Evgeny Kuznetzov Fires a Shot at His Former Head Coach

Published September 24, 2023 at 0:10

The Washington Capitals have been trying to add another Stanley Cup to their trophy case since winning in 2018. After a disappointing season in 2022-23, head coach Peter Laviolette was fired. Now one of the Capitals core players commented on Laviolette's tenure as head coach.

Kuznetsov Fires A Shot At His Former Coach

In a new interview done with a Russian publication called Slippery Ice Evgeny Kuznetsov talked about his former head coach Peter Laviolette. His comments were pretty harsh and eye-opening.

There were many moments there (in the meeting),» Kuznetsov said during the interview and as translated by Google Translate. «I say, ‘You brought a coach who almost didn't fit the style, we had to rebuild.' Such moments as it were. ‘You paid me this money for something, right?' I say, ‘For what I did well.' And now [he] arrived, they tell me: ‘Listen, you don't need to do this – throw the puck into the zone, run, and [screen] the goalie.'

Kuznetsov began by talking about the style that was played under Laviolette. A dump and chase forecheck heavy style. He also eludes to the idea that this style was not a good one for the personnel that the Capitals have.

«This is where everything went wrong in general, because we should each have our own role, everyone should fulfill their role, and everyone will be in demand from this role,» he said. «And when you carry a piano, and then they say to you: ‘No, no, let's play the piano today.' And the person has never played the piano, and they say to him: ‘Come on, play!'»

He continues to drive home the idea that players were used in roles not suited to them by comparing players to someone playing an instrument. This analogy is a good one for people who do not understand the importance of playing a player in their correct role. Kuznetsov then continued on and talked about what the ideal Capitals system might look like.

«It's my personal opinion,» Kuznetsov said. «It's clear that maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's wrongI don't know We had such central players: Backy, me, Strome, and Dowd. Lars Eller also. I think that with such central players it was possible, in principle, to come up with something: somehow more in the middle, try to hold the puck. But with us, everything is simple: to the red zone – and off we go (to forecheck).»

Kuznetsov was hoping for a more offensive style. One that prioritized attacking the middle and holding the puck to make plays. Under new head coach Spencer Carbery Kuznetsov might get his wish.

Kuznetsov Looking Forward To A New Era Of Capitals Hockey

In a different interview, Kuznetsov talked about his new head coach Spencer Carbery. It seems that Carbery is much more similar to the style that Kuznetsov is hoping for than Laviolette was.

«He called (twice) on the phone,» Kuznetsov said. «He himself played in the East Coast (ECHL). Then [Carbery] coached there, then farm [Hershey] – and won the AHL (regular season championship) with them. He went through our entire system. Here he is just the person who probably has the same thinking as all the central [leaders].»

Carbery is on the same page with all of the core players according to Kuznetsov. The style is back to what the players are comfortable in. Kuzy also compliments Carbery for the success he has been able to have at every stop in his career.

Finally, Kuznetsov gave an inside look into what the Carbery-led Capitals might look like in 2023-24.

«You go 2-on-1 – well, how can it be,» Kuznetsov said. «Well, you have to at least look at the pass, right? And they tell you: ‘Throw it at the blade and your partner will finish it off.' I can go to the [championship] region here, shoot, and live without any stress.»

If everything that Kuznetsov is saying is true we could be in for a major comeback for the Washington Capitals. Kuznetsov will need to be one of the biggest improvements after a couple of disappointing seasons in a row. If Carbery can get this group back on track another championship and a new all-time goals leader could be in the Capitals' future.

September 23   |   41 answers
Evgeny Kuznetzov Fires a Shot at His Former Head Coach

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