March 27, 2023

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Russian concert in Dallas: Dadonov’s bright debut, Podkolzin’s goal and Kuzmenko’s winning point in overtime

Only Kravtsov without glasses.

In recent days, the NHL has gone through a series of exchanges involving Russian players – and it is very interesting how they will adapt to new clubs. The largest concentration of debutants on Monday was in Dallas, where Vancouver arrived: Evgeny Dadonov played the first match for the Stars, and Vitaly Kravtsov diluted our company in the Canucks.

Dadonov put a masterpiece in the first match

Eugene arrived in Texas late in the evening, less than a day before the game. His flight from Montreal was delayed, but not too critical – journalists covering the games of the Stars reported that Dadonov arrived at the morning rollout along with team captain Jamie Benn, who picked him up from the hotel.

As you can see, the striker was warmly received in the new team, and he immediately responded with what was expected of him. The last 14 games for the Canadiens obviously failed him (he hadn’t scored since January 18), but in the first game for Dallas he scored the puck, and he did it very beautifully.

Of course, one cannot fail to note the pass with which 19-year-old Wyatt Johnston cut off the opponents, but it was Dadonov who did the main work. First, he did a great job with his feet, gaining a great move from his blue. Secondly, he dealt with the goalkeeper beautifully – only a confident hockey player could play like that. Now it’s very interesting: was it a goal on emotions or will Evgeny find himself again in Dallas?

In general, the debut turned out to be good, if you do not take into account the result of the Stars. He spent almost 14 minutes on the ice, one and a half of them – in the majority, made five shots. Basically, he went out with Seguin and Marchment, but in the case of a goal, he ended up with other partners.

Kravtsov missed the opening, but Podkolzin scored again

Vasily Podkolzin is not at ease yet. Even under Bruce Boudreau, he was sent to the AHL for two months, but after the arrival of Rick Tocquet, he was called back to the base. It would seem that Vasily should fit well into the system of the new coach, but in the end everything does not go as expected.

In the game with the Stars, he scored his second goal of the season – he is also the second after returning from the AHL, and Vasily had no more effective actions under Tocquet. True, the goal turned out to be good : he famously beat a defender who flew past and threw from a convenient position.

One problem is time. If in the first matches after the call he played for 13-15 minutes, then in the last his playing time fluctuates around 10 minutes and below.

At the same time, Kravtsov did not play much either: he had one shot and two hits in 8:53 on the court. He was watched a little in the majority, giving 57 seconds, but that was it.

Kuzmenko adapted to the requirements of Tocquet and plays a lot again

But who is in perfect order is Andrei Kuzmenko. After a pause for the All-Star Game, it seemed that Andrei was in disgrace with the new coach, and there were reasons for this version: his playing time was sharply reduced to 10-12 minutes. However, very soon Kuzmenko won the trust of the coach and showed that he could be useful in his system.

In the last 7 matches, he has 10 (6+4) points and time on ice in the range of 18-22 minutes. Against Dallas, Andriy first acted in accompaniment – he has two assists in Bovillier’s goals, even if they are the second. But then he turned on at the most important moment: in overtime, Bovillier already gave a pass to a nickel, from where Kuzmenko sent the puck into the goal.

Andrey’s goal was not counted immediately – there were suspicions that Beauvillier entered the zone incorrectly, but in fact he controlled the puck, so after the video review, the judges decided that this was a clean goal.

Kuzmenko – in the top ten Russians in goals in the first season

For Kuzmenko, this puck was the third victory and the 28th in total – gorgeous statistics for the debut season in the NHL. Andrei does not claim to be “Calder” due to his age (and rightfully so), but his example is amazing in any case.

Among all Russians in the history of the NHL, he already has the 8th record in goals in the first season. Overtaking Ovechkin with his 52 goals is unrealistic, but he is quite capable of surpassing the achievement of another Vancouver legend, Pavel Bure. Unless there will be more games, but who cares if Kuzmenko is so good in his first year in the league, even with two different coaches.