Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor
Yesterday we had an alarming report out of Chelyabinsk, where it appeared that Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov injured his shoulder for the umpteenth time.
Traktor Chelyabinsk’s head coach Valery Belousov wasn’t very encouraging after the game, saying that Zhenya “hurt his shoulder a little.” Today, however, the news out of Chelyabinsk is a bit more reassuring, as reported by Yuriy Golyshak of Sport-Express and translated below.
This doesn’t look good.
12:10 Update: Traktor Chelyabinsk head coach Valery Belousov just spoke and gave the media an update on Evgeny Kuznetsov. “He hurt his shoulder a little,” Belousov said. “Let’s wait a little bit and see what the doctors say.”
Washington Capitals 2010 first-round pick Evgeny Kuznetsov left today’s game against Medvescak Zagreb late in the first period after suffering an apparent shoulder injury. Kuznetsov was sandwiched in an open-ice hit by Patrik Bjorkstrand and Hugh Jessiman. Jessiman, who nailed Kuznetsov in the left shoulder from behind, appears to have been the one to injure the Caps prospect. Kuznetsov stayed on the ice for about a minute as the crowd chanted “Kuzya! Kuzya!” before being helped off the ice and running down the tunnel to Traktor’s locker room.
Shoulder injuries have plagued Kuznetsov since his years in junior hockey. The last one forced Kuznetsov to undergo surgery and miss 12 games earlier this season. It was his third shoulder surgery, the second to required visiting specialists outside of the country.
GIF by welshhockeyfan
Top Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov came into Friday’s game against Yugra on a roll: three goals in his last three games and loads of confidence leading Traktor back in the playoff picture.
Kuznetsov kept up the pace in a 4-3 overtime win for Traktor Chelyabinsk over Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. And he did it in style.
Evgeny Kuznetsov gets instructions from Traktor’s bench boss Valery Belousov (Photo creditL HC Barys)
Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two goals in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s convincing 5-1 away win over Barys Astana. Kuznetsov scored his first goal on Saturday and now added two more to his total. Video is under the jump.
Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor
Red alert! Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has finally scored his first goal of the KHL season.
Coming into Sunday’s game against Avangard, Kuznetsov, who missed six weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, had just one assist and a minus-9 — that’s bad even if it’s not a real stat — in the first six games of he played.
Both teams, who faced each other in the Eastern Conference finals last season, were surprisingly outside of the playoff picture as of Saturday — Traktor was ninth and Avangard was tied for 12th in the East. Thankfully for these two teams, someone had to win this game.
Kuznetsov, who has had trouble finding the net since late last season, finally got lucky. While Traktor was on a five-on-three power play, Kuznetsov tried to feed the puck to a wide-open Jan Bulis in front of the net. Instead, the puck got a mind of its own, and hopped under Bulis’s stick and went in off Avangard defenseman Nikita Pivtsakin’s skate.
In an interview to Alexey Shevchenko of KHL Fanzone in September, Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov emphasized his eagerness to jump to the NHL after the season’s end yet again. However, he said that a five- to seven-year offer in Russia might get him “thinking.”
It’s tough to blame Kuznetsov for wanting a secure financial future, but there’s one problem: He will never get that type of deal in the KHL. Let’s examine Kuznetsov’s comments from the interview.
Kuznetsov absorbs a hit in Traktor’s season opener against Dynamo. (Photo credit: HC Traktor)
Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov played all of 30 seconds in his team’s second game of the regular season, a loss to Vityaz Podolsk, 5-3.
— R-Sport (@rsport_en) September 6, 2013
Way back in early July, Traktor Chelyabinsk published a press release stating that Evgeny Kuznetsov was changing his jersey number to 84 for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Traktor did not say why, and in interviews since the news broke, Kuznetsov has not been asked about it. Russian media, we care about these things!
Meanwhile, Traktor continues to sell Kuznetsov 92 gear in its online store. Without a discount.
On Wednesday we finally got our first look at Kuznetsov wearing his new number (honoring, I assume, me and my birth year) during Traktor’s media day.
A few more photos by the redundantly named Ivan Ivanov are below the jump.
Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport
After Friday’s training camp session, Traktor Chelyabinsk announced their captain and assistant captains for the upcoming season. Konstantin Panov will wear the “C” while former Capital Jan Bulis and future Cap Evgeny Kuznetsov will be sporting the “A’s.”
But that’s not why you’re here. Earlier this morning, Sport.ru’s Igor Eronko tweeted out this quote from Kuznetsov: “I think i’ll return to Russia from NHL when I’m 30.”
It seems Kuzya is planning the return trip even before he’s arrived in North America.
As always, context is key. Kuznetsov is speaking to a reporter from a major Russian media outlet who has asked him a loaded question– something along the lines of “Why bother going to the NHL, Kuzya, if everybody is coming back home now anyway?” The 21-year-old Kuznetsov handled it deftly, showing respect to both the league in which he will be playing in this season and Ilya Kovalchuk, who has instantly become the face of the KHL and nothing short of the national hero upon announcing his return.
Kuznetsov is entering the final season of a two-year contract with Traktor that included an enormous bonus from the KHL to keep him at home.
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