Caps hope Kuznetsov’s big night Wed­nes­day is sign of a break­out

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY -

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal and an as­sist in the Washington Cap­i­tals’ 4-3 win over the vis­it­ing St. Louis Blues on Wed­nes­day night, the first game in which he’s had a goal and an as­sist since Feb. 22. But even more en­cour­ag­ing than the long-over­due point pro­duc­tion was that Kuznetsov had stopped just play­ing on the perime­ter and was back to gen­er­at­ing chances close to the net. “That was the Kuzy that I think we all see that he can be,” Cap­i­tals coach Barry Trotz said. Trotz said he and Kuznetsov have “had some dis­cus­sions” about his re­cent play and that Trotz wanted to see him go to the net more. En­ter­ing Wed­nes­day night, Kuznetsov had scored two goals in his pre­vi­ous 38 reg­u­lar-sea­son games dat­ing to last sea­son. In the play­offs, he scored just one goal. In the pre­vi­ous 12 games, Kuznetsov hadn’t scored a goal but had three as­sists. Those were con­cern­ing sta­tis­tics for Kuznetsov, as he led the Cap­i­tals in scor­ing last sea­son with 20 goals and 57 as­sists. He showed flashes of that dom­i­nance Wed­nes­day, and the team hopes that the two-point game can be a step to­ward his re­gain­ing his con­fi­dence and with it, his old form. “I hope he’s back in his game. When he has con­fi­dence, he con­trols the puck on his stick,” Alex Ovechkin said. Added goal­tender Braden Holtby: “It’s good he’s get­ting his con­fi­dence back a bit. He’s ob­vi­ously a big part of our team and a big part of our of­fense.” LAURELPARK: Jockey Fear­gal Lynch cel­e­brated the Thanks­giv­ing Day pro­gram by rid­ing four win­ners. Lynch won the first race aboard Dark Gemini ($5.60), the fourth aboard Thissongis­aboutyou ($12.60), the fifth with Broad Axe Bernie ($19) and aboard Just­callme K L ($11) in the eighth. Lynch is the third-lead­ing rider at the cur­rent fall meet with 24 wins. LACROSSE: John O’Sul­li­van, founder and CEO of the Chang­ing the Game Project, will be the key­note speaker at the US Lacrosse Con­ven­tion on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at Bal­ti­more Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. O’Sul­li­van, a for­mer col­lege and pro soc­cer player and a for­mer coach, es­tab­lished the project in 2012 to help par­ents, coaches and youth sports or­ga­ni­za­tions put more “play” in play­ing sports. Ge­orge Ma­son women’s coach Jessy Mor­gan (McDonogh) and Brown men’s coach Mike Daly will host ed­u­ca­tional clin­ics for coaches. LaxCon runs Jan. 20 to Jan. 22. For more in­for­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter, go to us­lacrosse.org/ laxcon. … Brown men’s coach Mike Daly will host an ed­u­ca­tional ses­sion for coaches at LaxCon. BASE­BALL: At­tor­ney Jerome Nel­son will dis­cuss “Re­solv­ing Base­ball Dis­putes: Ar­bi­tra­tion of Salaries, Griev­ances, Drug Prob­lems, and Sex­ual As­sault & Child Abuse” at a meet­ing of “Talkin’ Base­ball” on Dec. 3, at 9 a.m. at Brighton Gar­dens, 7110 Min­strel Way, Columbia. De­tails: Call 410992-1186. SOC­CER: Louise Waxler of Columbia re­ceived the National Soc­cer Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica’s Char­lotte Mo­ran Youth Long-Term Ser­vice Award. The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of McLean Youth Soc­cer in Vir­ginia, Waxler has over 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence as an ad­min­is­tra­tor in youth and pro­fes­sional soc­cer. A mem­ber of the NSCAA since 1990, she served many years as a youth soc­cer rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore be­ing elected an of­fi­cer in 2002. She be­gan her term as the NSCAA’s Pres­i­dent in 2006, only the third fe­male to hold the po­si­tion at the time. —

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