Bruins

Khokhlachev still playing in KHL despite reduced role

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Khokhlachev still playing in KHL despite reduced role

The rumors of Russian prospect Alex Khokhlachevs swift exit from the KHL may perhaps come true eventually.

But those whispers of an OHL return for Koko appear to be premature at this point according to members of the Bruins front office. Bs assistant general manager Don Sweeney indicated to CSNNE.com last week that Bostons 2011 second round pick was still playing in the KHL for the Moscow Spartak team operated by his father, and that there was no concrete plan to have him ship back to the OHLs Windsor Spitfires.

There was speculation Koko was headed back to Windsor when the Spitfires cleared off a roster spot last week presumably for the dynamic Russian scorers return, but Khokhlachev still appears committed to playing in his home country for the time being.

Koko is still in Moscow and there is nothing definitive about him coming back to North America, said Sweeney. Hes still playing for his fathers team currently. The biggest thing we want to see with a young player like that is the ice time and the situations where he can continue to develop.

Its debatable if thats what is currently going on with Khokhlachev as he appears to have been lost in the shuffle at the KHL level.

The 19-year-old Koko is struggling with two points (one goal, one assist) and a minus-5 in 16 games with Spartak, and those observing the Bs prospect in Russia say hes seen limited ice time in a thirdfourth line role. Some of Khokhlachevs reduced role can be traced back to the influx of NHL players to the KHL brought on by the lockout, but its pretty clear that Koko needs to play more at this key stage of his professional development.

Khokhlachev averaged just under 30 goals and 73 points in his two seasons with Windsor, and would be placed back in a lead offensive role if he did indeed return to the Spitfires at some point this year.

Khokhlachev and the Bruins have both indicated that the talented youngster is scheduled to attend Bostons training camp next season with the lofty intent of winning an NHL job.

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

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Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.

 

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

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Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

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If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin