Photo: Geoff Burke
Thursday night against the New York Islanders, one Russian player sent a pass to another Russian player, who scored. This time it was Evgeny Kuznetsov to Alex Ovechkin for the latter’s 36th goal of the season. It was only the latest example of Kuznetsov’s fearsome weapon: the behind-the-back assist (or the Kuzy pass from the Kuzy spot).
After the Capitals’ morning skate on Saturday, coach Barry Trotz addressed Kuzy’s assist to Ovi, and had only good things to say.
“I couldn’t pull it off. I’d break my back. Kuzy does it with such ease,” Trotz said. “A lot of guys can make that play, but a lot of times he makes it when he’s on the other side of the post. He’s already there. Once he comes halfway, as Mitch will tell you, you have to respect that the guy’s going to wrap it [around].”
This move has become the signature of Kuznetsov’s game. Caps fans have grown used to the play but are nonetheless impressed when they see Kuzy’s behind-the-net pass to a teammate’s awaiting stick.
“Kuzy’s done it a few times this year, but he’s also faked and gone the other way. You have to respect it. It’s all deception. That’s what makes him great,” Trotz compliments. “What amazes me is that Kuzy does it a lot of times when he’s already at the other post and he puts a saucer pass across the net to someone who’s right there. You gotta respect both.”
“He sees the game in slow motion when he’s making offensive plays,” Troz says. “There’s not a lot of guys that can do that on a regular basis and sell it the way he does. He doesn’t do it all the time, which is the great thing. It’s something you gotta respect, but it’s not something that’s going to happen all the time. That’s what makes it so dangerous.”
Let’s take a look at a few other nasty examples of this pass, which Joe Beninati calls the twister.
Let's call Kuznetsov's spin move the "twister". Reverse wraparound is descriptive, but clunky. #capitalstalk
— Joe Beninati (@JoeBpXp) February 22, 2016
April 8, 2015 vs. Boston Bruins
October 17 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
November 12 @ Philadelphia Flyers
Transcription by Chris Gordon.
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