Friday, March 22, 2013
Khokhlachev makes P-Bruins debut
By Joe McDonald
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Boston Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev, known as "Koko," made his much-anticipated professional debut with the Providence Bruins on Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
"I thought he was OK," said P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy after Providence's 3-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. "He never got into the game, didn't get a feel for it."
Khokhlachev was thrown right into the mix and even worked on the power play.
"I was a little nervous before the game, but it was a good feeling to win in my first game," Khokhlachev said. "It's a big step for me and I'm really glad to be here now."
Boston selected Khokhlachev in the second round (40th overall) in the 2011 NHL entry draft. When the Bruins held their annual Black and White preseason scrimmage two years ago at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, Koko was one of the best players on the ice, and many people took notice.
A native of Moscow, Russia, the 5-foot-10, 172-pounder played the first half of the season for Moscow of the KHL before joining Team Russia for the World Junior Championship. He then returned to his junior team, the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. In 29 games, he scored 22 goals and added 26 assists for 48 points before he was assigned to Providence and made his pro debut Friday.
"It's been pretty hard to change leagues every three months," he said. "I played my first season in the KHL and it was a really good experience. After the World Juniors, I played two months in Windsor and now I'm here. I'm just trying hard wherever I play."
The Bruins also signed forward Alexander Fallstrom to an entry-level contract after he concluded his four-year collegiate career at Harvard a week ago. Fallstrom then signed an amateur tryout with the P-Bruins and he made his pro debut last Sunday.
"I'm really happy," he said prior to Friday's game. "This was my goal, something I've really wanted to do because I've heard other college players do the same thing, leave after their season ended, and it's something I wanted to do. I was really happy when Boston called.
"It all happened really fast, but it's been exciting. It's been a lot of fun. The guys are great and they've been taking care of me, and helping me figure everything out. It's been a great experience so far. It's a really good group of guys. As soon as you walk in the locker room you feel the winning mentality. It's a great group to be a part of."
Playing center on the P-Bruins' fourth line, Fallstrom posted an assist in his pro debut last Sunday.
"He was good," Cassidy said. "It was as advertised. He was good away from the puck. Not a terrific skater, but got to where he needed to go well. He's a bigger guy than you think. He's a good 6-foot-2. He's not the type of guy who's going to be a wrecking ball out there, but he went through some people's hands and took good angles."
The Bruins could envision Fallstrom as a Chris Kelly-type of player who has good instincts away from the puck and can chip in offensively.