Evgeny Kuznetsov, an active Instagrammer, made a media splash with this recent photo.
Kuznetsov has been the subject of some harsh criticism of late. The second half of the season hasn’t been kind to Kuznetsov as his team has struggled to score goals. During the playoffs, Kuzya had scored just three points in nine playoff match-ups (he scored nine points in twelve postseason games last year).
The young star has been critical of himself, saying that he doesn’t deserve to wear the jersey of the national team. TV analysts Sergey Gimaev and Boris Mayorov went a step further, criticizing Traktor Chelyabinsk for hanging Kuznetsov’s sweater from the rafters of Traktor Arena.
The Instagram image uploaded by Kuznetsov (and later deleted) contains a note that said: “Dear specialists, please shut your mouth about my jersey that’s hanging from the rafters of our arena…”. Allhockey.ru picked up the story, publishing the picture. Kuznetsov screengrabbed that post adding a caption that said “Leave me alone, bastards!”.
Gimaev spoke to the R-Sport news agency about the comments:
“I’m very disappointed and surprised. Why did he need to do this? I understand that he hasn’t been on his game as of late but he shouldn’t have done this to me. And especially to the Soviet hockey great Boris Alexandrovich [Mayorov]. Now it’s Mayorov’s job to analyze and he shouldn’t shut Mayorov’s mouth I think. I don’t think that Kuznetsov gained something with these words. Did he offend us? He didn’t offend me, but disappointed me very much.”
[Gimaev] is confident that his interview about Kuznetsov “wasn’t critical”. “I read it again. It was very supportive towards Kuznetsov, the only phrase was that “20 years is a bit too early”, but I don’t think it was offensive,” Gimaev said in a phone interview.
“I’m surprised and very frustrated,” – [Gimaev] continued. “I supported Kuznetsov in the difficult times and never said bad things about him. That’s why I was not very pleased with him telling me to ‘shut my mouth.’ I like Kuznetsov as a person and a player, I believe he’ll get better. I was first to talk about him when nobody ever knew that he exists. So it’s surprising that he said that.”
“I’m writing that off because I think it was because of emotions. I just don’t know what for did he say that. Zhenya needs to think when saying things like that and respond for the words. Instagram is public. Kuznetsov’s foes made it even more public and that’s a blow for him. It didn’t give him anything positive,” Gimaev concluded.
Both analysts are former Russian hockey players. Boris Mayorov, who played from 1956-1969, is a member of the IIHF Hall of Fame, as well as a two-time Olympic champion and six-time World and European Champion. Sergey Gimaev is a former hockey player (1974-1986) and coach. He is best known for winning Russian championships with CSKA and serving as the head of their hockey school.
For Americans, this is basically the equivalent of RG3 telling Joe Theismann and Terry Bradshaw to shut up.
4:30 PM Update: Traktor Chelyabinsk director Vladimir Krechin has responded to the criticism of the club hanging Evgeny Kuznetsov’s number at Traktor Arena.
“In Chelyabinsk, we have a tradition that doesn’t exist in other cities. The jerseys of Chelyabinsk hockey alumni (both active and retired) who won the World Championships are hung under the rafters of the Traktor’s home arena.”