Evgeny Kuznetsov has done it again. The Washington Capitals Russian superstar is known for his incredible stick-handling and skills. He’s one of the most skillful players in the league with the puck, and earlier this week, he won another shootout for the Capitals, just as he’s done so many times before during the last seasons.
Kuznetsov wasn’t always a great shootout taker. Just some years ago, he missed six attempts in a row, and that’s when he decided to try something different. Now, he always goes super-slow towards the keeper and does it with great success.
His slow-motion tactic is almost impossible for goalkeepers to stop, and it’s made him nearly automatic every time a Capitals game goes to a shootout. But his unique shootout style is also polarizing.
Kuznetsov isn’t breaking any rules when performing his shootout attempts, and many feel that so long he doesn’t do that, it should be fine. But many absolutely hate it and how long it takes.
Last season, Wayne Gretzky was asked about his opinion on Kuzentsov’s shootout goals, and he didn’t hold back.
“I hate it,” Gretzky said in a TNT broadcast last year. “Should be a rule, should be a time clock like in baseball. Come on, you never get a breakaway in a game and you do that. You get seven seconds, eight seconds. That’s my opinion.”
When the Capitals won over the Flames earlier this week, it was again thanks to a shootout goal. He skated slowly toward the goal before lifting home the winner, the only goal in the shootout.
But yet again, the Russian is getting criticized heavily on social media, and now, a former referee is furious. Tim Peel, who officiated in the NHL from 1995 to 2021, said on X, former Twitter, that he hopes a goalie ”tip his head off.”
”I’m sure this will be a hot topic with Colin Campbell and the Department of Hockey Ops,” Peel wrote. ”This was not the intention when the shootout was brought in. Plays like this make a mockery of our game. The next time he does this the goalie should charge and rip his head off!”