Photo: Sport-Express

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.

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  • VeggieTart

    Have I mentioned that I really, really like this kid? I really look forward to seeing what he can do with a full season.

  • Me too. There is a reason why we wrote about him so much while he played for Traktor: he is supremely talented and he really could be a star someday. Here’s hoping.

  • Fletcher22

    I’d include him in a trade package faster than you can say ‘fire GMGM’ if it meant we could get a nasty shutdown defenseman.

  • yv

    Right now some German sites showing Eurochallenge game Germany-Russia. Interesting to hear on German so familiar names like Kuznetsov, Orlov and especially, and a lot, Ovechkin. It is like Caps have already returned from vacation. So far, 4:0 Russia after 1st.

  • Chris

    No one should be untouchable (including Ovi) for the right package. However, a name like Weber/Subban or perhaps a young talent like Jones would have to be coming back (not that we need young, but value might be the same). But he is a top 5 league prospect/player and proper value would have to be returned. Edler or Seabrook or a signed Girardi won’t get it done (though they’d be nice to have).

  • VeggieTart

    I was thinking his off-ice demeanor is great as well.

  • Fletcher22

    Agreed. If there is a new regime, I’d give Ovi every chance to develop his overall game. I’d love to have Laviolette, and I think he would listen to a coach with some hardware to back up his message. This organization has failed him thus far, from providing him with inexperienced and sometimes incompetent coaches, to surrounding him with the wrong players.

  • Myan

    I’m really excited to see how Kuznetsov develops next season. He’s already taken the initiative to get stronger and he’s acknowledged that he needs to play a more physical game to be successful in North America. That awareness is really encouraging. Can it be October already?

  • Rhino40

    I have it: Kuznetsov = the Antisasha. In this context Sasha=Semin (“Bad” Sasha). Zhenya seems outgoing, eager to please, and (thus far) not inclined to take #stupidstickpenalties…the polar opposite of Sasha Minor from a personality standpoint.

    I must admit–against all better judgement–I like this Duke

  • Rhino40

    BXƏ! BXƏ!! We want BXƏ!!!

    100 Mana, 500 HP and 60 Charisma to the the one who correctly deciphers….

  • 70Caps

    WTF!!! Ovechkin isn’t a selke finalist!!!!!

  • Sarah

    They should have a Purple Hart trophy, for if you’re the MVP on your team but get the crap beat out of you in the press.

  • Diller M

    No way! If it’s October that means another season of GMGM and Oates hockey (shudders). No thanks April is fine with me.

  • Graham Dumas

    Nice schwa action…

  • CJ

    Just have to say how much this idea made me laugh.

  • CJ

    I think failing thus far is at least a bit too extreme given that that comment includes Bruce. Big bald BB was a god sent deliverance to precisely what this team needed when they needed it. GMGM, and in fairness Bruce as well, got in his head after that ill-fated Montreal series. Everyone in the mainstream media and McFee all agreed that the Caps needed more defense to push the playoffs. This got in Bruce’s head as well and he changed the system that got us the President’s trophy. From that point going forward it was like a parent who for 5 years said jumping on the bed was just fine to suddenly saying “No this is for your own good get down.” No one could take that sort of thing seriously when for years it had been fine.

    This is ultimately what got Bruce fired and he even stated in a press release about coming to Anaheim how he “got away from his instincts and got in his own way too much.” Before or after you comment has merit but Bruce was just what we needed when we needed it.

  • Rhino40

    Kudos for identifying the letter, but what player am I referring to?

  • Graham Dumas

    Oh, you actually wanted an answer to that? Bieksa.

  • Jonah

    actually if there were a purple heart trophy, it would go to pevs. guy literally DIED at a game and asked to go back, after being brought. back. to. life.