Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t outright say it, but it’s fair to assume from his responses that the star center contracted COVID-19 while away from the team for the last 19 days.
After his first practice in three weeks, Kuznetsov said to the media afterward that “I’m just happy I’m alive today.”
“Now I understand people who have symptoms,” Kuznetsov said before surmising that “it’s not easy days.”
When asked if he was ever scared for his life, Kuzy joked (or maybe he was being serious): “No. I’m from Russia. There is not a lot that can scare me.”
How are you feeling?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I’m feeling better every day. It’s nice to be back on the ice with the boys. It’s been a long time without skating. I’ve been missing it a little bit.
Can you play Tuesday night against the Flyers?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I don’t know. It’s day-to-day. It’s all about how I feel tomorrow. I’m just happy I’m alive today. To be able to practice with the team is a big step for me.
What was the biggest challenge returning today?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I think it’s tough to lose the hands for a couple weeks. It’s just conditioning probably. To be able to breathe nice on the ice. As soon as you lost the wind, it’s not easy to get back right away.
Are you surprised with everything that happened with the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: No. That’s the life, right? When we entered the season we expected it to happen. We’ve been ready for some type of situation to happen like that. I’m not saying I was surprised but it’s just life. You have to go through some situations like that.
At your worst, how did you feel?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: It’s definitely not fun. It’s not easy days. Now I understand people who have symptoms. It’s just tough days. I’m feeling good now. My heart is good. Everything is good so I can practice hard.
What was the hardest part of the last two weeks quarantining?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Just be by myself and not be able to talk to anybody in person. I’m a very social person and I need to see people, I need to talk to people, live with people. So that was the biggest challenge for me.
Were you scared at all?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: No. I’m from Russia. There is not a lot that can scare me.
Did you do anything conditioning-wise at your home?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I could do absolutely nothing. Yesterday was the first day I did something.
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