Evgeny Kuznetsov Discusses Origins Of New Shootout Approach And Wayne Gretzky’s Criticisms Of The New Strategy

Washington Capitals centerman Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke on the telegram channel “Hockey on Kinopoisk” this week about how he developed his new style and approach to shootouts.

“In principle, for a long time we talked to our goalkeeper coach on how best to act. There was one moment when we hit the bar five or six times in a row. Not that confidence was lost – I couldn’t understand why I got there from the same point,” said Kuznetsov.

“Accidentally, at one point I realized: the slower you go, the more convenient it is to control the shot. While it works, it’s good. But still, I think at some point it will stop working, I will come up with something new.”

Kuznetsov also responded to Wayne Gretzky’s criticisms of the shootout style. The legendary Canadian said that he dislikes it and that it is necessary to introduce a rule like in baseball: to give seven to eight seconds for a try.

“Gretzky’s words? Well, they’ll ban it. As long as there are rules, I’m within the framework of the law [doing]. They’ll forbid – I’ll come up with something new. In the meantime, I’m not going around the rules, everything is clear according to the law. If banned, well, at least something will be remembered in the NHL, it turns out,” Kuznetsov said.

Kuznetsov, who posted 24 Goals and 78 Points in 79 Games Played in the 2021-22 season, recorded just 12 and 55, respectively, in 81 contests in 2022-23.

The 31-year old forward, who has played his entire 10-season career in Washington, has once again found himself in the offseason trade rumor mill. He was not asked about this in his end-of-season exit interview, although Kuznetsov described his emotions surrounding the team’s failure to play into the summer as “very low”.

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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28 Responses to Evgeny Kuznetsov Discusses Origins Of New Shootout Approach And Wayne Gretzky’s Criticisms Of The New Strategy

  1. Nikolai says:

    Guy is one of the most talented players in the league when he cares lol – evidenced by the nonchalance he plays with – some shifts the guy looks like mcdavid, sadly the majority of them he is dogging it

    • Anonymous says:

      Not an outlandish summary of #92

    • Anonymous says:

      I have listened to his interview in Russian. The guy had back problems all season long. Get the facts before rushing to judge. And try to skate with a bad back for few minutes. Kuznetsov called people like you a “couch warrior”. That was funny.

      • Anonymous says:

        Kuzy has always been 50%. Just listen to his draft day profile from 2010. It fits him to a tee today.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        As I noted below, a good percentage of any interview is public posturing (MacLellan too) Saying what needs to be said to best meet your needs, regardless of truth or not. It’s really too difficult to decipher facts from PR posturing (again, MacLellan or any player, manager, owner, etc., does the same thing). The ultimate truth will be eventually revealed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Kuzy was with Caps the entire season.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Kuzy scores Gretzky pouts…..

  4. Scottlew73 says:

    Gretzky is 100% right,old rule on the books you had to make continuous “forward” progress in penalty shot or play/shot was blown dead in game continued. Now 80% of shooters in penalty shots or shoot out look like thier auditioning for Ice Capades, thier going from one side of ice to other doing multiple speed changes, & it’s becoming a flat out joke would rather see 10 minute overtime & every 2 minutes 1 player per side taken off,so last two minutes just 1 forward & goalie per team on ice would find out who real “all-round “ talented forwards were!
    Teams in last minutes of game play are just “hanging on” to get to overtime & once thier if neither team scores in first couple minutes they just play “keep away “ until they get to shootout! It’s not entertaining to watch!

    • hockeydruid says:

      Honestly I find the shootout and way that the overtime is handled in the NHL today silly. Why play 60 minutes of brutal hockey to settle on a winner with a 1 on 1 shootout! Either accept that you have a tie after 60 minutes and call it quits or play until you have a winner and do away with the shootout and getting 1 point because you went onto OT. And if you go with winner take all like other sports you can do away with the silly 2 points or 1 point crud. Maybe the NHL should start giving Participation trophies to all the teams that do not make the playoffs or win the Cup because isn’t that what the 1 point it? And honestly what did you do to deserve to get that one point tie another team in requaltion…..WOW that is a really big achievement. One last thing if the goals in the shootout count for nothing then why even have it? .

    • novafyre says:

      All players today are making continuous forward progress. Rule does not say it has to be in a straight line nor a set speed. They get to the goal differently but all do it in a continuous forward motion.

  5. hockeydruid says:

    Kuzy has found a style, within the rules, that works for him. Gretzky does not like it, well tell him to go look at some of the tapes of his skating and then just sit there and be quiet. Goalies will eventually catch up and Kuzy will have to change his approach. As goals during the shootout don’t count towards season stats for the players why worry as it is entertainment. Unless the player stops or skates backwards why does anyone even care as it is a show or a special trick like the All Star Game.

    • novafyre says:

      I like it. It adds another dimension to it. I’m actually surprised more aren’t copying it. He’s not breaking any rules.

