“He okay with that because I buy some hats and jersey for him,” Kuznetsov said.
For context, here’s Ovechkin in the breakaway challenge in 2009, wearing a cowboy hat and goggles:
On Kuznetsov’s second shot of the breakaway challenge, he put on a cowboy hat that said “I’ve Been Honky Tonkin’ On Broadway” and some glasses that fit with the Music City theme.
Kuznetsov hinted on Friday that he would do something special for the breakaway challenge, though he said it wouldn’t involve wearing a cowboy hat. Asked about the time he and Ovechkin wore cowboy hats in Calgary, Kuznetsov said he lost that hat there last season.
“I’m a Russian guy, how I can wear a cowboy hat?” Kuznetsov said on Friday.
He purchased one in Nashville and saw the imitation through. Ovechkin had Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin pour Gatorade in his mouth, so Kuznetsov tapped Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom to pour Pepsi in his mouth before the attempt.
“I was scared I was going to pour it on his eyes,” Backstrom said. “I didn’t want to do that, so I had to focus there for a bit.”
The only thing that was missing was a goal, as Kuznetsov’s nerves likely got the best of him. Or maybe it was Pekka Rinne’s guitar.
“Yeah, like a copy,” Kuznetsov said of his tribute to Ovechkin. “But not a good copy. But it’s okay, you know? It’s good I try something like that.”
Kuznetsov still enjoyed the experience, even though he didn’t win the breakaway challenge, and he said he had “no chance” against front-runners P.K. Subban and Brent Burns. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said Ovechkin should feel like a “proud papa” seeing Kuznetsov pay homage to him in the all-star game.
“I wish he would have scored, because it would have been a little better there,” Holtby said. “There would have been some celebrations involved. I think everyone would have caught onto the Ovi thing a little more.”