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Caps GM McPhee OK with Kuznetsov staying in Russia: “They all come over eventually”

Jun 14, 2012, 5:58 PM EDT

George McPhee Getty Images

There was some hand wringing in Washington in early June when Evgeni Kuznetsov — the Caps’ first-round pick in 2010 — officially signed a two-year deal with KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk.

George McPhee was not one of the hand wringers.

The Caps GM wasn’t concerned then, and didn’t seen any more concerned today that the reigning World Junior tournament MVP wouldn’t be playing in Washington until (potentially) 2014.

“It wasn’t much of a surprise,” McPhee told the Washington Times. “We would have liked to have had [Kuznetsov]. But if he’s not ready to come over then it’s probably not a good thing for him to come over because he’s not going to play the way he needs to play.

“But they all come over eventually and if he comes over in a season or two he’ll be more mature, bigger, stronger…he’s a terrific prospect and at some point he’ll play for us.”

One one hand, it’s fair to buy what McPhee’s selling. He’s had past experiences getting draftees out of Russsia and reaping the rewards — Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin, most notably.

On the other, it’s hard to buy that McPhee’s totally cool with this current situation.

Aside from the fact Kuznetsov will spend the next two years not playing in North America (unlike Dmitry Orlov, who cut his teeth with AHL Hershey), there’s also the issue of Kuznetsov’s communication skills — more specifically, his lack of them.

Upon verbally agreeing to the deal with Traktor, he told SovSport’s Pavel Lysenkov he hadn’t informed the Caps he was staying in Russia. There’s no way McPhee was happy about that development.

Regardless, it appears the Caps are prepared to play the waiting game on Kuznetsov and believe they’ll eventually be rewarded for their patience.

“He’s going to come over at some point and he’s going to be a heck of a player here,” McPhee said. “He’ll be worth it.”

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Ya and the ones that do “come over eventually” come over with no defensive skills or desire to learn any and are ill-suited in this league.
    The only ones you want are the ones that commit to the CHL and NCAA and then the NHL right away.

    The ones that want to play on both sides of the fence are near worthless and the GM’s who draft them are foolish and deserve their eventual unemployment

    • grimlock410 - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      You are wrong. You don’t know what your talking about. Every individual is different. Pavel Datsyuk and Andrei Markov both played in Russia pro leagues.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        Was there even a KHL option for them back then? Lemme check, Opps No

        Tell me more about what I don’t know and keep using winning example like the 2 you just came up with k? thanks

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        Russian Super league was nothing like the KHL at all
        LOL Dats and Markov, my my, how desperate

      • bethgoesglobal - Jun 15, 2012 at 6:45 PM

        Grimlock410 said they both played in Russian pro-leagues; he made no distinction about whether they played in the KHL or the RSL. The fact is that Both the KHL and the RSL are/were Russian pro-leagues.

        So…. “theawesomerfranchise” the argument over KHL/RSL and who played where and when is a completely moot point.

        However, one thing you Should Know is that you sound like me when I’m feeling especially feisty and PMS-ing (and my guess is you Can’t tell me “more about what I don’t know” on that subject)….. not that Anyone wants to know that :-)

    • grimlock410 - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      |The only ones you want are the ones that commit to the CHL and NCAA and then the NHL right away.|
      To say the KHL is nothing like the RSL when the KHL was founded from the RSL is moronic. Since the KHL was founded in 08 you have basically no evidence to back up your claim.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 15, 2012 at 3:47 AM

        What is moronic is you pretending the old Russian Super League had owners and money the KHL has and is shelling out today. Utterly and completely moronic.

  2. sergeikremlin - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Kuznetsov is going to come over as a 22-year-old scoring machine fresh off of the Olympic Games in Sochi. Nothing wrong with prospects developing before jumping into the best league in the world, and he didn’t go until the 26th overall pick for a reason: The KHL. Worth the wait.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      And be a defensive nightmare like Semin, then will be playing 8 mins a game, start sulking and go back to Russia.

  3. letangusespertplus - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    too bad mcphee won’t be around to see him play in the states.

    • bethgoesglobal - Jun 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Just wondering- is Letang using Pert Plus supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing?

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