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.
Krechin and Kuznetsov receive the “Bright Past” trophy, a local award in the Chelyabinsk region. (Photo credit: mityaev.ru)
Over the last few months, Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has stated that next season would be his last in Russia. As recently as last week, Kuznetsov told the Russian press, “I’ve decided for myself that it is my last year in the KHL. There’s no money that could keep me in Russia. I could make 30 times less, but I’ll feel what it’s like to live in a different country and play against the best players in the world.”
On Friday, Vladimir Krechin, the Director of Traktor Chelyabinsk, confirmed Kuznetsov is leaving for the NHL, revealing that his star player plans to fly over to Washington as soon as Traktor’s season ends.
For a few weeks now the saga of Evgeny Kuznetsov has been dominating the hearts and minds of Caps fans. The question being, where will Kuzya be playing next year? Is he going to join the NHL team that selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft? Will he stay true to his home town and remain a Traktorist for another season? Or will he prefer the greener pastures of another KHL club, perhaps a powerhouse like SKA St. Petersburg or even one of Traktor’s main KHL rivals like Salavat Yulaev Ufa?
The latest development in this story came in an interview Kuznetsov gave earlier this week to the host of KHL-TV’s “The Icing Show,” Igor Larin. Kuznetsov purportedly stated his intention to remain in the KHL, but not necessarily with his current club. KHL-TV has not yet made video of this interview available online.