The ongoing drama of Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s impending jump to the NHL is relentless. Informally, we call this drama Fifty Shades of Red, one for each of his forecasted dates to end our second Long National [Capital] Nightmare by putting on the red sweater we thought he’d have been wearing for a couple of years by now. Just a few short days ago, as we brought you another pronouncement from Kuznetsov on this subject – the one where he appeared quite open to a new long-term deal with a KHL outfit (not even necessarily his beloved Traktor), I told myself it was time for us to kick the habit. No more Kuzya-Is-Coming-Or-Not translations!

We didn’t last the week. In yet another interview, this time with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, Kuzya talks about coming to Washington again, reasons for his recent jersey number change to #84, and a nice surprise he is preparing for his hometown fans. Also, as it turns out, in a few months Kuznetsov will file the necessary paperwork to obtain his American visa. Well, Kuzya, you can mess all you want with reporters, bloggers, followers, fans, coaches, and even GMGM – but you don’t mess with USCIS! That date of entry on your visa application better be real!


Kuznetsov’s full conversation with Lysenkov is below.

You are playing great for The Sbornaya wearing 92 [on your sweater]. But with your club, you decided to change it to 84. Are you not afraid to lose your good fortune?

I don’t believe in any magic of numbers. And it’s not about marketing: [as some say] all of the paraphernalia with number 92 has been sold out, now go buy the new stuff. I have my own reasons [Editor’s note: This translates literally to “I have my own cockroaches in my brain”). I just decided to experiment.

I bet you are going to return to 92.


When Traktor is done with the playoffs, you are leaving for Washington. And 84 is already taken there by Mikhail Grabovski.

Yes, it’s possible. This summer I spoke to the GM, head coach, scouts from Washington. They all would like for me to do that.

I can guarantee you, I am going to start working on my American Visa after New Year’s. Also, we’ll have to look at my health. Also don’t forget about the Worlds. But if everything works out, I should be able to leave like Alex Radulov – to the NHL right after the KHL season ends for the club.

But Radulov had played for Nashville before. Are you not afraid to jump right in?

What’s there to be afraid of? Alex Ovechkin is in Washington, he promised he is definitely going to help me out. Hockey-wise it’s going to be much more interesting. I’ll end up right in the midst of the inferno.

Sergei Gimaev (ex-Soviet/CSKA player who currently serves as a hockey analyst) told Sovetsky Sport in an interview: “I greatly respect Kuznetsov. He re-signed with Traktor for two more years because Bilyaletdinov asked him, he wanted to prepare him for the Olympics.” 

It’s not only because of that. First of all, I was thinking about my club. About Chelyabinsk fans. After each game they were begging me to stay. They were bringing nice letters to my home. Writing good wishes on my dust-covered car.

So these two years were simply a gift to my home town. I play for Chelyabinsk. And I have a lot of surprises for them.

For example?

I would like to buy a t-shirt for every fan and put them on the arena seats before the first game of the season.

And to write on them “Garage for rent”?

No these will be about a charity for kids. I have friends who are helping me with that.

Are you ready for the physical game in the NHL? Are you improving your strength?

My muscles are getting bigger. But most of all I am learning to skate. If I learn to move better, it will be harder to hit me. And the dirty hits – that you can get in the KHL as well.

Did you change your preparation routine for this season?

Yes. I only rested for half a month in the offseason. One week in Dubai, another in Georgia.


In Georgia. I went to where Chelyabinsk goalie Georgiy Gelashvilli is from. I really liked his village. One of the strongest impressions of my whole life!

And then I returned and started training right away. But not to just to start the season in top shape and get to Sochi. I simply realized that my game leaves a lot of questions unanswered among the experts and reporters. I got too much in advance. I need to prove that I am not just a young player, but I belong among the best on Team Russia.

Did Ovechkin tell you anything new about Washington. Did you hang out with him during the camp?

He told me a long time ago to get out [of here]. But we only were in Sochi for a day and a half. Didn’t talk much about that.

The fans reacted nervously when you mentioned that you could have been interested in Dynamo’s offer. “We raised his sweater to the rafters!”

See, yet again I blurted out something incorrect to the reporters. I meant to say I would not just turn away from Dynamo. The Earth is round, you never know how everything may turn out.

I would have talked with everybody, explained respectfully. I would let the people know I have no intentions to transfer. I stayed because it’s my home town. The fans of Chelyabinsk are what’s most important to me.

