Four years after being let go by the Capitals, Stan Galiev is one of the top scorers for Ak Bars Kazan, a team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. And Thursday, Stan had a very special guest in attendence.
Former Capitals teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was drafted by Washington the same year as Galiev, was one of 3,157 spectators at Tatneft Arena for Ak Bars’ 7-5 win over Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.
Galiev scored an even-strength goal from the slot in the second period to give Ak Bars a 3-1 lead. Kuznetsov, who was sitting in a suite, was caught on TV going wild and cheering his close friend.
Galiev sarcastically commented on the video of his goal, which admittedly, was a squeaker.
I reached out to Galiev afterward who explained why Kuzy was in attendence.
“The Kuznetsovs came to Kazan to participate in a baptism for my son,” Galiev said. “Nastya Kuznetsova is his god mom.
“I miss Kuzy a lot and it was special for me to see him at my game. And I also said beforehand I’m gonna score at this game and do a bird celebration!” he aadded laughing.
The goal was Galiev’s ninth of the season. The Capitals’ 2010 third-round pick is second on the team in goals.
Last week, Championat published an interview with Galiev and the winger expounded upon his time in Washington and the friendships he still has there.
“I am grateful that I was given a chance and I felt this atmosphere, met such legendary players,” Galiev said. “I constantly communicate with Dima and Zhenya… Our relationship (with the Kuznetsovs) is very close, we are constantly on the phone with them.”
He added, “To be honest, I follow every Capitals game, I watch every game’s highlights. I worry about the guys. There are a lot of friends left there.”
Meanwhile, Kuznetsov took photos with fans that recognized him at the game.
Screenshots courtesy of Ak Bars
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