Bruins sign Khokhlachev to rookie deal, will play in Russia this season

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Bruins sign Khokhlachev to rookie deal, will play in Russia this season

WILMINGTON, Mass. There was finally some clarity on the Alex Khokhlachev To Russia with Love situation on Friday morning.

The Bruins 2011 second round pick will play for the KHLs Spartak club this coming season, and then will return back to the Bruins organization the following season. That became the new plan after Khokhlachev signed an entry-level rookie deal with the Bruins that becomes official on July 1.

If they hadnt signed Khokhlachev now, they would have been under the gun to sign him by June 1, 2013 in order to retain his rights.

Kokos year in Russia wont count toward the three-year contract with the Bruins, and instead wont be activated the following season when he returns to North American ready for pro hockey. The highly-skilled Russian forward showed his abilities while topping 30 goals in his first season for the OHL Windsor Spitfires, and was excellent after arriving in shape for last falls Bs training camp.

The 19-year-old will still take part in Bs training camp again this fall before heading back to Russia to be reunited with his father, Igor. The lacerated kidney Koko suffered while skating for the Spitfires at the end of last years junior hockey season is still affecting the Russian forward at development camp, but hes expected to make a full recovery by this falls full training camp.

Weve come to terms with Khokhlachev. Because of his injury he wont be taking any contact for seven or eight weeks, said Chiarelli. The plan is now for him to play in Russia. Hell attend our camp and then hell go to play in Russia for Spartak where his father is a manager.

After the one year hell be under his purview. His goal is still to play in the NHL and hes making strides toward that. What we decided with Koko is that its a unique set of circumstances with his dad being the manager there. We said its one year and back to North America. He felt it was the right move and so were going along with it and supporting it.

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.