Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov remembered to bring his famous jokes with him to Las Vegas and had them ready as soon as he got to the Strip.
The Russian, along with Tom Wilson, caught up with the Capitals’ Taryn Bray to discuss the 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend. And there, Kuznetsov shared his take on the fastest skater field, and the plan he has to help himself and Wilson win big at the All-Star Skills and 3-on-3 tournament.
“I don’t know who put me there, but that’s the toughest one, you know, probably,” Kuznetsov told Bray of the fastest skater competition.
No. 92 has a great set of wheels and uses his speed and ability arguably as one of the NHL’s best puck carriers, but he has never taken part in the fastest skater competition. The last time he was at the All-Star Game back in 2016, he participated in the breakaway challenge and did his best Ovechkin imitation with a cowboy hat and sunglasses.
He faces a tough field, featuring three-time champion Connor McDavid, who is looking for revenge after falling short to Mat Barzal’s 13.175 seconds in 2020. Dylan Larkin, Cale Makar and more will also be taking part in the competition. For Kuznetsov, though, he’s sticking to the “have fun” strategy.
“I got to come up with something funny,” he added.
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The 29-year-old also plans to help teammate Tom Wilson fill big skates at the game, as he fills in for Alex Ovechkin with the hardest shot. Ovechkin won back in 2018 with a slapper that clocked in at 101.3 MPH. The all-time record is Zdeno Chara’s 108.8 MPH shot from 2012.
“I might need to import one of Ovi’s sticks… that’s probably my only chance,” Wilson said before Kuznetsov chimed in with a new plan.
“I’ll help him, I’m gonna –” Kuznetsov explained before blowing twice and then cackling at his joke in classic “Kuzy” fashion.
The duo are also looking forward to potentially bringing their chemistry from their Capitals top line to Vegas in the 3-on-3 tournament and are going back to the basics of hockey.
“Dump and chase. We gonna dump and chase,” they noted.
The All-Star Skills Competition kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The game will then commence with 3-on-3 action starting at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Kuznetsov also offered more words of wisdom with regard to All-Star Weekend in Vegas:
“Probably don’t drink much. No, that’s how it is, you know? Remember everything and enjoy it,” Kuznetsov said.