Early on Tuesday morning, Admiral, the eighth best team in the KHL’s Eastern Conference, defeated Amur 4-1. Admiral has now qualified for the KHL Playoffs. This also means that Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk, who was the Eastern Conference Champions last season, will miss the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2010-11.

Despite high hopes for this season, Traktor couldn’t quite get it together. Kuznetsov, the hometown star and offensive leader, suffered a shoulder injury that required shoulder surgery on September 6th, just a few games into the season. A few months later, Kuznetsov suffered a freak knee injury that also required surgery.

Traktor will now participate in the Nadezhda Cup, the KHL’s “loser” tournament for teams that don’t make the postseason.

It remains to be seen what Kuznetsov will do next.

Under contract in the KHL until April 30th, Kuznetsov could work out an agreement with Traktor Chelyabinsk management to get out of his deal early to go to the NHL — much like Alex Radulov did with Ufa Salavat Yulaev in 2012. The KHL star recently tweeted out his US visa application and in a “goodbye” interview conducted by the organization (on Kuzya made it clear he was leaving for Washington and indicated that Traktor’s final home game on Tuesday would be difficult for him.

“I don’t think it’s a secret for anybody,” Kuznetsov said last week. “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.”

As a goodbye gift to his club, Kuznetsov presented a zamboni to Traktor’s hockey academy after skating with its students. According to Sovetsky Sport, the gift’s value is at least 4 million roubles (approximately $100,000)

Kuznetsov also said that he and his wife will live with Alex Ovechkin when they fly over to North America.

Traktor will play Ak Bars at 8AM. After the game, Kuznetsov will likely say goodbye to his fans and friends. Check RMNB later. We’ll translate any interviews he does with the press.


“Today will be a very difficult day.”

  • prut

    please someone tell me there’s no way he gets traded before the deadline

  • Brackaphobia

    Sad for Kuzya, but good for us!


  • JenniferH

    Turn around three times quickly and spit!!!!!

  • Matt Ashton

    What is the status of his visa application? Couldn’t that be an issue right now for him, or any Russian in the NHL now needing to go in and out of the country?

  • Кулёк Кулёкович
  • JulieLovesCaps

    I feel terrible for feeling happy his team is missing the playoffs. I AM A BAD PERSON.

  • Rob W.

    Just remember to keep low expectations guys

  • yv

    It is from R-sport that has English edition.

    As for now Traktor losing 0:1 but it would be good if Kuzya will score his farewell goal.

  • Steve

    I’d really like to see him play at least 10 regular season games with the caps before the playoffs. If we even make the playoffs.

  • Jack Conness

    Exactly. His ceiling is through the roof but we can’t expect him to tear up the NHL right when he starts. I am excited to see what happens, but I don’t expect him to be dominant right away.

  • Clint Petty

    Kuzya scores a PPG in his final (hopefully) KHL game!

    Time for him to ride that Chelyabinsk meteor on over to DC

  • Al Czervik

    I’d rather he start next year as to not burn off a year of his entry level contract.

  • Diller M

    If we can get a top 4 D man (Lefty) I say Do it!

  • Is this real life? I thought this day would never come.

  • 70Caps

    OT just ended, is there a shootout?

  • 70Caps

    Never mind, I see AK Bars won in shootout 3-2.
    Kuznetsov missed one attempt in shootout.

  • SpacePirate

    He was already making several million with Traktor, and now he’s coming to DC to play for essentially the rookie minimum. If I were him, I’d want to burn off a year of that contract as soon as possible, so I could earn my fair value… But either way, the caps have him dirt cheap for at least two years.

  • Nick M
  • RT23

    I can’t wait to see how much faster he’ll be without 37 sponsor patches on his uniform.