“I must break you… with my blue eyes.”

Last week, we told you how Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin landed on the cover of ProSport Magazine’s December issue. Now comes the interview Ovechkin did with Alexander Lyutikov, and let’s just say it’s interesting.

In the interview, Ovechkin kvetches about Evgeny Kuzetsov’s decision to stay in Russia for the next two years. For the first time in the press, Ovechkin reveals just how strongly he opposed Kuznetsov’s choice and that he advised Kuznetsov against it. “I think he’s outgrown the KHL level,” Ovechkin said. “[He] needs to move on.”

Below, RMNB’s Fedor Fedin translates the interview.

From ProSport:

You were talking [Kuznetsov] into going to the NHL, to Washington back then [at Kuznetsov’s wedding in Chelyabinsk], right?

What do you mean by “talking into”? I just told him it’d be better for him to go to the NHL, that he’s awaited there. And that his skill level will grow faster there.

Did you understand his choice to stay with Traktor?


Did you tell him that?

I think he knows it.

Did you talk to him afterwards?

Of course. I told him how I see the situation. It’s his choice, we have good, friendly relations, but again, I didn’t understand. I think he’s outgrown the KHL level and needs to move on.

Was Ilya Bryzgalov right when he called out young [Russian] players who choose the KHL [over the AHL], where they basically sell their ambitions for money?

He was right in some situations; he was wrong in some situations. There are different cases. Talking about Kuzya, he should’ve gone to America. Even if it hadn’t worked out, he’d quietly come back to Russia and have the same role and the same money that was available before. I think he’ll understand it in a year. He’ll understand that it is time to go to the NHL, but he’ll have a year left on his deal with Traktor.

Will a year be enough to understand it?

I think he’ll understand it even earlier.

In 2005 you were close to signing a contract with Avangard. Would that have slowed down your growth much?

I signed a contract with Omsk and could’ve stayed there for two years and made some big bucks. But I risked that and went to Washington not even knowing what their team was like. That’s how I achieved everything I have. It was the right move for me. My close ones were for me staying in Russia. Of course, money is a huge factor. But I decided that I had to go. And I didn’t listen to anybody – parents, agents I had then, coaches.

I can understand Kuznetsov. He has injuries by 20. Yet he hasn’t earned much money by playing hockey. Now in Russia he’s got the first contract that will take care of his family for years to come.

I’m not denying that going to the NHL is a risk.

Did you have the same situation?

Yes. If you just want to go forward, want to be known around the world, then you sure have to go [the NHL]. You’ll have to work hard there to get a contract.

But given how the NHL lockout has gone down, it’s pretty hard to quibble with Kuznetsov’s decision now, right?

  • Dark Stranger

    With the lockout in effect, Kuznetsov looks smart for signing with the KHL instead of coming over to America. This meant that he didn’t have the comparatively late start to the season that the NHL players had when signing KHL lockout contracts.

    Still, I think it would be best for Kuznetsov’s career in the long run if he went to the NHL.

  • SentientCheese

    I’m reading that as kuzya is responsible for the lockout. i’m all out of anger for bettman/owners/fehrs/players, need a new target

  • Yuk

    Because of lockout It looks not bad for Kuzzi, but he should signed that contract for one year. Now, even place in Olympic team is under question, especially after recent 1st channel cup, which Russia convincingly won w/o him.

    KHL today announced that Ovi, among other corrections in protocols, got, at-last, primary assist on Nicky’ goal vs. Vityaz. Two month later. It is just mind boggling how KHL gives assists. They have few secondary assists and it is just totally puzzling how they decide why that player will get assist and why those many ones not. Even the best lawyer will not defend and discriminate such difference, unless they have special rule that right-handed will get it and left-handed not? Maybe there are big money for players involved in points, so KHL ‘saving’ on assists?

  • Holy_Cal

    He would’ve been developing along side of his Hershey teammates had he come here. That would have been much better in the long run.