Capitals rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov on KHL vs. NHL: ‘Here is best’

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If the Capitals wind up making the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, Evgeny Kuznetsov will be a big reason why.

The 21-year-old rookie from Chelyabinsk, Russia already has scored a pair of shootout goals and has assisted on five others. And on Tuesday night his first NHL goal with 41.5 seconds remaining in regulation night gave the Capitals a crucial point and helped move them into a four-way tie for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots.   

“It’s important for us, it’s important for him,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who reached into the Kings net to retrieve the puck for Kuznetsov, who was busy celebrating with his other teammates in the near corner. “It’s a good memory he’ll have his whole life.”

Earlier on Tuesday Kuznetsov sat down with CSNWashington.com for a casual talk about how he’s adapted since arriving in Washington on March 8.

CSN: What are some of the differences you’re seeing between the KHL [Kontinental Hockey League] and the NHL?

Kuznetsov: Different rink. It’s  a pretty easy [simple] game here. More dumps, more forechecking. It’s a physical game. There are a lot of games, good practices. In KHL we have more time between games. More practice. I don’t say it’s bad. For me, it’s good. For older guys, I don’t know how it is for them.

CSN: With the increased physical play, how are you feeling at the end of games?

Kuznetsov: Every game is different. If you win you have more emotion. If you lose it’s like bad tired.

CSN: How do you like living here so far?

Kuznetsov: I like it all. Life, the hockey, the atmosphere, the guys, people. Everything is good.

CSN: How are things different here in the way you are treated?

Kuznetsov: Nice planes, nice dinners. If you want dinner at hotel, you go to restaurant. Russia is like that, too. In KHL life is good, too. But here is best.

CSN: What do you miss about Russia?

Kuznetsov: I miss my parents, my wife, my doggie. But I’m here playing hockey and it’s good for me. I don’t have time to miss.

CSN: Will your family be joining you?

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