Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov Responds to Being Healthy Scratched

The Washington Capitals scratched veteran forward Evgeny Kuznetsov earlier this week and the Caps went out and lost 6-0 to the hands of the Arizona Coyotes. Needless to say, Kuznetsov is pissed off and extremely motivated thanks to being told he isn't playing.

A tough year already, the Caps have moved Kuznetsov to the fourth line at times as they look to get some consistent production out of their veteran. The 31-year-old is owed $7.8 million this season and next and does hold trade protection against 10 teams of his choice. So far this season, in 19 games he's produced just nine points. The cap hit certainly doesn't meet the production at the moment and you can see why the Caps have made changes.

As far as how Kuznetsov is feeling throughout this, needless to say it's lit a fire in his belly:

It’s shit. But you’ve got to accept sometimes and trust the process, and I feel like there is a lot more into that. That was a bad, bad day and bad finish over there. So it’s, just trying to help me, but eventually it was a bad result. [I need to] play hockey better in every area. I feel like we’ve been missing those 15-20 points by me and that’s 20 goals. If we could score those 20 goals, we’d probably be top-10 in the league in regard to scoring so that’s what we’re missing. I understand that, I’m not the guy that’s gonna be making a lot of money and walking around happy when hockey’s not good. I want to play better, I want to succeed here, and I want my team to celebrate every game.

At practice recently, Kuznetsov is trying to stay light hearted and keep the team up beat despite going through his troubles. He had this to say after Wednesday's practice:

I feel like I want to kill someone since yesterday, in a good way. It’s hard for me to talk right now. Probably I learn something about this later in my career when I’m going to have time to sit back and think about it, but so far, I understand what he was saying. Like I said, at that point, it’s hard to accept, but I trust him so much. I want to believe in him and he wants to believe in me so I feel like we have a great relationship. So I understand that I need to be better.

Kuznetsov is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Dallas Stars and is hopeful the extra motivation will go to his legs and he'll be able to get back on track.

photo credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports