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Kuznetsov joins Capitals for first practice, starts living his ‘dream’

Mar 9, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

kuznetsov2010getty Getty Images

Evgeny Kuznetsov said it was his “dream” to play in the NHL, but he casually shrugged off the notion that he might feel any pressure when the question was raised in his press conference Sunday morning after signing an entry-level with the Washington Capitals.

“I’m excited,” Kuznetsov said.

He was similarly dismissive about the notion that going from the KHL to North America’s smaller ice would require a major adjustment on his part.

“After first minute, no problem.” He added, “A good hockey player, it doesn’t matter where you play; big ice, small ice.”

In fact, what seemed to intimidate him the most was just the fact that he was giving an interview in English.

“When I come yesterday, first my interview in English, I’m not ready, today my second interview. I’m a little scared,” he admitted, laughing sheepishly. For what it’s worth, he seems to already have a decent command of the language, although he did occasionally stop to talk to a translator.

While he certainly seems loose, there’s no question that expectations will be high for him. That’s the case for any first round pick, but after Washington took him with the 26th overall selection in 2010, the hype about him has only been mounting as he’s excelled in the KHL.

Now he’ll be asked to join a team in the stretch run of a battle for a playoff spot. Mere days after traveling halfway across the world and with no professional hockey experience in this continent, he will likely be asked to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

“We don’t want to put him in a situation he can’t handle right now,” Capitals coach Adam Oates, per CSN Washington. “But in saying that, if we can spot him in the lineup it could be a nice spark for us.”

He does have that potential, depending on how quickly he makes the transition.

It should help that he’ll have Alex Ovechkin around to guide him. The 21-year-old forward will live with the superstar while he gets settled in. Obviously, Ovechkin has gone through a similar experience, but the two have also stayed in frequent contact while Kuznetsov was playing in the KHL.

You can watch the full video of his press conference at the Monumental Network.

  1. rockthered1286 - Mar 9, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    What a selfish jerk that Ovechkin is. I mean letting Kuznetsov live with him and helping him get accustomed to the team after he made a similar transition? What a jerk…

    • patthehockeyfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Nice comment. Kuznetsov is fortunate not to be alone.

      It’s surprising that he is even trying to speak English. Hat’s off to him.

      Oops. I almost forgot. Among blomfeld’s frequent posts about Ovechkin, in one, he called Ovi a moron because of his English. I guess Kuznetsov should get ready for a similar remark.

      I watched the entire interview (link above in the article). His English is obviously heavily accented; yet, I understood everything he said.

      Take it away, blom.

      • valoisvipers - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        You do have to admit that Ovi looks like a caveman.

      • barkar942 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:58 AM

        valoisvipers- he is replacing the caveman in the Geico commercials. He is taking his new job very seriously and has secretly had numerous secret surgeries to look the part.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        geico sponsors the capitals anyway, maybe they realized the dont need 2 cavemen.

  2. Stiller43 - Mar 9, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    You are WAY too paranoid about people unjustly hating on your caps and your ovi…

    • bohman88 - Mar 9, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      Just like when it happens to your penguins and sid.

  3. flyerincowtown - Mar 9, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Yes he may be letting the kid live with him, but you will never see Ovechkin pass him the puck.

    • bohman88 - Mar 9, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      IF they do not play on the same line, my friend, that would make you a very wise man.

  4. capspats - Mar 9, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    You guys forget that “me me me” ovi had 50 assist seasons before, back when we had guys like Knuble and semin who could score goals too. What do you guys want him to do now, pass it to johansson, backstrom, laich, or any of those guys and expect them to score?

    • hawksin5 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      ummm…yes…??

    • barkar942 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      He could pass it to Erat to score into their own net.

  5. bmoreredfury311 - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Look, people are going to hate on Ovi, just like we hate on sid and claude. I don’t even get mad anymore, i take it as a sign of respect and that they fear him, even when he has bad games. Everyone that watches hockey knows no matter what, Ovi is a threat.

    • stixzidinia - Mar 9, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      Claude? Nobody cares about Claude. Nobody. “best player in the world”. LOL

  6. joey4id - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Not much of a surprise here. Will this association be as fruitful as the Lemieux-Crosby association was when 87 joined the Pens? Hopefully Ovi won’t share his suspicions of NHL playoff conspiracies?

  7. barkar942 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:01 AM

    In other news, Ovie spent three minutes and 12 seconds teaching the kid everything he knows about defensive play and back checking.

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