One of the fun parts of international hockey tournaments is watching teammates play one another who would otherwise never meet on the ice. Braden Holtby is one of the best goalies in the NHL.
Alex Ovechkin is the best scorer in the NHL. The idea of these two facing one another in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey is a tantalizing prospect, but surprisingly, that's not who Holtby is most concerned about facing.
In an interview on NHL Tonight, Holtby was asked about if he had thought about the possibility of playing against Ovechkin in the World Cup.
"It'll be interesting," Holtby said. "Obviously with [Ovechkin], his shot, I've seen it for years. I'm a little more worried about facing [Evgeny] Kuznetsov if we have to play Russia just because he's so dynamic."
Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top scorer six times in his career, including each of the last four years. For a goalie to say he is more concerned with Kuznetsov, especially a goalie who is intimately familiar with both players, is high praise indeed.
Considering Kuznetsov's style of play, however, it's no surprise why goalies would hate to play against him.
Kuznetsov's stick work is so fast and dynamic, he seems to always be able to get the puck right on the tape of a teammate's stick no matter where he is on the ice. The fact that he likes distributing the puck from behind the net also makes him a nightmare for netminders.
But Kuznetsov isn't the only Cap in the tournament Holtby doesn't want to play.
Said Holtby, "I wouldn't want to face T.J. Oshie in a shootout either."
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