This doesn’t look good.

12:10 Update: Traktor Chelyabinsk head coach Valery Belousov just spoke and gave the media an update on Evgeny Kuznetsov. “He hurt his shoulder a little,” Belousov said. “Let’s wait a little bit and see what the doctors say.”

Washington Capitals 2010 first-round pick Evgeny Kuznetsov left today’s game against Medvescak Zagreb late in the first period after suffering an apparent shoulder injury. Kuznetsov was sandwiched in an open-ice hit by Patrik Bjorkstrand and Hugh Jessiman. Jessiman, who nailed Kuznetsov in the left shoulder from behind, appears to have been the one to injure the Caps prospect. Kuznetsov stayed on the ice for about a minute as the crowd chanted “Kuzya! Kuzya!” before being helped off the ice and running down the tunnel to Traktor’s locker room.

Shoulder injuries have plagued Kuznetsov since his years in junior hockey. The last one forced Kuznetsov to undergo surgery and miss 12 games earlier this season. It was his third shoulder surgery, the second to required visiting specialists outside of the country.

Traktor’s players retaliated for their star player late in the game as Konstantin Klimontov got into a fight with Jessiman (who also hit Evgeny Katichev somewhat dangerously in the second period).

That was the end of an eventful period for Kuznetsov. During his 4:31 on ice, he had two good scoring chance– both denied by Barry Brust– and brilliantly set up the game-winning goal scored by Jan Bulis. Traktor won 5-1.

The hit on Kuznetsov is at 1:05 mark.

One of Kuznetsov’s two shots on net.

Kuznetsov’s assist.

Kuznetsov’s persistent shoulder problems aren’t good, but he’s not the first Russian star to have these kinds of issues. Kuznetsov’s path resembles that of the Penguins star Evgeny Malkin, who had multiple shoulder surgeries before coming over to North America. Malkin has been able to keep his shoulders healthy since.

  • Ash

    THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

  • Matt Root

    Somewhat a re-hash from a late question I had in the previous Kuzya post, with an up and down start (albeit early season) and now this injury, what do you see as Kuzya’s chances at making the Sochi team, Fedor? Was he perceived as a lock before this injury?

  • Jack Conness

    I probably just shouldn’t get my hopes up…

  • William

    NOOO hopefully its a minor injury. We love you Kuzya!

    P.S. you wouldn’t get injured in the nhl ;)

  • Fedor

    He was considered a 50/50 candidate before the season due to cold finish last year, then IMO his chances went to 20% when he got hurt. I liked his play after injury, but this injury, if it’ll take a surgery and a month plus to recover, may do it for his chances. If he comes back and keeps playing like he did in the last few weeks, he should be there.

    But coach Bilyaletdinov loves grinders and plays defense first hockey, so he’ll probably take the likes of Anisimov and Kulemin, making it incredibly tough for a skill forward from KHL to make it, I think he’ll take Radulov and Kovalchuk and maybe two more skill guys from the K, so Kuznetsov needs to dominate to make it. Doesn’t suit Russia’s strengths which makes me very low on their chances.

  • Brackaphobia

    Kuzya is a great talent, but this is a problem. He can’t stay healthy in the KHL this season and then we would ask him to take NHL-level hits?

  • Matt Root

    Thanks for the quick response, Fedor. I always hoped for him to make the team, especially after much of the speculation that he’s stayed so long in the KHL was due to increasing his chances at making the team for Sochi. With the Nadezhda Cup, I guess it doesn’t matter whether Traktor makes the top 8 as either playoffs or a consolation tournament will take precedence before he possibly joins the Caps, correct? I was curious if he didn’t make the Sochi team, would that make his arrival sooner.. but it appears a playoff/tournament exit is the only way that is possible; Assuming he is healthy, of course.. which is definitely the most important thing for him.

  • Fedor

    I think if he asks kindly Traktor may give him a release if they fail to make the playoffs. Organization of that level probably doesn’t care one bit about consolation tournament.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Can he just come over now so we can protect him. That’d be nice.

  • Benjamin Scarbro

    Don’t mind me just testing the gif thing.

  • Benjamin Scarbro
  • brian!

    Could you comment on the quality of healthcare in Europe available to a star like Kuznetsov? Specifically, are the shoulder injuries bad luck, spotty surgeons/rehabilitation methods, something else, or some combination? Every time I read up on him getting injured, I’m reminded of Varlamov’s comments from a few years ago (when he was in the Caps organization) regarding his groin. His complaint, and I’m paraphrasing here, was that the American system was ineffective compared to the treatment he would have received overseas.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    DON’T ABUSE IT

    wait, nevermind

    DO ABUSE IT

  • Dark Stranger

    Get well, soon, Kuzya! He’s certainly had bad luck on the health front. Hope he finally reports to the Caps after this KHL season. I agree that he should have come over to America sooner.

  • Matthew

    Upcoming BUST

  • Fedor

    Kuznetsov had last two surgeries in Germany. Qualifications of doctors there can’t be questioned, especially considering financil capabilities of Kuznetsov and his importance to his team.

  • brian!

    I figured as much, guess he’s just unlucky. Thanks!

  • Benjamin Scarbro
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