Khokhlachev to KHL in Russia 'not set in stone'

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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.

Blackhawks edge past Bruins with late goal in 1-0 win

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Blackhawks edge past Bruins with late goal in 1-0 win

BOSTON -- Anybody looking for an emotional, high-energy response from the Bruins after back-to-back putrid losses to the Islanders and Red Wings didn’t get it on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.

Instead the Bruins had plenty of shots with zero goals to show for it, and then gave up a goal to Marian Hossa on a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 regulation win over the Black and Gold. It was the third straight loss for a Bruins team that continues to sink down in the playoff picture at a time of years when the results are the only thing that matters.

The defeat could also very well cost B’s head coach Claude Julien his job as a lifeless Bruins organization looks for any way to get out of the mud they’ve been stuck in for the last six weeks.

The Bruins and Blackhawks couldn’t crack the scoreboard for the first 50 minutes in regulation, and the genuine scoring chances were few and far between for both sides.

Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron had scoring chances down low in the first period, and Joe Morrow had a breakaway turned away by Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling early in the proceedings. But the scoring chances and sustained attack really began to dry up in the second period, and it became a series of one-and-done shots on net for both sides.

As one would expect both goalies were stellar with Darling putting together a 16-save performance in the first period, and Tuukka Rask turning away several Blackhawks chances including an Artem Anisimov wrist shot off the rush with just a couple of minutes to go in the third period. Rask finished with 21 saves, and Darling finished with 30 saves in a big win for the Chicago backup netminder. 

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season.