Coach Laviolette On Evgeny Kuznetsov: “The Change Is Him. He Deserves All The Credit”

The difference in Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game between last season and this season is undeniable. His scoring is not only up, but he’s been a difference-maker once again on the ice. So it begs the question, what’s changed from last season?

”I think Evgeny’s just really committed himself. He had a great summer of training. I think he was just looking for a fresh start, and that fresh start can be here in Washington,” Capitals’ head coach Peter Laviolette told 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday.

“There was a lot of talk at the end of the year. He’s an important piece. We had conversations and I’m certainly glad that he’s bought-in here with us in Washington, because he is a high-end player.”

There’s no denying, nor has there ever been any denying that Kuznetsov’s skills are elite when he’s playing at his best. Laviolette expanded on what he’s seeing from Kuznetsov this season.

“Just the other day, again, I was just commenting with the coaches that the pace in which he is playing, the speed, and how good of a skater he is, and then he adds his skill to that, and his vision, his hockey sense. He sees things and he makes things happen out on the ice. The change is him. He deserves all the credit,” said Laviolette.

“He can attack the ice from the top of the circles on our end. He can bring it the whole way, and he can make his way and dissect the neutral zone with five guys in it. And still enter with possession. His speed has another gear to it.”

Whether Kuznetsov gained inspiration from experiences last season, such as seeing teammate Jakub Vrána traded to Detroit, or whether the change in Kuznetsov was something that just naturally emerged from within, the difference is undeniable. Laviolette believes that his change in commitment is a big part of it.

“He’s committed himself, he had a great summer of training. He stayed here, he was on the ice early. He worked on his strength and conditioning. He did the best he could coming into camp and right from training camp he was noticeably an impact player for us. More so than last year. The change is him and he deserves the credit for that,” said Laviolette.

Kuznetsov and the Capitals are off to New York City this afternoon in advance of their tilt with the Rangers Thursday night. The Rangers are currently four points ahead of the Capitals in the Metropolitan Division standings.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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5 Responses to Coach Laviolette On Evgeny Kuznetsov: “The Change Is Him. He Deserves All The Credit”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Commitment is 50% of it. Sticking to it will be the other 50% for Kuzy.

  2. Marky says:

    He’s just dominant when he’s on and can carry a team even. It’s been fun watching him play this year.

  3. Anonymous says:

    All those people who wanted him traded are hockey stupid. EOM

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