B's Khokhlachev shows skill, needs conditioning

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B's Khokhlachev shows skill, needs conditioning

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON The Bruins focused on power skating and battle drills during the double sessions in Day No. 2 of development camp at Ristuccia Arena, and once again a couple of things bubbled to the surface.

The first was during power skating drills, led by power skating instructor newcomer Besa Tsintsadze, when the youngsters were pushed to the brink of exhaustion, and the differing conditioning levels of the players were exposed. Skills coach Victor Teleguine and skating coach John McLean werent present with the youngsters as theyve been in the past development camps, and instead Tsintsadze was bringing in some new challenging elements to the same old drills.

Besa came in late in the year last season, and his ability to skate . . . they should sign him with the way he zips around out there, Cassidy said. I like what he does with the guys. He keeps them moving with edge work and puck skills work while youre working on your balance.

Russian 2011 second round pick Alex Khokhlachev was one of the players struggling to keep up with the twists and turns employed by the speedy skating teacher, and Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy admitted after the session that the 17-year-old probably wasnt quite in pro hockey conditioning.

Its understandable given their first experience with pro hockey, but its also something that casts a bit of first impression that Koko will have to be way of. When things boiled down to the battle drills during the second session Khokhlachev showed his hands and offensive instincts amid tight coverage with the puck.

The skating is always interesting because theres a lot of edge work and guys are at different levels, Cassidy said. Overall as a group I think theyre doing very well. They tested well for the most part with the odd guy that might have lagged here or there. But theyve done pretty well with everything that weve asked.

Watching some of the in-tight drills, Khokhlachev has excellent hands and he freezes goaltenders. He gets pucks up in tight. So certainly and the goal-scoring ability is there. His conditioning needs to get better, but hes one of the young guys that what usually happens is the first camp is an eye-opener. They dont realize how good physical shape professional players are in. Hell get that down, but I like his instincts around the net.

The skill is clearly there with Koko as he potted 34 goals in 67 games for the Windsor Spitfires last season during his first year in North America, but there is still plenty of work to be done for the 40th overall pick in this years NHL Draft.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats