, but I don’t want to disclose all his secrets. I will only say that all the wise coaches, like Zinetula Khaydarovich [Bilyaletdinov], like Valery Konstantinovich Belousov, keep saying how important it is to play well on defense. And that’s what we saw in Helsinki. I think we won the Karjala Cup first of all because we allowed such few goals.
Andrey Kuznetsov: In Finland, you had to play on the fourth line. Was this a problem?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: No, because everybody had almost the same amount of ice time.
Andrey Kuznetsov: But with Tarasenko on your line that was created during the game against the Czechs, you clearly felt more comfortable.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: We’re not at the age when we can tell the coach what would be the best combinations on the ice [smiling]. That’s under the coaching staff’s jurisdiction.
Andrey Kuznetsov: What did the head coach say in the locker room after your third win of the Karjala Cup?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: He thanked us all and said that we made him very proud. He also asked us to work and train even harder and do notable things when we return home. We applauded him.
Andrey Kuznetsov: Which one of the Czechs surprised you most during the game?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Petr Nedved. He’s so-many-years-old and still was able to score the key goals. He not only scored against us, he also scored twice against Sweden.
Andrey Kuznetsov: Do you expect to play until 39 like him?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I’m going to be a hockey player even longer [smiling].
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.