Photo: Justin K. Aller
It is silly to compare Evgeny Malkin (500+ games, Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, Hart, two Art Ross Trophies) to Evgeny Kuznetsov (one game, 10 minutes on ice)– even if they were born a couple hundred miles away from one other– basically the same neighborhood by Russian standards.
Then again, it’s also fun, which is why people have been doing it for awhile— including Valery Belousov, Kuznetsov’s old coach at Traktor and the man who oversaw Malkin’s development at Magnitogorsk.
In our brief conversation on Sunday, Kuzya flatly dismissed all comparisons to his much more famous namesake. But what does Geno think about it? Well, let’s take a look at today’s edition of Sovetsky Sport, where we find Dmitry Chesnokov’s interview with the Penguins’ star after Monday’s game.
What can you say about Evgeny Kuznetsov’s debut?
You could see it was difficult for him. I remember my first game. The hockey here is very different, not like in Russia. He did not get that much ice time, but he moved well. It’s hard to play on the fourth line. The coach probably wanted to protect the kid, give him some time to adapt. I hope he is going to get improve.
Fourth line: is this meant to be critically?
That’s for the coach to decide. But obviously, Kuznetsov is a different type of forward. He likes to play with the puck, to attack. He is a top two lines forward.
Kuzya is often compared to you. Do you see anything in common?
I actually try not to look at myself from the outside. I don’t like my game. I can’t even describe my style. But Kuznetsov is a very decent forward. He only needs to improve physically. Then no one is going to be like him. You will see the progress. Right now he has things he needs to work on. He had injuries – need to learn lessons from that. And most importantly – not to stay in the same place.