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 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.