Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov will play in his first All-Star Game Sunday because his friend and mentor, Alex Ovechkin, opted out of the game Thursday night due to a lower-body injury. So what did Kuznetsov do to show his appreciation? During his second attempt in the All-Star Breakaway Challenge, Kuzy emulated Ovechkin’s magical moment with Evgeni Malkin at the 2009 All-Star Skills Competition in Montreal – with a few twists.
First, here’s what Ovechkin did in 2009.
As you can see, Malkin provided him with a hat adored with a Canadian flag, spiffy Elvis-style sunglasses and an inspirational squirt of Gatorade. Like we predicted earlier today, Ovie skated down the ice with two sticks, juggling the puck before dumping one and taking the shot. The Junior B goalie, who had been way too mobile and active on other attempts, let it glide on the rebound by for a classic moment.
Kuznetsov’s attempt was different– he ultimately didn’t score –but it was still amazing. First, country music star Dierks Bentley skated a guitar out to Pekka Rinne and took the goaltender’s stick.
Kuzy then put on some country shades and a cowboy hat which read “I’ve Been Honky Tonkin’ On Broadway”.
The glasses Kuznetsov wore during the breakaway competition: pic.twitter.com/064EnqaJPb
— Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) January 31, 2016
Teammate Nicklas Backstrom poured some Pepsi into Kuzy’s mouth to fuel up. The Russian then skated out to center ice.
— Sophia Jurksztowicz (@SophiaSNET) January 31, 2016
As he approached Rinne, who could only defend the attempt with his guitar, the left-handed Kuznetsov stick-handled with a right-handed stick.
His shot ended up missing, but who cares. What a clever and thoughtful idea!
PK Subban ended up winning the event after stealing Jaromir Jagr’s jersey, putting on a mullet, and scoring sarcastically like the future Hall Of Famer.
— Kelly O'Conor 💁🏼 (@koconor) January 31, 2016
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 31, 2016
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