Khokhlachev to KHL in Russia 'not set in stone'


Khokhlachev to KHL in Russia 'not set in stone'

WILMINGTON, Mass. The Bruins havent given up hope that Alex Khokhlachev is off to the Mother Russia and the KHL next season, even after the forwards Windsor Spitfires GM said last week it was basically a fait accompli.

The 19-year-old Russian prospect and 2011 second-round pick will attend Bruins training camp in September, and could stay in North America should he make the NHL club. Thats not completely out of the realm of possibility given Kokos talent and his ability to stand out last season among the best Bs players in regular training camp.

Koko dominated the OHL for the Windsor Spitfires over the last two years, and hes looking for a bigger challenge next season whether its the KHL or the NHL level.

We expect Koko to develop whether its playing in the KHL or playing over here, said Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney. If he makes our team out of training camp then hell be playing here in Boston. So I dont think its set in stone.

Weve charted out a path of where hell be. Hes intrigued by playing at higher levels. I think we saw in World Juniors that when hes playing with better players that it elevates his game. We saw that in training camp last year and he just got better and better as we went from rookie camp to exhibition games.

Sweeney didnt confirm that Koko would be headed to the KHL if he doesnt make the Bruins, and deferred to GM Peter Chiarelli as the final authority on the Koko subject.

But the likelihood remains that hell be playing for his fathers Spartak team in the KHL next season. That would be Khokhlachevs plan if he doesnt make the Bruins out of camp. At 19 years old, he's too young to play in the AHL for the Providence Bruins next season.

That would leave the Bruins only until June 1, 2013 to sign Khokhlachev before they would surrender his draft rights, and thats something GM Peter Chiarelli and his front office would like to avoid given Khokhlachev's considerable upside.

He has that skill level to be able to do elevate to the highest levels of hockey, said Sweeney. Its the same things as with Ryan Spooner, its about acquiring the strength and the habits between now and training camp. Whether he can do that remains to be seen.

If theres a work stoppage that wipes out Bs regular training camp, then the Bruins brass might never see Koko this fall. But thats a story for another day. For now, the chances are slim that he can bypass the KHL by cracking the Bruins squad.

Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment


Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while anxiously awaiting a Cleveland/Chicago Cubs World Series showdown with all of the Red Sox subplots that could be involved.

*A peewee hockey coach in Quebec has been given a season-long suspension for punishing his players with hundreds of push-ups.

*The NHL game has changed radically over the last 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture for the New York Rangers.

*A lot has changed since Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal in 1990 and this article is worth it for the Jagr mullet picture alone.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says that a healthy Brandon Sutter has been a difference-maker for the Canucks.

*Carey Price is back in net for the Montreal Canadiens, and that makes the Habs a new team as they prepare for the Bruins on Saturday.

*This is what it looks like when you’ve completely given up on just about everything else except for being a hockey fan. So very gross.

*For something completely different: The Doctor Strange cast is being forced into answering some tough questions at the premiere of what is essentially a comic book movie.



Rask status in question vs. Canadiens with ‘general soreness’


Rask status in question vs. Canadiens with ‘general soreness’

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Tuukka Rask has been outstanding through his first three games this season after stumbling out of the gate last year. The .947 save percentage and sub 2.00 GAA are all the more impressive for Rask when also accounting for a lower body issue that’s been nagging at him since the opening night win a little more than a week ago.

Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots against the New Jersey Devils Thursday night in a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden, but it was also clear on a couple of stops that he was feeling discomfort in his lower half as he extended into the full butterfly. 

That was confirmed by Rask following the win when he admitted he was dealing with “something” after the game, and by his absence from the practice ice at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday morning.

“Uh-huh. There’s always a little something-something,” said a smirking Rask, when asked if he’s playing through something physically.

Instead, Babson College goalie coach Mike Ronan was called into emergency duty, and took the practice ice along with Bruins backup netminder Anton Khudobin.

Claude Julien said following practice that Rask was dealing with the same “general soreness” that last week pushed him out of a scheduled start against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s uncertain whether he will make the start against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

“The general soreness he had last week is still there,” said Julien. “[The medical staff] will see tomorrow how he's doing.”

Rask also missed a Bruins practice with soreness last Friday in Toronto, and wasn’t able to play the next night in the loss to the Maple Leafs. Injuries aside, Rask has been brilliant against both New Jersey and Winnipeg and was solid over the final 40 minutes against the Blue Jackets in an opening night win to start the season.

“Tuukka was outstanding in Winnipeg and he was good again [vs. New Jersey],” said Julien. “So, there are no issues with Tuukka. I think he’s giving us the hockey and the goaltending that we are looking for.”

Well, maybe there is one slight “issue with Tuukka” if a nagging lower body issue starts keeping him out of Bruins games and practices on the regular.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings at Friday practice:









Liles-C. Miller