The Kuznetsov Concern Was Real

All through the playoffs fans and the media covering the Washington Capitals expressed concerns about Evgeny Kuznetsov’s performance. By the time the Caps exited the playoffs it was clear that they were right to be concerned.

Maybe if they made it to the second round the Caps would have seen a resurgence in his performance. In game seven he finally got a goal. Sure he had five assists in the series but that isn’t why the Capitals signed him to a rather hearty contract last summer.

In the exit interviews on Friday, he acknowledged that his play was inconsistent. He didn’t want to talk about next season- he had some spicy comments about that!

Even the man who makes the real decisions about the team, GM Brian MacLellen basically said that beyond the top line, the team lacked the desperation they had last season. The GM was clearly aggravated that some of the best players didn’t show up and play at their highest level in the playoffs. Specifically, when asked about Kuznetsov he said that he was frustrated by the performance of a potential top ten player and his lack of consistency. It is going to take a special touch to motivate a strong-willed player like Kuznetsov. It isn’t clear if Todd Reirden is the one to do that.

It will be interesting to see how he performs when he is back on Russia’s team in the IIHF Worlds and if we see the old Kuzy show up. For now, he isn’t going anywhere unless he wants to move. Given that he just bought a couple pieces of property in McLean, Virginia it is doubtful he wants to be anywhere else but on the Capitals roster.

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