In any case, I need to learn how to talk to the press more accurately. I was angry at myself and was very upset for a long time because of those words.

Are you in touch with Valery Nichushkin?

We weren’t particularly close even when he was in Chelyabinsk. Valera is pretty quiet, calm guy.

Do you think he is a mega-talent, or was he simply lucky to ride the wave of interest after the WJC?

Who knows? Maybe he’ll score 150 points in his first season and become a legend. Or maybe nothing will work out for him. God forbid, of course. I only wish him the best – he is my homeboy.

Do you laugh when people confuse you with Evgeny Kuznetsov the diver? Recently there was a false headline: “Traktor’s forward jumped into the pool off the roof when he was 14!”

When I enter my name on YouTube, he always comes up first. I know he won a silver medal at the Olympics. Regretfully, we have not met. But I would like to meet him very much. Not bad, also Kuznetsov!

Go on the show “The Platform”, that’s where you can meet him.

Oh no, I actually am afraid of it – not the heights, the water. As a kid, I was jumping off the pool wall, and dislocated both of my shoulders at once. That’s the kind of stupid injury I got. A German doctor, Dr Emlich, helped me. He did a great surgery, I haven’t felt any pain now for 4 or 5 years. That man gave me my second life in sports.

Last summer you received your diploma – your thesis was on “Tactics of killing penalties.”

Yes, I always kill penalties playing for Traktor. I have some knowledge that I can share. But what they teach at the institute – it has been a long time since anybody played like that.

So now you are a coach/teacher.

I have a dream – to open my own hockey school for kids. Even if only for my dad to teach little kids what he was teaching me. I think his experience is priceless.

Why did you give up on Twitter and Instagram?

I got rid of my Twitter account after that story with the foldout bed in Khabarovsk. And the Instagram I closed because many people were copying my pictures, posting them somewhere, writing offensive comments.

I just created a group for my friends, where we can laugh about funny moments. And if somebody wants to join my closed group – ask me personally, and I will accept you.

You had a great appearance on the show Univer. When can we expect new roles?

I recorded an ad for an energy drink. They should start showing it before Sochi. And the big screen. Everybody dreams about it. But who is going to invite me, a simple kid from the periphery?

Tagged with:
  • yv

    Kuzya, your arrival cant be soon enough!
    Looks like Caps would be busy in tradings in pre-, during- and later of the season considering roster and the salary cap constraints. The only exclusion will be in the SC playoffs.
    Funny comment of one of the fans there: ‘Good luck Kuzya, and Ovi should be flogged for his undercover work and enticing our players!”

  • Okay, Kuzya. Now just go get your visa and STOP frigging talking about it. Or at the very least, stop changing what you say every few days!

  • Igor Kleyner

    My apologies – we should have said *almost* “full conversation with Lysenkov is below.” I did skip over a few questions and answers regarding Russian soccer.

  • Ash

    Waitasec… he dislocated both his shoulders while jumping in a pool? Someone immediately ban both him and Eric Fehr from swimming.

  • I wonder if those shoulder injuries and surgeries were common knowledge in the scouting community.

  • Owen Johnson

    Again, not getting excited until I see him in a Caps sweater.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Kuzya may be getting a bit fuzzy on the timeline here – I remember he had a shoulder surgery in Germany, but that was a year after the draft

  • Ian Hopper

    OK, nerd time.

    — You mentioned USCIS, but showed a Department of State form.
    — That Department of State form is for an immigrant visa. Kuzya would need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Specifically a P visa, as an athlete. (The P visa is also used for actors and entertainers. Some people, like Ovi, can get an O visa for people of special (“outstanding”) ability.

    End nerd time.

  • Igor Kleyner

    That is what I call a thorough and substantive peer review! RMNB’s editorial regime allows me to get away with all kinds of liberties – as long as it’s not two spaces after a period. I did make a half-ass attempt to locate the proper form last night but got lost on USCIS website.

  • bskillet

    Yaawwnn, oooh excuse me, sorry I get a bit sleepy when I listen to soaps. I believe the Caps are going to be ok as long as a few expected and potentially really good guys start to step it up.

  • Fedor

    Funny that “after New Year” Kuzya won’t know date of entrance yet because he doesn’t know when will his team be eliminated.

  • Eddy Eagle

    Tarasenko — leaves. Ovechkin — leaves. Malkin — leaves. Nichuskin — leaves. Every NHL player after the lockout — leaves. But Kuznetsov stays — uh wtf?

