Kuzya is definitely taking this seriously. (Photo credit: HCTraktor.org)
Traktor Chelyabinsk’s KHL training camp started a few days ago. Sadly, Russian players have waved goodbye to their summers full of vodka-flavored borscht and two-a-day video game sessions. Traktor players are now working out together and doing off-ice team-led drills in downtown Chelyabinsk.
Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was there for his final KHL training camp on Tuesday, and thanks to a robust 44-picture photo gallery from HCTraktor.org, we can document the grueling session on the stationary bike, the jumping of rope until he couldn’t jump no mo’, the lifting of impossible weights, and the kicking of legs up and down furiously at some hurdle thing.
Tuesday’s session was led by some old guy with a mullet. Embrace the summer content.
Red’s definitely his color. (Photo credit: Harry How)
Back on January 6, 2011, Team Russia made the biggest comeback in World Junior Championship history, scoring five unanswered third period goals against Canada to win the gold medal. Then-18-year-old Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov centered the team’s first line and led the charge, assisting on three of the team’s goals.
Kuznetsov’s assist on Vladimir Tarasenko’s game-tying goal made him a hero in Russia and known to hockey fans worldwide. The play was was a perfect example of how he might play center in the NHL. Kuznetsov back-checked a Canadian player and stole the puck. After some diligent forechecking, he found Vladimir Tarasenko in the slot with an uncanny no-look pass.
Kuzya skates with the national team. (Photo credit: Champtionat.com)
Evgeny Kuznetsov has been engulfed in rumors of trades to the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow and getting lured out of his current deal by Capitals officials. But speaking with Mikhail Zislis of Sport-Express, Kuznetsov cleared the air on both sides of the Atlantic. Kuznetsov squashed the rumors and restated that he’ll make the jump to the NHL next year.
Evgeny Kuznetsov denied on a breakaway by Dynamo’s Alexander Yeremenko during the Gagarin Cup Finals (Photo credit: R-Sport)
Sport-Express is reporting a potential trade between Dynamo Moscow and Traktor Chelyabinsk involving Evgeny Kuznetsov, one of the KHL’s brightest stars and a prominent Caps prospect. According to one of Russia’s most popular sports publications, Kuznetsov may follow two other young forwards, Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, who have already been traded from Chelyabinsk to Moscow.
After Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, another Traktor player may move to Dynamo: Evgeny Kuznetsov. According to [Sport-Express'] information, blue-and-whites [Dynamo] have started talks with Traktor about buying the rights and contract of the 2012 World Champion and 2011 World Junior Champion. Kuznetsov is currently with the Russian national team at the World Championships, but hasn’t been placed on the finalized roster yet.
If this rumor is true, Traktor is in a state of upheaval, and it’s possible Evgeny Kuznetsov may be headed to Washington sooner than planned– or not at all.
Evgeny Kuznetsov in Team Russia practice facility. (Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport)
4PM UPDATE: A few days ago Team Russia head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov announced three goalies and 25 skaters, including Kuznetsov, who “would be travelling to Helsinki and Stockholm for the Worlds Championship tournament.” Not all of the players named by the coach will be on the Team Russia’s final roster. IIHF rules allow for the minimum of 15 skaters and 2 goalies to be named no later than today; players can be added to the roster at any time during the tournament, up to the maximum of 22 skaters and 3 goalies. While some teams have filed their full rosters, Team Russia is taking an incremental approach. They announced today the first group of players – 3 goalies, 5 defensemen, and 11 forwards. Evgeny Kuznetsov does not appear on the list. Kuzya may make the team later, especially if some of the Russian players currently involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs do not make a quick 1st round exit.
ORIGINAL STORY: Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has been named to Team Russia for the 2013 IIHF World Championships, which begin Friday in Sweden and Finland.
Kuznetsov won gold in last year’s World Champs while playing in a limited role. Kuzya has been less than impressive in the last few months, earning Joey Crabb treatment by national team coach Zinetula “Bill” Bilyaletdinov, playing on the fourth line at the EuroHockeyTour tournament in Czech Republic. To his credit, Kuznetsov looked impressive in his limited ice time, which probably secured him a spot on the national team. After the tournament, Kuznetsov, who has been encouraged to tweak his game to a less flashy, more steady team style by Traktor coach Valery Belousov, complained about the “black cat on his shoulder” that’s been bringing him bad luck for the last half of the season. He told reporters that he has set a conditioning program for the off-season to come back in a better shape for the beginning of next season.
Dynamo forward Denis Kokarev celebrating the victory. (Photo credit: RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov)
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom‘s former KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, has beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk 3-2 in overtime to secure a championship win in game 6 of the Gagarin Cup finals, taking the hardware home for the second straight year.
Despite a few good chances, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, was held without a point. Kuznetsov had eleven points in 25 games during his team’s long playoff journey.
Back in Washington, Ovechkin and Backstrom shared their happiness via Twitter.
Fifteen years ago, former Capital Esa Tikkanen had a breakaway in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. It could have iced the game for Washington and led them to the franchise’s first Cup. Instead, his shot completely missed the wide-open net and the Capitals were swept in four games by the Detroit Red Wings.
Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov had his own painful playoff moment Friday. With Traktor Chelyabinsk trailing Dynamo Moscow in the KHL Finals 2-1, Kuzya had a chance to put Traktor in total control of game three, when he was sprung on a breakaway mid-way during the second period. At approximately 95 MPH, Kuznetsov performed his patented breakaway move where he fakes a forehand shot and then puts the puck waaaaaay on his backhand, trying to slip the biscuit past the goalie. It almost worked.
Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his team’s first-ever KHL finals goal and the fifth of his postseason, but his team couldn’t add to it. Dynamo took game one of the KHL finals, 2-1. In game two, Kuzynetsov picked up an assist, but Traktor lost again after allowing a late goal.
Kuznetsov takes a selfie at his locker after the game (Photo credit: Kuznetsov’s Instagram)
Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk beat Ak Bars Kazan 2-1 in Game 7 of KHL Eastern Conference Finals. With goals by captain Vladimir Antipov and Andrei Kostitsyn (whose move to the Panthers is delayed again), Traktor pulled off an upset, coming back from 1-3 deficit in the series. Kuznetsov didn’t get any points in game seven.
Traktor, who has played in two games seven this postseason, both times trailing by two games in the series (0-2 and 1-3), will face Alex Ovechkin’s home team and the reigning champions, Dynamo Moscow, in the finals. This is the deepest Traktor has gone in the KHL postseason.
On Tuesday, as Traktor Chelyabinsk forced Ak Bars Kazan to game 7 in the KHL’s Eastern Conference Finals, Kuzya decided to shoot at the Ak Bars net as the buzzer blew. Ak Bars players did not appreciate Kuzya’s gesture, and the entire team skated after him at center ice. Kuznetsov, swift of skate, knowing his life was in danger, somehow avoided getting tackled. He did not, however, avoid getting punished: a 10-minute misconduct from the officials.