Photo: Frederick Breedon
Last night, as I wrote about Alex Ovechkin fulfilling the birthday wish of a five-year-old at practice, I noticed something in the bottom left corner of Chuck Gormley’s photo. (My crazy art school eagle eyes see all the pixels.) It was a glove, and that glove had a special inscription.
I fired up the RMNB Enhancing Machine.
Turns out it’s Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s glove and it is stitched with the name KUZY. Take a look.
Here’s a different image.
Photo: Sergei Belski
This was interesting to me for a few reasons.
First, Kuznetsov has never gone by this nickname before. In Russia he was called Kuzya or Zhenya (the typical Russian nicknames for Kuznetsov and Evgeny respectively). Ovechkin, with whom Kuznetsov spends much of his time, refers to him lovingly as Kuzma (which Fedor Fedin tells me is a totally different Russian name). But it’s the Americanized nickname Kuznetsov’s received from his teammates and North American coach which he had sewn on his gloves.
Let’s go a bit deeper.
Since coming to America late last year, Kuznetsov has been on a journey to find the right fit and design for his gloves.
In his debut on March 10th against the Penguins, Kuznetsov wore Nicklas Backstrom’s gloves.
When you zoom in you can see Backstrom’s nickname NICKE stitched on the mitts. Kuznetsov wore this pair for the rest of the 2013-14 season before experimenting in the 2014-15 season.
In the beginning of the 2014-15 preseason, Kuznetsov wore normal gloves that had CAPITALS stitched on.
Photo: Amanda Bowen
Later in the preseason, Kuznetsov again wore a pair of Nicklas Backstrom’s gloves. Which he autographed for himself.
Photo: Bruce Bennett
Really. He signed his own gloves and wore them in a game. For real.
At the beginning of the regular season, Kuznetsov switched to his current KUZY stitched gloves, but there’s more.
Those signed gloves that Kuznetsov wore during the preseason? They showed up on Mike Green during a December 18th regular-season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
— Jared Spears (@jspears8) December 19, 2014
Yeah, I’m gonna zoom in here and rotate the photo.
And now, to go full circle, Kuznetsov wore Green’s helmet during a game against the Flyers on January 8th.
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