Mar 9, 2014, 11:30 AM EST
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.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
A rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:22 PM EST
Also, Brad Marchand’s off IR.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:11 PM EST
Another veteran d-man gets a look.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:41 PM EST
Combined cap hit? $1.76 million.
Combined points? 34.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:37 PM EST
Tonight on NBCSN.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:56 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 24, 2014, 1:47 PM EST
Yes, that picture is a hint.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:43 PM EST
Habs sit atop the NHL standings, yet face a bunch of questions.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:35 PM EST
Injured during Saturday’s win over Detroit.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EST
Dustin Schwartz will replace Frederic Chabot.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:13 PM EST
There’s a headline I never expected to type.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:09 PM EST
Just his second NHL game of the season.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:37 AM EST
Canucks rookie who models his game after Jonathan Toews has four points in his last two games.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:12 AM EST
Click for video of said “mistake.”
Nov 24, 2014, 11:05 AM EST
Two-time Jack Adams winner coached Canada to Olympic gold in 2002.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:55 AM EST
The new Holmstrom?
Nov 24, 2014, 10:23 AM EST
The latter’s in response to Roman Polak’s injury.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
The Penguins in general have been spending a lot of time in the sin bin.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:22 AM EST
He’ll be in Tampa Bay for the first time since the move on Wednesday.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:44 AM EST
David Pastrnak might make his NHL debut.
- With worst save percentage in NHL, Oilers fire goalie coach 20
- Pat Quinn, ‘one of hockey’s most respected individuals,’ has died 11
- NHL on NBCSN: Bruins seek perfect game vs. Penguins 8
- Legendary hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov has died 14
- Canucks’ Hamhuis placed on IR 3
- Firing Dallas Eakins ‘would be so unfair,’ says Taylor Hall 31
- ‘It sucks for us, it sucks for the fans’: Oilers losing skid hits six games 17
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ 99
- ‘We did not want to disrespect our fans’: Leafs salute supporters after beating Red Wings 5
- Video: Demers sends Stoll flying with massive open-ice hit 8
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (99)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (78)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)