Brent Johnson steals the show for Team White.
Kuznetsov Jerseys Not in Stock Yet – Orders Are Customized!
This was custom made. (Caps Outsider)
Step into Evgeny Kuznetsov’s skates for a minute. You’re only 21-years old, you barely speak English, and in the blink of an eye you are whisked off to the United States to play in the National Hockey League. Although you were drafted by the Capitals in 2010 and this scenario was inevitable, it has now become a reality and you are being thrust into realm of the world’s most prestigious hockey league. And, if that wasn’t intimidating enough, you know you’ll be playing alongside former Stanley Cup champions and Olympians, including fellow countryman and arguably one of the greatest hockey players that ever lived, Alex Ovechkin.
Perhaps your two year, entry level, $900,000 a year contract helps to ease the jitters a bit. But when the lights go down and you step out onto the Verizon Center ice for the first time in front of 18,506 cheering Caps’ fans screaming your name, you’re not thinking about the money or your ‘rock star’ status back in Chelyabinsk. You have to focus on hockey, and only hockey—NHL style.
But leave it to Caps’ fans to warmly welcome the young Russian in his debut as a Washington Capital Monday when the Caps took on their archrival, the Pittsburg Penguins. Prior to the game, fans were banging on the glass and waving to Kuznetsov during the team warm-up. Fans were already seen sporting Kuznetsov’s #92 NHL Caps jersey.
According to Team Store representatives, the only way to get a Kuznetsov jersey at the Verizon Center on Monday was to purchase a generic jersey at Stand 100 on the main concourse and have it customized. That’s exactly what Mario Fiorino did to be one of the first to sport #92.
“One of my friends is a friend of Kuznetsov back in Russia,” explained Fiorino. “I bought it to support him.”
Kuznetsov addressed the media after the game via a Russian translator. “I was a little bit worried the first time I stepped out on the ice,” he said, “but with each shift I felt better and better.”
Will Kusnetsov become the next Alex Ovechkin? Maybe. Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: The Washington Capitals organization and Caps fans everywhere have high hopes for the young forward. It took years to get him to Washington, D.C. Let’s hope he proves to be worth the wait.
The Caps fell to the Penguins 3-2 and will have to face them again on Tuesday in Pittsburg at the CONSOL Energy Center. It will be the 14th set of back-to-back for the Caps this season.
UPDATE: The Caps said that the jersey vendor is trying to get Kuznetsov jerseys in stock for Friday’s game, and some are now available at Kettler.