Evgeny Kuznestov was the runner-up for the 2018 Conn Smythe trophy and has seven points in the first four games of the season. Yet many–including his teammates and opponents–think that he is underrated.
TJ Oshie, who says he doesn’t like watching hockey, enjoys watching Kuznetsov play. “[W]hen I see Kuzy going, it’s one of the only times I enjoy.”
Oshie thinks that Kuznetsov is “up there with the top five players in the league, and I don’t know, he just doesn’t get the recognition for some reason.”
Kuznestov is getting some recognition from Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews. During a pregame interview, Matthews was asked about Kuznetsov.
Matthews agreed that Kuznestov is one of is one of the best centers in the league. “He’s one of my favorite players to actually watch,” Matthews said. “I just think he’s, the stuff that he can do with the puck, you know, not a lot of guys can do. He’s just a fun player to watch. He’s not afraid to get creative. And in my mind, very underrated.”
In a follow-up question, Matthews was asked whether he was feeling more comfortable these days in off-ice activities like photo shoots. The 21 year old recently did a spread for GQ magazine and Sharp magazine.
“Just being more comfortable,” Matthews said. “I think at some point, you’ve got to just do what makes you happy. Put yourself out there, have fun and not really care what other people think.”
That attitude is very in-line with Kuznetsov’s. When Kuznetsov was told that teammate TJ Oshie called him one of the top five players in the league, and underrated by many, he said he didn’t give a sh*t about it.
Kuznestov–like Matthews–understands the importance of fun. “It’s just about have fun every night you go out there,” Kuzy said. “If you don’t have fun and you don’t want to enjoy, you don’t want to play hockey, you should be retired.”
Matthews, per TSN’s Mark Masters, had this to say in response to Kuzy’s quote about having fun. “Yeah, I read that actually. I loved it. A lot of us sometimes, especially us young guys, stray away from having fun. I mean, that’s why we played the game as long as we have & why the NHL was a goal … because of how much fun we were having on the ice.”
That leaves us with only one question going into tonight’s game:
Does that mean we'll see competing Matthews and Kuzy cellys tonight? 😄
— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) October 13, 2018
Headline photo: NHL
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