Photo credit: Lenta.ru
Last week, Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was left off Russia’s Channel One Cup roster. After missing a large chunk of the season due to shoulder surgery, Kuznetsov — who’s been inconsistent on a struggling Traktor Chelyabinsk team — appears destined to be left off Russia’s Olympic team.
Over the weekend, Kuznetsov told Alexey Shevchenko that the only reason he stayed in Russia was to make that team. Well, Kuzya, your Olympic dream is still alive. Barely.
As usual, Team Russia members gathered in Moscow to face the media before departing for the EuroHockeyTour stage, which will be in Sochi this time. Here’s what coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov told Shevchenko for the team’s official site:
Alexey Shevchenko: Those who didn’t make the EuroTour roster can’t hope for more? As you understand, I’m talking about Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Zinetula Bilyaletdinov: It’s a very difficult question. We’ll follow him and right now I’m not ready to say if he’s got a chance or not. It’ll depend on how he’ll play in KHL regular season. If Evgeny plays the way he’s supposed to, he’ll get a chance.”
It’s also been announced that Traktor’s coach Valery Belousov will join Team Russia’s staff. Belousov declined to comment on Kuznetsov’s situation before meeting the rest of the coaches on Tuesday.