The Capitals’ pair of All-Star representatives Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson touched down in Las Vegas on Thursday, settling in ahead of the NHL All-Star Weekend festivities.
Kuznetsov, making his second All-Star appearance, was named a replacement for injured New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox last week. First-time All-Star Wilson only found out Wednesday that he would be making the trip as well after he was asked to replace Metropolitan Division captain Alex Ovechkin, who landed in the NHL’s COVID protocol with a positive test.
Capitals digital host Taryn Bray tracked down the two All-Stars on Wednesday and asked Kuznetsov if he had any advice for Wilson in his first appearance.
“Don’t drink much,” Kuznetsov said, drawing a laugh from Wilson. “No, that’s how it is, you know, and remember everything and enjoy it. It’s nice to be here.”
Kuznetsov and Wilson are both in their ninth season, all with the Capitals. They made their NHL debuts during the 2013-14 campaign at 21 and 19 years old, respectively. Kuznetsov is in the midst of a career year, ranking among the top 20 in the NHL in assists (31) and points (45). Wilson has also been a force offensively, having already matched last season’s goal total of 13 including four game-winners.
Having only known the NHL with Wilson as a teammate, Kuznetsov was excited that the 27-year-old would be joining him this weekend.
“Our careers started [at] the same time when was kids and now we’re here so it’s kinda nice to see those eight years how we get here,” Kuznetsov said. “So [I’m] happy for him and for me too.”
Both forwards will participate in the NHL’s skills competition in addition to playing in the All-Star Game. Kuznetsov was one of eight players selected for the Fastest Skater competition while Wilson will compete against three other players in the Hardest Shot event.
With a full schedule ahead, Wilson is just trying to soak up every moment.
“It’s such a cool experience and an honor,” Wilson said. “There’s gonna be a lot of great players here. It’s obviously the big stage for our league, for our game, and just to be here to take it all in and the process and everything, I’m really excited to see it kinda all unveil and just be a part of it. [I’ll] take it all in, like Kuzy said, and just really enjoy the experience.”