I said this all summer long as the Washington Capitals struck out with shopping around Evgeny Kuznetsov and again when the center has gone on Russian language interviews. If Peter Laviolette was still the head coach, Kuznetsov would’ve been long gone.
The fact that Spencer Carbery is in behind the bench now means that both the Capitals and Kuznetsov are ready to give each other another chance.
Kuznetsov met with the DC media on Thursday which marked the first day of training camp. Give him credit for keeping it professional among them. He was careful at the time not to mention frankly the big problem from last season.
But when he spoke with the Russian outlet Slippery Ice, that was when Kuznetsov went all in. He spoke on a variety of things. Our friends at RMNB wrote several articles on the topics Kuznetsov talked about in said interview. You can find all the jaw droppers over here.
On Laviolette, Kuznetsov revealed a meeting he had with general manager Brian MacLellan. He said this in Russian, translated to English via Google Translate by RMNB in this article:
"“There were many moments there (in the meeting). I say, ‘You brought a coach who almost didn’t fit the style, we had to rebuild.’ Such moments as it were. ‘You paid me this money for something, right?’ I say, ‘For what I did well.’ And now [he] arrived, they tell me: ‘Listen, you don’t need to do this – throw the puck into the zone, run, and [screen] the goalie.’ This is where everything went wrong in general, because we should each have our own role, everyone should fulfill their role, and everyone will be in demand from this role. And when you carry a piano, and then they say to you: ‘No, no, let’s play the piano today.’ And the person has never played the piano, and they say to him: ‘Come on, play!’”"
My jaw didn’t drop when Kuznetsov said that. When the trade request rumors came to light in March I knew it had everything to do with Laviolette. The two just couldn’t get along and he wasn’t the only one.
Ilya Samsonov, Jonas Siegenthaler, Jakub Vrana and many others had problems with the ex bench boss. Now Laviolette is the New York Rangers problem so best of luck to Alexis Lafreniere and the rest of that young Rangers core.
Maybe the Caps decided to deal Kuznetsov anyway to fulfill his trade request. But if they stopped after they struck out in the deal with the Nashville Predators on draft night, they definitely stopped because Laviolette no longer coaches the Capitals. Just an assumption.