Earlier today, we published a Russian interview with Evgeny Kuznetsov in which he repeated his desire to come to America. Speaking to R-Sport, Kuzya said he had broken off contract negotiations with Traktor Chelyabinsk and no amount of money would keep him from emigrating after this season.

Ahead of Sunday’s game with the New York Rangers, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lynsekov spoke to Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin after the morning skate. He asked him about Kuznetsov’s comments.

Pavel Lysenkov: Traktor forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has just stated in an interview that even $15 million a year won’t make him stay in Russia. Don’t you think Zhenya has stayed for two seasons to long?
Alex Ovechkin: I don’t want to condemn what he’s done.

Pavel Lysenkov: You don’t have to – let’s just state facts.
Alex Ovechkin: Two years ago I told Zhenya when he re-signed with Traktor, “you should’ve gone to Washington and grow as a player in the NHL”. Last year, he played well. He got injured a few times this year… It’s a shame he didn’t make the Olympics. You can say, Zhenya stayed in Russia to make that team. It’s difficult to evaluate from the outside. But I’m glad Kuzya says that now. I want him to come over and grow his skill, not stand still. He’ll see what he should do in the NHL, how to behave. He’ll gain some experience that will help him in life. You can always come back to Russia if it doesn’t work out for you in America. He’s still young and loses nothing.

Ovechkin responding gives Kuznetsov’s words special significance. Despite l’affaire Kuzya going on for years, Ovechkin spoke out about it only once before, during his KHL stint during the NHL lockout.

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  • Aldohexose

    But, couldn’t Kuznetsov played for Capitals and still been selected for olympic team? Was it that he felt he wouldn’t get enough exposure?

  • Igor Kleyner

    Exhibit A: Orlov, Dmitry.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I feel like someone in Russia might have told him that if he bolted for the US too early he’d have a harder time making the team. Was that the right decision? Probably not but it looks like he’s moved on already, which is impressive.

  • Aldohexose

    Understood. And I didn’t even need a translation! 🙂 thx.

  • Freedoooom

    He talks with Orlov.

    Orlov got scratched in favor of Schultz by Hunter. Beagle getting more ice time than Ovechkin.

    He says, uhhh I don’t want to make $70k(rookie AHL salary) in a foreign land over $5m a year in my homeland.

    He’s not a bad person for doing so.

  • Whoa Here

    Yeah it could’ve been harder for him….team Russia selects more than half of their roster from players playing in the KHL. If he played in the NHL chances are he could’ve been the odd man out.

  • Jack Conness

    If Kuzy can pan out to be the player he could potentially be, this could be really fun. It is all a bunch of ‘what ifs’ right now, but I am really anxious to see what happens.

  • Dark Stranger

    Looking forward to seeing Kuznetsov, even if long delayed. And hope his injuries while playing with KHL don’t slow him down too much.

    We could say that “Mr Smith is finally coming to Washington”, given that Kuznetsov is the Russian equivalent of Smith (or rather, “of Smith”).

    In any case, thank you for giving us Caps fans (and any other hockey fans who wander over here) the stories on him and the translations.

  • Dark Stranger

    There was a long while where Orlov had gotten into the lineup ahead of Schultz and Erskine during the Hunter regime. But by the time the playoffs arrived, Orlov was out. (Hence, your noting that Orlov scratched in favor of Schultz.)

  • Matt Root

    Russia kept saying they were looking for a 50/50 split of NHL and KHL players for the national team. I believe it went over 50% for NHLers but I think Kuzya did try to fit into the KHL demograph.. plus, hometown, family, money. I agree with you, I’m extremely impressed by his ability to not simply see dollar signs.

  • Barrett

    That would be a good line to watch play hockey:
    Kuznetsov – Backstrom / Grabovski – Ovechkin

  • Diller M

    If we can get Burkovsky up here quick and resign grabo we can have an all Russian line ( I realize Garbo is Belarusian but don’t they all consider themselves Russian) an all Swedish line and an all Canadian line. Sounds good to me.

  • Matt Lauer

    I think it’ll depend a lot on the players put around him. My biggest fear is that he gets sandwiched in the black hole.

  • Jim Brown

    Russia kept saying they were looking for a 50/50 split – I don’t remember any Russian representative saying anything like that. People like to make thing up on the KHL subject. KHLers would always be on the roster for a simple fact that there are not enough NHLers to build a team.

  • Jim Brown

    Kuz would have pretty good chances to make the team if he was playing in the NHL. It’s enough to look at Nichushkin’s case for that. Nichushkin is still very raw and makes plenty mistakes but still made it. Another youngster Tarasenko made it.

  • Dimo

    Tarasenko is a beast!