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MINNESOTA STAR KIRILL KAPRIZOV SAYS HE KNOWS SOME FANS HATED HIM AT THE BEGINNING OF 2021-22

MAY 17, 2022  (8H01)      TIM TUCKER
Kirill Kaproziv of the Minnesota Wild has established himself as a star in the NHL in just his second season in the league. After winning the Calder Trophy last year as the league's top rookie, Kaprizov had a huge 2021-22, netting 47 goals and 108 points in 81 games. Despite how this year went for him, Kaprizov told reporters in his year end interview that he knows some Minnesota fans weren't too happy with him at the beginning of the season.

"Overall, I think the season was great and for me personally too," said Kaprizov when asked to judge his personal performance. "It started slow and some people hated me in the beginning. As it went on, I think my play got better, the team's play got better. We were able to turn things around and then if you even compare it to last season, I think it was a lot more stable and steady this year as opposed to last year. So overall, I'm happy."

Kaprizov answered the question with the help of an interpreter, and couldn't stop himself from laughing when he got to the part about some fans hating him at first. Kaprizov held out for top dollar as a restricted free agent, eventually getting $9 million per season for five years. Some felt he only cared about the money, and that feeling seemed to grow when Kaprizov started the new year out slow, going eight games without scoring a goal. However, once he found his groove it was full speed ahead, which he said the fans seemed to appreciate.

"I love the fans. They've been great. Going around town, I definitely get noticed a little bit more and I get stopped. But I embrace it, right? They're the reasons I'm here. Just the other day we were at a team event at a restaurant and we had a bunch of people come over. Someone who spoke Russian came over to me and we had a chat and got a chance to talk and absolutely. Like I said, I love the fans. Any chance I get a chance to see them, I make sure I make time for them," said Kaprizov.

Kaprizov did stress that he wasn't happy with how things went in the playoffs and really feels the team should have went deeper than the first round.

In 136 regular season games in the NHL so far, Kaprizov has 74 goals and 159 points.

Source: Minnesota Wild
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