Report: Khokhlachev leaves Bruins, signs with Russian team


Report: Khokhlachev leaves Bruins, signs with Russian team

Another once-valued Boston Bruins asset might be heading out the door with nothing coming back in return.

Russian prospect Alex Khokhlachev has signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, according to a report out of Russia. The deal will become official after his entry-level contract with Boston runs out on June 30.

Khokhlachev, 22, was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft and spent the last three seasons as one of the Providence Bruins' leading scorers. In that time he appeared in only nine games in Boston, with no points and a minus-4.

At the start of last season's training camp, Khokhlachev said he’d never been given a legitimate chance by the Bruins at the NHL level. But “Koko” also never exactly crushed his chances in preseason, or during his regular-season stints with the parent club.

The belief is that Khokhlachev’s camp would have rather the Bruins traded him, as his family had settled in the Toronto area over the last few years. But he was, in essence, forced to go to Russia since the Bruins would continue to hold his NHL rights as a restricted free agent.

According to sources close to Khokhlachev, the last straw came when the Bruins signed a European free agent -- 28-year-old Finnish center Joonas Kemppainen -- before last season and gave him more than four months to prove himself at the NHL level. It was the kind of audition that Khokhlachev never felt like he received during his time in the Bruins organization, despite posting 59 goals and 168 points over the last three years in the AHL.

Clearly, there are still questions about whether the 5-foot-10, 181-pound center is a “tweener” -- not big enough or fast enough to score at the NHL level. And it looks like those questions will go unresolved as Khokhlachev returns to Russia for the foreseeable future. 

Talking Points: Rask's first period doesn't give B's a chance to win

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Talking Points: Rask's first period doesn't give B's a chance to win

The Bruins' Western Canada road trip got off to an uninspiring start Wednesday night in Calgary. Here are my talking points from the Bruins' 5-2 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome:

GOLD STAR: It’s got to be Micheal Frolik with two of the first four goals scored for the Flames early in the game when they took full control of the proceedings. Frolik scored the first goal at the end of a beautiful passing play where he was open at the front of the net, and then he connected with Michael Backlund on another score that gave Calgary some breathing room in the second period. In all Frolik finished with the two goals and a plus-3 rating in 16:07 of ice time, and three shots on net, one hit, one takeaway and a perfect 2-for-2 in the face-off circle. It was a nice turnaround for Frolik after he was a recent healthy scratch for the Flames, and exactly the kind of response that a coach is looking for from a player.


BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask can ill afford one bad goal in a game, and he had two bad goals allowed in the first period that really sunk the Bruins in this one. The first Calgary goal was a nice piece of passing that ended with an open shot in front, so there wasn’t much blame on that one. But Rask had an awful rebound on a Noah Hanifin tester that turned into a Johnny Gaudreau goal, and then seconds later he completely fumbled away a Juuso Valimaki point shot that he just plain missed with his glove hand. Those two soft goals put the Bruins down 3-0 in the first period, and essentially served as the difference in the game ,as the Bruins were down by two goals in the third period before the late empty netter made the 5-2 final score. Rask allowed four goals on 28 shots in total and was better later in the game, but he didn’t give the team a chance with the way he played in the first.

TURNING POINT: The turning point was the two Calgary goals scored within 48 seconds of each other in the first period when Tuukka Rask had a mini-meltdown in the middle of the game. Johnny Gaudreau scored his 100th career NHL goal after Rask gave up a juicy rebound in front of his own net, and then less than a minute later Rask whiffed on a Juuso Valimaki point shot that turned into that player’s first NHL goal. Once that flurry was over the Bruins were down by a 3-0 score and really didn’t have any chance of winning the game despite scoring a few goals and at least making a competitive game out of it. For all intents and purposes, the game was over after those two goals and the biggest surprise was that Rask didn’t get pulled out of the game at that point.  

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Highlights from Bruins' 5-2 loss to Flames

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Highlights from Bruins' 5-2 loss to Flames

FINAL SCORE: Flames 5, Bruins 2

IN BRIEF: Michael Frolik scored two goals to lead the Calgary Flames, who led 3-0 after 16 minutes and never looked back en route to a 5-2 victory. Patrice Bergeron was brilliant in the second period, having a hand in both of Boston's goals. BOX SCORE 

- Michael Frolik, Calgary (2 goals)
2 - Patrice Bergeron, Boston (1 goal, 1 assist)
3 - Jusso Valimaki, Calgary (1 goal)

HAGGERTY: Rask's first period doesn't give Bruins a chance to win



TIC . . . TAC . . . TOE . . . OH NO



THURSDAY: At Edmonton, 9 p.m. ET (NESN)
SATURDAY: At Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET (NESN)
TUESDAY: At Ottawa, 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.