After scoring nine points in 16 games with the Caps, Evgeny Kuznetsov has flown back across the world to play for Russia’s national team in the upcoming World Championships. On Tuesday, Kuznetsov spoke to Vladislav Domrachev of Sport-Express after practice and talked more about his NHL debut and how his English is progressing.
Apparently the NHL is like bobsledding or something.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: It’s always a pleasure to join the sbornaya [Russian national team].
Do you think you improved as a result of your time in the NHL?
EK: It’s not for me to judge. When the games start, then we’ll see.
How different is hockey overseas in comparison to the KHL?
EK: Yes, it is similar to bobsled (laughing). You have to get used to it, then it becomes more and more interesting. I wasn’t nervous a whole lot before the first game. Maybe just a little bit. But once we went through pregame skate– everything went away. It was important to score the first goal.
Did the change of scenery at the end of unsuccessful season benefit you?
EK: Why unsuccessful? Successful. Good season. That’s what I think. We always criticize when things go bad. And when they are good…
EK: Yes, such is life. Now I realized: you have to work nonstop. Only the best are praised. Nobody notices how many games I missed because of the injuries. But I am ready to bring everything back to proper place.
Did ovechkin help you settle on the new team? You lived in his house.
EK: Yes, and not only him, Masha and his mom too. As well as Dima Orlov and his girlfriend. I am thankful to them all.
Your English is improving very fast.
EK: Are you talking about my interview? They ask me to speak English, even if I make mistakes. That’s the only way to improve. Toward the end I was all right answering questions in English.
Last year your Traktor played Znarok’s Dynamo in the finals. What are your impressions from meeting the best coach of the KHL?
EK: Great! We are from Russia, we have to fight for the country.
Are you following the Stanley Cup playoffs?
EK: Yes. I really liked the first game of Columbus/Pittsburgh series. I always try to notice something for myself. There are people worth watching.
And the KHL? The finals are so interesting this year.
EK: I know. I watched.
Who are you rooting for?
EK: What do you mean, who? Metallurg, of course. Because Traktor and Metallurg are from the same region, Chelyabinsk. I have a lot of friends at Metallurg. I hope they win.