Traktor-centric, the Sports.ru blog dedicated to the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk, recently spoke with the top forward of the team, Evgeny Kuznetsov, whose nine goals this season make him the team’s second leading goal scorer. Fantastic North American defenseman Deron Quint, leads the Black-and-Whites with 13.
Our conversation occurred just before Zhenya’s departure for Russia’s WJC camp and it touched on a variety of subjects: Traktor’s recent string of bad luck, what it’s like to be coached by Valery Belousov, Evgeny’s post-game showmanship, and the upcoming U-20 World Junior Championships tournament in the United States.
Igor Zhukov – The club’s business is left behind. The World Championship is now ahead of you. Nevertheless, is it possible to analyze Traktor’s trajectory in the standings so far this season?
Evgeny Kuznetsov – We are definitely not where we should be. It seems like we aren’t playing badly at all, but we are constantly coming up just a little bit short. Bad luck.
IZ – Are you happy with your game and scoring? It appears you aren’t doing bad at all. Not every 18 year old manages to score 9 goals in the KHL.
EK – I don’t want to separate myself from the team. If I am doing well – but there is no result for the team – who needs that? I am working the same way I always have. I just happened to score a few more goals than last year, and am having a bit better luck. This is, after all, already my second season playing among adults.
IZ – What is your best goal this season?
EK – Probably the first one. The one I scored in Magnitka. You remember the first one for a long time. And, we beat Metallurg at their arena for the first time in 16 years. So, that would be the one.
IZ – You know, everybody says that your game is becoming more and more mature, and that you have progressed a lot this year. Do you feel that way?
EK – Yes, of course, I feel this. Most importantly, I’ve gained confidence. Also, Belousov trusts me. It’s very important. When you score the team benefits and you feel good and you become more confident. You feel much better.