Evgeny Kuznetsov ‘Tired’ In Washington, Friend Says
Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s time with the Washington Capitals may soon come to an end.
Sergei Fedotov, a Russian hockey agent and purported longtime friend of Kuznetsov, told sports.ru earlier this month that the veteran Capitals center has lost his spark in Washington D.C.
“He’s been wanting to change teams for a long time, he’s tired in Washington,” Fedotov said, according to a DeepL-generated translation.
“I can’t say that I’m a wreck, but if I don’t feel good about what I’m doing, I always look for opportunities to feel comfortable,” Fedotov added. “Now [Kuznetsov] doesn’t have that buzz from hockey, and Kuznetsov doesn’t have that buzz, he’s not interested in anything.”
According to Fedotov, Kuznetsov had qualms about the play style of former head coach Peter Laviolette. He also struggled in the aftermath of a 2019 suspension for cocaine use that saw him ineligible to play internationally for four years.
Kuznetsov, 30, tallied 55 points over 81 games in the 2022-23 season, posting a career-low +/- of -26.
“For whatever reason, he never quite found his game,” MacLellan said at the end of the regular season. “I mean, there are stretches where I thought he played well, but overall, I think he underperformed the season he had last year.”
Earlier this year, Russian-based MatchTV reported that Kuznetsov had requested a trade from the Capitals organization — a claim that the forward was swift to deny publicly.
“You know how this is,” Kuznetsov said in March. “It’s just people trying to put whatever they want to get the likes and Instagram or Twitter, whatever. I talked to those people. I said, ‘Where did this come from?’ There is something that we can talk later probably for sure, but at this point, there is nothing to even talk about.”