When you’re in first place and you don’t play a game for another three days, you can afford to have some fun.
On Thursday after practice with Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer already off the ice, a third goalie emerged from the locker room to take shots from his teammates.
That goalie was Evgeny Kuznetsov.
If you’re picturing Kuznetsov just standing in the crease after practice messing around with his teammates, that’s not what happened. Kuznetsov was in full goalie pads. He had the mask, glove, stick, the leg pads, everything.
That's Evgeny Kuznetsov in net, taking shots from Orlov and Grubauer. pic.twitter.com/Uw0zuGaAKo— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) January 4, 2018
You csn see more in the video above.
“We've got some goalies on the team,” Kuznetsov said when asked where he got the equipment. “This is their old gear. Still pretty nice.”
Kuznetsov took shots from several teammates, but primarily from Dmitry Orlov and Grubauer.
Grubauer called it “time for payback on Kuzy always ripping shots high.”
“The goalies can shoot hard,” Kuznetsov said. “I wasn't expect at first the top cheese.”
How did all of this come about? Kuznetsov had been talking about the possibility for a while and, with time after practice and a day off tomorrow, he finally asked permission from Barry Trotz.
Trotz admitted his first reaction was, “Why?” But he finally acquiesced on one condition.
“I said, do not get hurt. Do not get hurt. But they were all chuckling. We let them have fun.”
“Sometimes you have to just relax,” Kuznetsov said. “Those 20 minutes give us lots of positive emotion for sure.”
MORE CAPITALS: BARRY TROTZ HAS A PLAN TO GET T.J. OSHIE GOING AGAIN
While it was all in good fun, there were some stakes on the line between Kuznetsov and Orlov.
“We have a challenge and we play not for fun,” Kuznetsov said. “He lose twice so he got to get better.”
Kuznetsov admitted Orlov was not going 100-percent at him which seems obvious. The guy who scored this goal should be able to beat Kuznetsov without a problem. For his part, Kuznetsov also threw some shade saying, “I picked not the toughest opponent.”
So what was the bet?
“Yeah, that's our business,” Kuznetsov said. “But it will taste better for sure.”