On Thursday, Traktor Chelyabinsk released a long interview with Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov. It covers a wide range of topics. It’s essentially a goodbye from the club.
Kuznetsov speaks about his impending to move to the NHL, saying, “I don’t think it’s a secret for anybody.” He also says that he and his wife will live with Alex Ovechkin when they arrive in Washington. It also appears that Traktor’s final home game on March 4th (next Tuesday) is going to have special significance. Kuznetsov says he is inviting all of his friends to the game and half-jokingly asks to be captain just for that night — saying it would be a dream come true.
With Kuznetsov making such a big deal out of the team’s final regular season game in Chelyabinsk, it also seems to indicate that he may have a deal of some sort to skip the Nadezhda Cup, the KHL’s “loser” tournament for teams that don’t make the playoffs.
Igor Kleyner has a partial translation of the article.
Has the decision to move overseas already been made?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Yes, I don’t think it’s a secret for anybody. The 4th game of this homestand will be one of my last games here. I want to invite all my friends – I think there will be around 200 people (laughing). I also hope they will trust me with a captain’s armband at least for one game, so that my dream would finally come true. Maybe I’ll ask the coach or Dima Ryabykin for it. Maybe the fans will do something special for me, because I think I have done something for them. And please understand, I am not talking about hockey right now. I have never refused an autograph or to take a picture with anybody. It will be a very difficult game for me.
So neither the daily routine difficulties, nor language barrier concern you?
EK: As far as the language – that just comes and goes. The language is not going to be a problem for me. My wife will be there, our parents will visit, the friends. I think I will only have difficulties the first few days, because I don’t know anybody on the team, except a few guys. Other than that, I already talked to Sasha Ovechkin, he said he is going to help me out, we’ll live at his place at first, all the little details have been discussed.
What about your English? Have you been studying?
EK: No, but I can interact a little. I think I will learn much faster when I have to speak the language, rather than here. When everybody around you is Russian – it’s difficult to learn English.