    There’s always one clown that makes poor decisions via public opinion of them. And this decades clown is Evgeny Kuznetsov. Who stays in Russia instead of going to the best league in the world? It makes no sense from a players stand point, at all. And family or not — they can come with you, and should support your stance and motive to be with the best and be the best. Not cry and whine about you leaving. Also, he’s an excuse maker and I hope some guy like Milan Lucic opens his eyes his first shift in the NHL — because he’s been babying it playing against 3rd and 4th liners in the KHL. But still, he is an amazing talent and should only prosper on a deep and talented team like the caps and we will be awaiting his arrival.

  • Those players had contracts with the NHL. Kuznetsov did not and does not.

  • Eddy Eagle

    Do you think I’m dumb Peter? Doesn’t matter, but I know you’re dumb.

    First of all, Tarasenko signed a contract because he wanted to play in the NHL the lock-out season and than he went back after the lock-out was over. Nichuskin specifically said he wanted to play in the NHL and he signed a contract soon thereafter — the draft. As far as the other NHL players I mentioned I already know they had NHL contracts. But what I’m saying is, just imagine how he felt when all the good players were leaving his league and he was the only one left. Just imagine how dumb he felt. And even Ovechkin told him that he made a poor decision by staying — for an abundance of reasons. Same with Igor Larionov.

  • I’m going to have to deduct points from the other Ian because he did not start and end his comment like this.

  • johnnymorte

    If this is Ed Belfour I am really disappointed. Kuzya felt great staying in Russia because he was not only a hero in his hometown Chelyabinsk, but a hero in Russia for staying and being the face of their league. To you the Olympics may not mean jack*&%$, but to many European players it is the holy grail of achievement, more so than the Stanley Cup. The coach asked him to stay in Russia and train on the large ice surface in preparation for the Sochi games. The fact that we even have Russian players in the NHL is a fallout of the economic collapse that was the crumbling of the Soviet Union. The truth is, no one in Russia cares about the NHL, they only follow Malkin, Datsyuk, and Ovechkin because we happen to enjoy the benefit of having their best players. They could give a crap just the way you and I could give a crap about the KHL. Yes these guys are insanely competitive so they want to be in the best league in the world, but if you take away those contracts they would be just as content playing in Russia in front of their home fans. Kovy could give a &%$# what you and I post on these boards, he is happy as a pig in %$#@ playing in Russia on practically a tax free income. If Kuzya stays, he will be even more of a hero to his people despite the disappointment he will bring to North America. The truth is, we should be happy that we get to watch these guys play in front of our house every night because there will come a day when we won’t, Ovechkin wants him to come because he wants a cup, Larionov is an agent and makes money off player migration. I thought that all this was implicit but there are some thick skulls in this room.

  • Eddy Eagle

    ok buddy what you just wrote is the most retarded thing I’ve ever read in my life.

    First of all, no one is a damn hero unless they prove it world wide. It’s about getting your name out and proving to everyone you are the best in the world — than you are a hero. If people call him a hero for just staying in his home country and not showing the world what RUSSIA has created, once again, than he and they are fools that care about nothing but themselves. What fan would beg you to stay just so you can watch him in a garbage league and love it because he’s dumbing lesser players? That makes no sense and he shouldn’t have listened to them.

    And as far as your comment about Russians not caring about the NHL, maybe you but household after household has watch the NHL for generation after generation, even as the Russian superleague was there and now even as the KHL is there. Go ask every superstar Russian what they grew up watching — because of their Dad’s passion about the game of hockey and their understanding that the NHL is the best league in the world.

    And don’t tell me I don’t give a crap about the KHL because I do and when the NHL players were there I was enjoying it. But people want to know big names, people want to watch the best players battle it out. And most and almost every superstar on each team in the Olympics is from the NHL. And I can attest this — if the KHL was the best league in the world I would be boasting about it and watching it and adoring the players just as much as I and most people do now with the NHL. So your point is ridiculous.

    And also so what if Ovechkin wants him to come because he wants a cup. The point is that he should come and everyone that wants the best for Kuznetsov tells him to come. The people that are greedy and want to make their team more popular and the KHL more popular are the ones telling him to stay. It is a joke to tell a player to learn the game on the Olympic ice…like what? That just means that all the NHL players coming over will be at a disadvantage and that’s not even the case at all because all of those NHL players will still be the best players.

