Now that Evgeny Kuznetsov is under contract and preparing for his transition to the NHL game, which could start as soon as Monday night, here are some other notes from his first interview with Washington reporters Sunday morning.
>>> With the Capitals in a playoff hunt with 17 regular-season games remaining, a speedy transition to new teammates — and a new league — is imperative. Kuznetsov appeared to be energized by importance of the games and the approach he saw when he was at Verizon Center on Saturday night as Washington defeated Phoenix 3-2.
“Every hockey player, every guy on the team wants to win the Cup, wants to play playoffs,” Kuznetsov said, adding the importance of a work ethic to reach that goal. “If you want to win, we need the practice, we need the game. That whole team wants to win. I watch every guy yesterday, everyone wants to win every game, every time, every minute.”
>>> Kuznetsov admitted he was nervous when it came to conducting interviews in English.
“When I come yesterday, [I had] my first interview in English. I’m not ready. Today my second in English. I’m a little scared,” he said, showing reporters the palm of his hand. “My sweat.”
Even though he wasn’t completely comfortable not speaking in Russian and occasionally turned to Caps’ PR director Sergey Kocharov for interpretation help, Kuznetsov understood the majority of questions posed and offered clear answers. Talking hockey with Coach Adam Oates was an easier matter, though, as Kuznetsov said he understood all the instruction he received on the ice Sunday.
>>> Kuznetsov expressed his gratitude to Alex Ovechkin and his fiancée, Maria Kirilenko, for allowing him to stay with them until he can find his own place to live. At that point, Kuznetsov expects his wife and their Yorkshire terrier to join him in Washington
“It’s very important for me, for my parents,” he said of Ovechkin hosting him. “’Hi, thanks Alex’, [from] my mom.”
>>> Throughout the year, Kuznetsov has been in touch with Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov, with whom he played on Russian national teams growing up. Both Capitals urged Kuznetsov to come to the NHL as soon as possible.
“I talk to Orlov and Ovi like every day all year,” Kuznetsov said. “Every day they say, ‘Come, we need you.’ All comfortable for me in best league.”
>> Asked if he could describe his style of play, Kuznetsov encouraged reporters to see for themselves. “Are you coming to game on Monday?” he said.