  6. andrew777dc says:

    Heard Kuzy also made some pretty extensive comments about rumors that he has requested a trade from the Caps. Started out sorta trying to disprove the rumors, but then went on to say actually it looks like he may be sent away, whether he likes it or not, business is business. TBC, obviously.

  7. Prevent Defense says:

    This one is easy.
    In the entire history of American-based Professional Sports, no more odious, infantile and downright evil “new rule” has ever been inflicted than the baseball “Pitch Clock.” Pitch Clock simply destroys 150 years of excellent American tradition, where the National Pastime could be ENJOYED with zero external interference to managers and players and fans. The new “hurry up” garbage turns our beloved game into a TV-based Video Game. The upcoming “Automatic Ball Strike” insanity will sterilize Baseball’s allure forever.

    Mr. Gretzky, the Great One, purports to to saddle Ice Hockey with a hideous new version of the Pitch Clock. “Shootout” is dubious already, and Caps’ Hockey Guru Mike Vogel refers to it as “The Skills Competition.” Millions agree with him. Adding “Lockdown-style” restrictions to the Shootout will be right up there with endless “Coaching Challenges”, the “Offsides Review” and “You’ve got eight seconds to get from the dugout to the Batter’s Box.”
    Wayne G. has been in the broadcast booth too long and needs to retreat to the golf course

    • Anonymous says:

      Uh, actually I like the pitch clock. Baseball games were moving slower and slower with constant pitcher and batter delays, excessive meaningless throws to first, and other endless machinations. I have read that fans, like myself, prefer the faster-paced game way more. There have been pitchers who made slow-play an art form and I’m glad it’s no longer going on (I used to be able to nap between pitches from Diego Segui).

      • Prevent Defense says:

        Hello Anon, your argument is correct about the pace of games. But the way to speed up is through UMPIRES. Those of us who watched MLB games in the 1960s, umpires (Emmett Ashford for one) regularly punished excessively slow pitchers or hitters – not by an auto strike or ball, but by warnings and occasional ejections. There’s just no need for electronic intervention. Umpires can regulate games without draconian pitch clock “violations.” But now things called “procurement” and “contracts” and “dollars” bring favored “vendors” into the game. Give me real umpires any day

        Do we need to nit-pick the Shootout? The bloody penalty shot, even with the Kuzy approach, lasts less than fifteen seconds. And there are no restrictions on penalty shots, going slow and what not. Why should it be different in the “Skills Competition?”

        • Anonymous says:

          A pitch clock is “electronic intervention”? You make it sound like it’s calling balls and strikes. There’s still umpires there; the clock is only getting rid of the unnecessary waste of time during the game. Baseball is the only one of the major sports that DOESN”T have a clock ruling the outcome of the game. Thus, prior to the clock, it’s pace was determined solely by the actions of the players and umpires. And that was clearly abused as the game evolved. Games got slower and slower. I, for one, will not miss the 3-4 hr marathons. As for umpires’ discretion on the pace of the games, that was a myth. No umpire ever dared to warn a slow pitcher like Juan Marichal to speed up. Or the same to a batter like Tony Oliva, who would literally spend every at bat digging a hole in the batter’s box. And the umpires wouldn’t enforce it anyway even if they warned them.

  8. novafyre says:

    I would like to see no offsides in overtime. I think it would open up the shootout.

    But my real preference would be 3 points to the winner in regulation, 2 points to the winner in OT, 1 point to the winner in the shootout, and no points at all for the loser. You want points? Win sooner.

    • hockeydruid says:

      I love this idea, if only it went from your fingers to the NHL and owners and was voted upon and installed!! Here is an idea how to totally eliminate the shootout and force teams to play aggressively in the OT period. Just like in wrestling you get a penalty for passive wrestling they can do the same in OT. The penalty could be several things: 1) a penalty shot however the period is still played for the full 5 minutes; or 2) the HC of the non offending team gets to make a choice would he like the other team to play down a man (that is go with 2 skaters) or would he rather play a man up (that is 4 on 3). This way there never is a need for the shootout which as the goals scored count for nothing are totally useless other than viewing pleasure.

  9. redLitYogi says:

    Kuznetsov says “at least something will be remembered in the NHL,” meaning something about Kuznetsov specifically. He’s selling himself short, a bit: he invented the reverse pass (what Laughlin called the “twister”) from behind the net and that has become part of the hockey dna now. Of course, no one calls it the Kuznetsov or the Koozy or whatever, but it’s his move. Kuznetsov won’t be remembered personally for inventing it, but the move itself is here to stay.

  10. redLitYogi says:

    So let’s suppose there’s an 8 second shot clock. Kuznetsov darts down toward the circles and gets there in one second, two seconds tops. He’d put on the brakes and then do what he does now. The thing is that on ALL of those goals he goes blocker side. You would think the goalies would cheat a little to that side and ignore all the stickhandling.

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