Before the 2010 draft, the highest-rated Russian prospect, Vladimir Tarasenko, was asked what some scouts thought to be a simple question: “Who’s better between you and Evgeny Kuznetsov?”
Tarasenko recalled his answer in a December 29th Sports.ru interview:
I said, “I don’t know.” They said, “You must answer.” I said, “Kuznetsov.” They asked, “Why did you pick him?” I responded, “Ask Zhenya and he’ll say Tarasenko’s better.” I explained it’s a speciality of the Russians. Unlike Canadians, we’ll never say, “I’m the best.”
Lately, the Capitals’ top prospect has played so well that maybe Tarasenko’s humility was more objective fact than “Russian mentality”. Let’s consider Kuznetsov’s achievements over the past few weeks.