Evgeny Kuznetsov Poised For Bounce-Back Season: “I’m Gonna Try To Help The Team To Be Successful”

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov knows he needs to be better heading into the 2023-24 season. He is frustrated with himself and the organization is frustrated with him. 

It was confirmed back in July that the 31-year-old requested a trade out of D.C. However one did not materialize and it seems he is staying put for now, so the Caps need him playing at his best. 

“We need him, you know, he’s a good player, and we need him to be competitive and our team to be competitive and him playing at his top level,” president of hockey operations and general manager Brian MacLellan said. 

After coming off a nearly point per game season in 2021-22, with 78 points (24 goals, 54 assists) in 79 games, Kuznetsov’s production dipped the following season, only racking up 55 points (12 goals, 43 assists) in 81 games. 

“I’m not a guy that’s gonna get a big paycheck and be happy every day. Every time I come back home after a bad practice or bad game I’m beating myself,” Kuznetsov said. “I’m not happy about it. Every time I’m walking in the locker room every morning knowing that I’m not performing the way the guys expect, I’m feeling bad about it.”

The 31-year-old middleman was also dealing with a lower-body injury towards the end of the year, but still played through it. He wouldn’t comment on the severity of the injury, but it was clear that it was still bugging him. The Russian countrymen struggled in the skate test and when he came to speak with the media, he walked with a noticeable limp. 

“I’m sure he’s going to prove himself from last year because he was hurt as well,” Alex Ovechkin said. “When you hurt and when you can’t play 100%, it’s tough.”

A big storyline for Kuznetsov’s potential revenge tour will be how he meshes with Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery. Based on initial conversations between the two, it appears the style of play that the new bench boss will bring will be a good fit. 

“He’s a great person and I feel like the way he sees hockey is a perfect match for me and a perfect match for a lot of guys inside the team,” Kuznetsov said. “He wants to keep the puck in the middle, he wants to control the game and he wants to hold onto the puck. I’m a big fan of that.”

Despite all the noise surrounding him over the summer, Kuzy was still in good spirits at the podium. 

“I’m actually in a good spot mentally. I’m taking one day at a time and I’m here today. I’m gonna leave everything I have. And I’m gonna try to help the team to be successful,” Kuznetsov said. “I just want to make sure that every night I’m there with my teammates. Every night I’m good for them and I’m creating some offense right there and it wasn’t there last year.”

By Jacob Cheris


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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6 Responses to Evgeny Kuznetsov Poised For Bounce-Back Season: “I’m Gonna Try To Help The Team To Be Successful”

  1. Rich427 says:

    He can be an important piece if he is healthy and has his head on straight. Let’s hope Carbs can turn him around.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He’s hurt already from last year’s injury? Not a good sign.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Go get em Kuzy some of us know HCPL was the issue not you. Every team in the league will see what happens when Spencer lets the Kuz off his leash now. Be jelly, be very jelly!

  4. Anonymous says:

    A sling and limp… not good

  5. Anonymous says:

    Based on Kuzy’s statements in interviews I’ve seen from other sources, I’m concerned that he’s still somewhat disgruntled.

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