Photo: Patrick Smith
Humble af Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke with SovSport’s Natalia Bragilevskaya after the Capitals closed out their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday. He addressed a topic likely to dominate media conversations over the next week: the Caps’ past playoff failures. Many of those disappointments have come against the Pittsburgh Penguins, whom the Caps will face in the second round.
Kuznetsov wanted to get ahead of that talk now.
“You mention the previous century – but of those people, who is still playing?” Kuznetsov asks. “That’s history, nobody cares about it.”
“The guys in Pittsburgh are the same people – two legs, two arms, one head,” Kuznetsov added.
Igor Kleyner has your translation.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: It was a hard series. Nobody expected that it would be easy against Philadelphia. Although when it was 3-1, we should have taken our home game. It didn’t work out, we could not score. The sixth game was also difficult. But I think we dominated on ice for the whole 120 minutes.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: If you count together with the fifth game.
Did Washington came up short, or was it Philadelphia putting up a better fight?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: The first round is never easy. Nobody makes the playoffs by accident here. The Flyers are a good and tough team. They play well, so no one was expecting a walk in the park.
How did you feel when the final horn went off?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: You always feel relieved when a series ends well. It’s nice that you get to play more, and not to go on vacation. The fatigue disappears right away.
How exhausted is the team? They say nobody is healthy in the playoffs.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Everybody is in same situation. We trained for a long season. I would say that we are ready physically.
Washington hasn’t been past the second round of Stanley Cup in this century. Is that a psychological problem?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Nobody is thinking about that at all. We focus on the game. In the second series we will also operate on a game by game principle. You mention the previous century – but of those people, who is still playing? That’s history, nobody cares about it.
Malkin, Crosby -they are your opponents in the next series. Quite a bit more serious than the Flyers. How do you stop them?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: That’s what the coaches are for, they will show us everything and spell out how to play. The guys in Pittsburgh are the same people – two legs, two arms, one head.
And a superstar status.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: And you think our team doesn’t have superstars? Backstrom, Ovechkin, Holtby. We are not any worse.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Cut it out. It will be an interesting series. And it won’t be easy for anybody.
Aren’t you sorry to miss the Worlds in Moscow?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: No, this time I am not sorry [laughing]. Of course it’s always nice to play at home. But this year is special for Washington.
The Stanley Cup is on the horizon.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: We are not thinking about that yet. But it is great to be in the playoffs. We fought the whole season so that the most interesting time would begin now for our team.
It’s like a new season starting for Washington.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Starting with the first round. The only difference is – the price of a mistake has gone up by a lot.
Was it difficult for you to get used to 82 games in the regular season plus the playoffs after the KHL?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: It’s a difficult question. I cannot answer it yet. I’ll think about it after the season ends. But for now, I do not feel tired. How can you be tired when you are winning?
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