Evgeny Kuznetsov speeds down the middle during Traktor’s game against Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin, Traktor PR Service)
Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, currently sitting in the top 15 in both goals and points (12g, 12a), was named a KHL All-Star for the second time on Monday. Unlike last season, Kuznetsov was overwhelmingly voted in as a starter this year by fans and will represent “Team Fedorov” of the Eastern conference. The 19-year-old Traktor Chelyabinsk forward finished second overall in total votes (33,800), trailing only Mikelis Redlihs of the Western Conference’s “Team Ozolins.”
To put Kuznetsov’s immense popularity in perspective, consider that he garnered more votes than reigning MVP Alexander Radulov, Roman Cervenka (the KHL’s leading scorer), Vladimir Tarasenko, and Russian National Team Captain Alexei Morozov.
Russia’s Captain, Ilya Nikulin, holds the Karjala Cup; Kuznetsov gets mugged in front of the net.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Russian National Team’s youngest player at 19, once again proved his mettle and how lucky-a**ed (Kuzya called himself that during last year’s WJC) he can be in clutch situations. With ten seconds left and Russia stuck in a 1-1 tie with the Czech Republic, Kuznetsov — currently leading the KHL in game-winners this season — potted his only goal of the tournament. Not only did the tally give Russia the win in their final tournament game, it also clinched them the 2011 Karjala Cup.
Traktor Chelyabinsk’s four-game road trip came to an end today. Over seven days the team traveled from Chelyabinsk to Kazan (two time zones away), Moscow, Mytyschi (which is basically also Moscow), and Riga (three time zones away). After accumulating nine out of twelve standings points and more than 3,200 miles during the trip, the White Bears now return home for a five-day break from KHL action.
Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov ended a three-game pointless drought today, scoring a late third period goal against Dinamo Riga.
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.