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Kuznetsov Opens Up About Supension, Explains High Stick On Burroughs



Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov

ARLINGTON, V.A. — While the Washington Capitals were in Ottawa, Evgeny Kuznetsov stayed behind, watching the Senators game at home as he served his one-game suspension and then hitting the ice for individual work on the off day as the team travelled back. And, as he prepares to draw back in Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, he said he’s feeling much better.

“I feel unbelievable. It sucks to stay away from the team a little bit, but at the same time, it’s good to be away a little bit and look for the positives from that,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s nice to be away for a little bit and think about and watch some games, right? That gives you a little different emotional feelings when you come back.”

In Monday’s tilt against the Vancouver Canucks, Kuznetsov wheeled to the net and tried to tuck the puck past Thatcher Demko, but the puck got away from him. As he went to retrieve it, he received a shove from Kyle Burroughs. When that happened, Kuznetsov was feeling deep emotions and went back for a slash, which ended up being a high stick to the face.

“It was emotions. It was a shitty game, and kind of have break and almost scored then fell and it’s emotions right,” Kuznetsov told WHN. “You have to control your emotions, behavior, all that stuff. It’s not a problem with me. It just happens. Unfortunately, it happened.”

Kuznetsov received a two-minute minor for high-sticking and ultimately got a one-game suspension following a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. He said, “my bad” on the way to the bench, taking accountability for the penalty and mistake he made. He made up for it with a three-point game en route to a 6-4 Capitals win over Vancouver.

“It’s emotions. Slashed the guy got suspended and that’s it, right… Do I think it’s bad? No, I don’t think it’s bad. But it’s always like that, right? You always gonna defend yourself,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s emotion, it’s high-key, you know? It’s nothing that I want to hurt him or chop his head off, right? I didn’t touch him in the pads and then high stick.

“Sometimes people point at other people mistakes but I kind of learn from my mistakes and that’s the hardest way to accept that you made a mistake,” he added. “And okay well, ‘What am I gonna do next? I’m gonna respond. so I respond in the third period different way.”

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Going forward and getting back into the swing of things, Kuznetsov said he’s ready to get back to work and help the team rebound after dropping three of the first five games of the 2022-23 campaign. And ultimately, that run-in with Burroughs taught him a lesson.

“I learned positive way, so like I said, I stay away a little bit and have the time to think,” Kuznetsov said. “And you know, it’s hard the way it work in your head when you realize that you did something bad. There’s not much you can fix already, only the future, right? So I have to focus on the future.”