ARLINGTON, VA — Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov hit the ice with his teammates for the first day of Training Camp, but did not look like himself as he conducted his first press conference of the season.
Kuznetsov admitted to reporters Thursday that he was dealing with an injury after favoring one leg during his speed test and limping to the podium.
Kuznetsov further indicated that he played through an injury last season, though declined to offer specifics.
“I’m just faking it,” he joked about his limp. “Yeah, no, it’s all good. I’ll be fine. It’s a process right, a little bit. And I’m pretty sure that there is a lot of small things that bugs people during the summer. So it’s something that I’ll probably fix in the future, in a couple of days probably.”
Several Capitals also mentioned that Kuznetsov was not fully healthy last season.
General manager Brian MacLellan briefly alluded to an earlier injury when speaking about Kuznetsov earlier in the day, saying, “He’s had some health issues, too. I give him a break on that.”
Ovechkin, too, told reporters that Kuznetsov hadn’t been healthy over the last year and suggested it may have led to a decline in play.
“I’m sure he’s going to prove himself from last year because he was hurt as well,” he said. “When you hurt, when you can’t play 100 percent, it’s tough.”
Kuznetsov struggled mightily in 2022-23, putting up 55 points (12g, 43a) for his worst-scoring campaign since his sophomore year. When asked directly, Kuznetsov acquiesced that he’d dealt with injuries over the campaign but did not elaborate, including on whether his current limp was connected.
“A little bit, but nothing that probably I’m going to talk about publicly,” he said. “But there are a lot of guys playing hurt a little bit.”
Though Kuznetsov left multiple games with upper-body injuries last season, his only absence was a one-game suspension for high-sticking last October. He explained Thursday that he preferred to play through injuries if at all possible.
“I’m one of those that always believed, that stuck in my head when Michael Jordan said he had the best game when he was sick, right?” he said. “So I was always thinking about that: if you feel uncomfortable and in pain, whatever, you’ve got to go through it. It kind of feels good when you go through. And mentally, you fight. I feel like if you if you’re able to walk you you’re going to play.”
This previously undisclosed injury — combined with the “bad thoughts… and negativity” Kuzy experienced — may go a long way to explaining his poor season last year.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.