On Thursday, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov spoke to the media following today’s optional practice. Kuznetsov discussed battling COVID-19 a second time this season and how he feels moving forward in the postseason. Samsonov mentioned he was only able to get three practices in before starting Game 3 on Wednesday.
“It’s nice to be back,” Kuznetsov said after returning to the ice. He called the playoffs “fun” and is hoping for a “long series” in the postseason. Samsonov said he is also feeling good and is “keeping forward.”
Kuznetsov confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time this season and was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on May 4. The first time, which was back in January not long after the season began, he suffered multiple symptoms. Luckily, the 29-year-old said “this time was much better,” adding, “[As] you said, I [have] been there before, so I [have] been focusing on [recovering] quickly and join the team and play hockey.”
“It’s funny, you know they said it’s not a lot of people get it twice, so it wasn’t easy to be in hockey shape right away after you sit in the house. But emotions [were] high, and for these types of games, you always feel extra energy,” he added. Kuznetsov had just over 26 minutes of ice time on Wednesday.
Samsonov said he was able to get in three practices and face shots before Game 3, which he found out he was starting “a couple of days ago.” On the miscommunication between him and defenseman Justin Schultz during double overtime on Wednesday, he said, “Sometimes we get a bad situation behind the net…[We] will fix it next time…better communication.”
Angry Ovechkin after Caps lose Game 3 in OT pic.twitter.com/S8yD92kTZm
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He said everyone tried to pick him up after the game last night in the locker room, and Samsonov appreciated the team’s support.
Head coach Peter Laviolette wants the top six forwards to generate more offensive production. Kuznetsov said, “You have to be patient during the game and take what they give you…to me in this series, the most important thing is discipline, be patient, and work harder than they work. If you can outwork them, then some chances will create.”
By Della Young