Evgeny Kuznetsov: Rocking the Red …or the Red Army?


Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport

September 27th Update: Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that Evgeny Kuznetsov will not be conscripted into the Russian army (via a source close to Kuzya).

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

Just when we decided that Evgeny Kuznetsov’s days in the KHL are numbered, his local draft board has mucked up the works.

Quick recap: come next season or sooner if Traktor’s postseason ends early, Kuznestov will join the Caps– unless a gazillion-ruble, long-term deal is foisted on him (unlikely in the KHL). RMNB no longer needed to relay the latest quotes from Kuzya or his agent or his team or KHL officials, because the matter was all but settled.

Enter Alexander Bochkarev, head of Chelyabinsk regional Voenkomat (military commissariat), basically the equivalent of a local draft board in the US.

Here’s Bochkarev, as reported by championat.com:

“I believe Egeny Kuznetsov may continue to play for Traktor and defend the honor of the country while simultaneously serving in the Russian army, – said Bochkarev.  We can also conscript the young guys who left Russia. For example, Valery Nichushkin, Evgeny Malkin. [Editor’s note: Nichushkin is a native of Chelyabinsk, Malkin is from Magnitogorsk; both cities are under Chelyabinsk regional commissariat jurisdiction.] They don’t necessarily have to play for CSKA or SKA. [Editor’s note: Both clubs are historically associated with Soviet military.] Sporting companies existed in the Soviet Army and were later abandoned. In 2012 Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu proposed to reintroduce them, and Russian President and Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin signed the decree. But we are not the ones who make the final decision.”

Taking this new development somewhat seriously, Sovetsky Sport reached out to Kuznetsov’s agent Valery Gushchin. “A notice from the voenkomat? This is the first time I hear about it. So far he has not received anything. All I know is he recently graduated from college.”

Russia does have universal and mandatory military service obligation for men aged 18 to 27; the length of the service is 12 months. Numerous provisions exist for deferrals, such as for parents of two or more young children, college students, or for health reasons. Exceptions facilitated by transfers of large sums of money (bribes) are also pretty popular too.

Leaving home to play hockey in another country technically isn’t sufficient to dodge conscription, though it has worked that way in the past.

A decision to start enforcing the military service obligation for top-level athletes would surely not be made at the regional level– as evidenced by Bochkarev’s transparent disclaimer: “We are not the ones who make the final decision.”

So will Moscow make the call? Will they — would they — force Kuznetsov to delay his NHL career another 12 months?

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  • Ben Reed

    Time for Ovi to give Putin a call and end this madness for good.

  • brian!

    Multiple shoulder surgeries: unfit for service. Problem solved?

  • bskillet

    And that’s another reason to leave and play in the US. Ahh freedom!

  • Veronika Yusupova

    They can also not let one leave the motherland for 5 years after the army. The form bellow is in Russian, but basically every person that has knowledge of military ‘secrets’ gives up their right to leave the Russian Federation for 5 years. http://zakonprost.ru/content/base/part/748576

  • Fedor

    There’s a big difference between a regular soldier and person who knows secrets. Civil person who knows secrets isn’t allowed to leave as well. So if they want an easy path, just give this guy some secret.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Kuzya already knows everything there is to know about penalty killing – he wrote his thesis on PK! That’s got to be enough to turn him into otkaznik!

  • vtcapsfan99

    I heard that if a player has a master of sports, they can get an exemption from military service. It was explained to me that is why some of these NHL players get the master of sports, such as Varly who earned one from a Yaroslavl university right after winning the WC in 2012. Also that the players that have won WC gold are given a master of sports. Is this accurate info about the master of sports allowing players to have an exemption from military service?

  • SuperSlav

    I think you are missing the point BRO. “They” can prevent it easy. Sometime mid-season an olive green “UAZ” will stop by his apartment in Chelyaba at around 0245 am. In go two officers, out and off goes Kuzya….

    That would set a good messege to the “regular” kids who dodge draft that nobody is above his duty to his Homeland…

  • RESmith

    The Caps have already been through this before:


    (The only difference was that Semin was already under contract to the Caps.)


    Kuznetsov doesn’t want to come to Washington. If he did, he would be here already. Wave good bye to him.