    And who are you to say that the Olympics to me mean jack sh*****t? Are you dumb, the Olympics are the holy grail of grails and just as prestigious as a Stanley Cup, if not more because it’s only every 4 years so everyone is on their game. And you’re dumb comment about Kovalchuk like what? He’s a 30 year old man, he has accomplished more that Kuznetsov has and probably will in his life time, he has led the NHL in goals for years, he is a world wide superstar. This is like his retirement, play for his country, help promote the league, and make tax free money. This is the path that Kuznetsov should be taking, but when you are young, you must develop the right way. So don’t ever use Kovalchuk in the same sentence as Kuznetsov you fool.

    And yeah you’re right they don’t care what we are saying here, and I don’t care what they are thinking either, but I watch them for entertainment, but I still want the best for players because than the best league in the world will be better — the NHL. So sit down bro you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep thinking someone is a hero for staying around.

    But P.S. Ovechkin is a hero, Malkin is a hero, Kovalchuk is a hero, and they all left in the past, but they are real heros. Not fools like Kuznetsov at this point in time. Even take the story of Achilles into account here, he went to battle the Troys because he knew that that war would be talked about and written about for years and his name would be engraved in stone — Achilles the hero — he wouldn’t have been that had he stayed. Same with Kuznetsov, so he’s not a hero stop playing dumb. He’s just a sheep for listening to greedy selfish people.

  • Bekezhan Nurkhaidarov

    Obviously you have never lived outside your home country. It doesn’t matter how much the NHL means or how much money they pay him, to play in your home country, for your home town, in front of your people, that is something else entirely. Stop giving the kid s**t for not coming to a foreign country to play in front of foreigners. Also winning the Olympics in front of a home crowd is extremely important to Russia and to Kuznetsov. Ovi and the rest left because the conditions in Russia were really f***ed up. With the level of the KHL rising and living condition getting better staying in Russia is becoming a viable option and growing even more so every year (Hell I’m even considering moving back to Kazakhstan from the US, to finally have family closer than 8000 miles away from me.)

  • Eddy Eagle

    Buddy leme make something clear. When you call someone a kid, it refers to a 13, 14, 15 year old boy. This guy is a 21 year old man. I had 88 kills at 21 my friend.

    But anyways; don’t tell me I haven’t lived outside of my home country. Because you’re completely wrong. I moved away from my home country to go to college. And you know why? Because I wanted to become a man, a man that didn’t depend on his family for guidance, but instead allow my own knowledge from my past tutelage to guide me and eventually become a better and more afluent man. So in man to man terms, stfu.

    And for you to say in front of your people is retarded. Do you think Canadian NHL stars are playing in front of ‘their people’ hell no, they don’t even know these people. And most of those people watch them on TV, just line the Russians watch our NHL stars on TV, and eventually want to be them. It means nothing to stay in Russia for years and years and play in front of your people for years and years when you are doing nothing good for your development. — and if we want to talk about playing in front of your people and in front of your country. Than that’s why Ovechkin is so damn hyped about playing in Sochi. He isn’t hyped about playing in the KHL.

    So I will give the ‘kid’ shit. Because like i said he isn’t a kid anymore and also he is making poor decisions. Look, Semin made a decision to play in the KHL’s barn leagues (the VHL) so that his grandmother could see him play. But that was a surprise to many people, even his supporting (and I must emphasize supporting) family. But he only played 4 games and than moved on to the KHL to finish out his lockout. That is called respect, when you are great, and know what you want and what you are doing, in the world.

    But I must ask you, what does winning the Olympics have to do with him still playing in Russia? All of the NHL stars are coming to play so uh…what? But like you said the conditions in Russia were poor back then and now they are better. But still, there is no place to develop in Russia because all of the best players are gone to the NHL. He should wait until he is an older man like Kovalchuk’s age to go back to Russia and play. Not when he is young and still needs practice to play his best, and also prove he is the best.

    You are a fool and he is a fool as well. This is almost like telling me this, yeah Usain Bolt, keep racing against us Jamaicans and win, and think you’re the best. But when the Olympics come you better be the best. Uh no, he has to continue his dominance with his COMPETITION and keep the practice up with the best at the Worlds throughout the years that the Olympics aren’t on

  • You are now officially creeping me the fuck out.

    Please familiarize yourself with the commenting policy: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/comment-policy/

  • SwedishClusterF

    I wish you could have tag lines here:

    ” I had 88 kills at 21 my friend.”

  • Eddy Eagle