By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
PROVIDENCE So now everyone finally knows what the Koko Show is all about.
After Alexander Khokhlachev showed up to July prospect camp in less-than-stellar shape and suffered through some erratic moments during rookie camp and Bruins main camp this week, the youngest member of the 53-man Bs training camp roster exploded in the Black Teams 4-1 victory over the White Team Tuesday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center .
For a kid who grew up in Russia dreaming of the NHL and moved to Canada for junior hockey just to make it happen a starring role in the scrimmage was a pretty cool experience.
Im here playing games in the best league in the world for the best team in the world. Thats a pretty cool thing and Ive learned so much every single day, said Khokhlachev. Its all been pretty amazing.
The offensive outpouring arrived after coach Claude Julien had openly challenged some of the younger players to show the coaching staff something if they wanted to remain in camp for the NHL preseason games. Koko said as much following the scrimmage in Providence, and hopes hell skate against an NHL team or two after stepping up his game.
Every day they could send me home, so every day I just go to the ice or work out really hard. Im happy here just working and getting a chance right now, said Khokhlachev. I hope I get a chance to play in some of the other preseason games against the NHL teams.
Its been a challenging summer for the 18-year-old hockey prospect after he was drafted by the Bruins, whisked to prospect development camp, dumped back in Windsor, Ontario for a few weeks of training and then sent back to Boston for full Bs training camp. On top of that Khokhlachev had a pair of friends who were killed in the KHL Lokomotiv plane crash, and was far from home while his sport and home country were weathering a horrible tragedy.
But Koko worked through all of that, and straightened out his teenage inconsistencies with a game that showcased all of his skills. The first score was a natural goal-scorers goal with a snap shot from the right faceoff circle off a nifty dish from Dennis Seidenberg. The second resulted from the Russian prospect crashing the net as a pass drifted toward the net.
After the first few minutes I just settled down and played my game, said Khokhlachev. Im trying really hard and was excited because this was my first game with NHL guys. Its a simple game at another level.
Every game I go there and take a shot or wait there for a really good chance to make a play. Every game I just try to help my team win and make a good play for them.
Koko may play in a game or two before hes inevitably returned to the OHLs Windsor Spitfires for another year of junior hockey, but hell leave the Bruins with a good feeling in his heart. Khokhlachev has tasted a little bit of the success hes always dreamed of, and that will keep him working to make it back to Boston for much, much more.