A few weeks ago, RMNB’s Chris Gordon asked Evgeny Kuznetsov about his finger twirl celebration.
“That’s not for you, you know,” Kuznetsov said to Gordon when asked what the inspiration of the celebration was. “You don’t have to know that.”
Kuznetsov said it was a secret, but recently RMNB reader Chris S. (@theSTOEHR) found something that could give us context.
While surfing through a 2008 Washington Capitals highlights video, Chris S. noticed that Alex Semin did the exact same celebration after a goal.
The Semin finger twirl happens around the 1:43 mark.
Let’s do a split screen!
Now I know it’s a long shot, but there is reason to think it’s a possible homage.
While Kuznetsov and Semin were Capitals at different times, they both did spend time together in Chelyabinsk during their teenage years. From Wikipedia:
Semin was trained in the Traktor Chelyabinsk hockey school and made his professional debut in Russia’s second-tier Russian Major League in 2001–02. After scoring 13 goals and eight assists with Chelyabinsk that season, the Washington Capitals selected Semin with their second pick, 13th overall (they selected Steve Eminger with their first pick, 12th overall), in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Couple guys who were older than me, they live in an apartment above our hockey school. One guy was Alex Semin. When I see him play for the first time, his skill was unbelievable. I’m like, Wow, I got to learn from this guy. So I started hanging out with him all the time, because we both obsessed with hockey.
The big problem was the rink was closed at night. We still want to skate. But I came up with a plan with Semin.
We would save some money and go buy some Coca-Cola and take it to the security guard as a little gift, and he would open the gate for us. So we got to skate all alone. It was unbelievable. This was important time.
Evgeny Kuznetsov recently wrote an article for an American media outlet. There is a bit about you — how you went to the rink together.
Alex Semin: Yes, it’s true, when we were little. I lived in the arena. He would come by, and we always played in the evening. There were a lot of us doing that.
Did you really bribe the security guard with soft drinks to get on the ice?
Alex Semin: With all kinds of stuff. We needed to skate. So we were doing all kinds of tricks to get on the ice.
They say Kuznetsov would literally never leave the ice…
Alex Semin: That is true. You can see it in his game in the NHL now. I never doubted him. I am very glad he found himself in the NHL and became one of the best players in the world. Even when he was a kid, you could see he’d end up playing at the highest level.
Kuznetsov and Semin have also played together on Russia’s national team, winning a gold medal together in 2012.
Let’s go further: why would Kuznetsov not want to divulge the secret of his celly? Potentially because he’s aware Semin remains a polarizing figure in Caps culture.
Personally, I still believe this is Kuznetsov telling his foes that it’s not his first rodeo. But if Alex Semin is the source, how cool would that be?
What do you guys think?
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