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Capitals’ Kuznetsov Shares Wild Story Behind ‘Stick Twirl’ Shootout Move



Washington Capitals Evgeny Kuznetsov

ARLINGTON, V.A. — In an April 24 shootout against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov waited for the whistle to blow and signal the start of his attempt. And, mid-attempt, he pulled out a move that went viral.

Kuznetsov twirled his stick, keeping a forward motion before breaking into a series of dangles. He then scored on Jack Campbell for a shootout goal that made the highlight reels, despite a 4-3 loss.

The wild story behind it, though: he didn’t mean to pull it off. And even more crazy: he didn’t like the move at all.

“It was accidental. Yeah, I know, I know [it went viral]. When I saw that, I was like, ‘that’s bad,'” he laughed. “I didn’t really like that.”

He still remembers it vividly, and said it all came down to timing, hence the move as he was “panicking” at the start when Campbell wasn’t in a position he wanted him to be in when he began his attempt.

“It was something that was in my head,” he explained. “I wasn’t sure what move to do so I had to buy the time for me over there because I kind of look to the goalie. And then when I saw that’s he’s in exact position where I want him to be, that’s when I was like, ‘Okay.’ But by that time I was doing that [twirl], I was just panicking a little bit and looking at him, you know?”

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But in the end, it worked out. And he smiled when recollecting the action.

“Yeah, it did, it did,” he grinned.

He also previewed that maybe this season, he would try to spice up his shootout moves. The 30-year-old has also been working on adjusting the angle and not revealing too much about his shot in order to avoid posts or saves.

“Maybe I create something new this year,” he shrugged. “We’ll see.”