Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Washington Capitals an exciting glimpse at their future when he came over from the Kontinental Hockey League and played 17 games at the end of last season, scoring three goals and nine points.
The 22-year-old is continuing to adjust to the North American game and a new coach in Barry Trotz as he goes through his first NHL preseason, but through the trials and tribulations his mind is focused on one thing: winning.
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In an interview with CSNWashington.com, Kuzentsov spoke about watching the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the emotions he felt watching the Los Angeles Kings win their second title in three seasons.
"You play for that feel. You play not for money, not for your [personal] trophies," Kuznetsov said, according to the website. "You play only for the Cup and to feel excited after the game. If you win you feel like you go home and your wife, your kids they all happy you win this game. If you don't score, no problem, you win. This is very important."
Kuzentsov said he is still adjusting to the smaller rinks and more physical play in the NHL. New coach Barry Trotz is doing what he can to speed that adjustment by playing Kuznetsov in preseason games against big, physical opponents like the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers.
"If you want as much North American games as you're going to get, you're going to get it from those two teams," Trotz said, according to CSNWashington.com. "I did that on purpose because I need him to play in those games and get acclimated. His skill set is exceptional. He's got size, he's got skill. He's got to find his way on how he's going to be able to produce."