Evgeny Kuznetsov brought a notable amount of dangles and personality to the NHL’s 2022 All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. But it’s a photo the Russian center took with a fan during the All-Star Skills Competition that is going viral for just how pure it is.
The video, initially posted by Bardown and reposted by ESPN, shows a Capitals fan trying to get a selfie. Then Kuznetsov appears and takes it with her. She hits the boards in excitement when she sees the photo on her phone.
“This Caps fan had no idea Kuznetsov was in her selfie,” the video states. “Until she turned around and realized he was in the photo. Kuzy was a complete beauty about the entire thing. And it’s safe to say the fan and her friends were pretty fired up!”
.@Kuzya92 made this fan's day 🥺
— ESPN (@espn) February 5, 2022
The fan was Maryland native Devan Sachs who was at All-Star Weekend with her two siblings, Rylan and Aidan, and her parents, Jeff and Cathy. Rylan explained that the captions on the video weren’t totally true.
“We were banging on the glass during warmups when we saw Kuzy coming our way,” Rylan said. “My brother Aidan had his Kuznetsov jersey on and turned around to show him. We were filming and waving at him and banging on the glass. He was just smiling at us. Then Kuzy made a motion to take a selfie with him.”
“I still can’t believe it really happened,” Devan said. “I was thrilled with joy when he came over and see him smile at me. I can still vividly remember him talking to me and asking for a picture. I will always remember this forever and I’m so thankful that he went out of his way during warmups to show some love to a fan.”
Kuznetsov then skated over and took a photo with Aidan who was rocking his red number 92.
The Capitals center noticed the family again on Saturday at the All-Star Game and took a group shot.
“I’m not sure who was happier to be in the picture Kuzy or us,” Rylan said. “It was truly incredible and made my entire trip.”
“We as a family have been to many Caps games over the years and this was our first time experiencing a Capitals player acknowledging us,” Devan added.
Shortly after the All-Star Game, ESPN reposted the video of Devan.
“I am getting so many messages from my friends!” Devan said. “They are super excited for me!”
“It’s crazy to think that we have that moment forever in film,” Rylan said. “We have been looking forward to this event since we found out it was in Vegas. Seeing Kuzy and Wilson made our weekend and to not only have the selfie but also the video of us taking it and now having it go viral just capped off the perfect weekend. My sister has been getting so messages – with tons of her friends reposting the video on their stories.”
The Sachs family was at All-Star Weekend because Rylan is an NHL Powerplayer, meaning she’s a youth advisor to the league. The NHL gave the family tickets to Fan Fair, the All-Star Skills Competition, the All-Star Game, and the After Block Party. Rylan, a hockey and lacrosse player who attends Notre Dame Prep, was named to the board in December 2020. She first applied after seeing an announcement of the group on the NHL’s TikTok page.
“The NHL started the board about three years ago to help get advice on how to spread the love of hockey to the next generation of fans,” Rylan said. “I’ve been on the board for two years now. Every season the players on the board typically get one flagpole event to get tickets to and experience as a VIP/guest of the NHL. Last year, they didn’t host any events so we weren’t able to attend but this year each Powerplayer had the option to go to the Winter Classic, All-Star Game, and the Stadium Series.”
There are five Caps fans on the board, the most of any team. (View all of the board members.) 15,000 people applied to the board in its first year.
Rylan suggested to the NHL that they bring out two popular Generation Z TikTokers, @annaxsitar and @bruontheradio, to the All-Star Game to get more younger kids interested in the sport. The league followed through on her suggestion.
As for Kuznetsov, the Capitals Stanley Cup champion forward had a blast all weekend long no matter if it was cracking jokes, helping Kirill Kaprizov with an Alex Ovechkin tribute during the Breakaway Challenge or make his teammate feel better about all the boos he was receiving.
Kuznetsov was great with fans all weekend, tossing pucks over the boards and being generous with his time. During a trip to a convenience store, Kuzy encountered another Capitals fan and took a selfie with her as well.
“I went by the hotel the players were staying at and I didn’t see them walking out, but I heard Russian and walked up the strip and into a CVS,” Jillian, the person who took the selfie, said. “I thought it was an awesome experience – although Kaprizov did photobomb a bit.”
Kuznetsov will now bring his good vibes back to Washington where he says he will hang out with his family and regroup for the second half of the season. And also with a slightly heavier wallet. After becoming All-Star Game tournament champs with the Metropolitan Division All-Stars, Kuzy received $91,000 as part of the Metro’s $1 million bonus for winning it all.
Headline photo: @devan.sachs43
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