Capitals

Capitals

Hershey, Pa. -- Not much seems to phase Capitals prospect Alex Alexeyev. Off the ice you can almost always find the 19-year-old defenseman with a smile on his face. On the ice he has already earned a role on the top-pair in his first professional season with the Hershey Bears.

But if there is one person that gets under Alexeyev’s skin, it is Josh Healey.

Alexeyev came to Capitals training camp in August and looked poised to compete for the roster spot left open by Michal Kempny’s injury. He never got the chance after Healey connected with a hit to the head of Alexeyev in the Prospects Showcase.

Healey, 25, a minor league player who currently plays for the Milwaukee Admirals, delivered a high hit to Alexeyev very late in the second period of a game between the Caps and Nashville Predators prospects. Alexeyev suffered a concussion on the play and did not return for the rest of the tournament or play at all in the Caps' preseason.

Yeah, Alexeyev is still mad about it.

“It's terrible. How old is this guy, like 26 years old?” Alexeyev said of the hit. ”I think there was like two seconds (left) of the second period and then just go straight to your head, it's stupid. This player shouldn't play hockey. If you want to do something like this go to beer league or something, but it's not at this level.”

 

The concussion was especially frustrating considering Alexeyev's WHL career was brought to an end by a knee-on-knee hit in March that ended his season with Red Deer.

But he did not get discouraged from the two bad hits or from being robbed of a chance to compete to start the season in the NHL. He battled back to return for the start of the AHL season where he scored his first professional goal in the first shift of his first game.

“It felt awesome,” Alexeyev said. “Had how many months, like six or something off, to not playing and first goal, first shift, unbelievable feeling. I think it's fired me up for the rest of this season so it feel better now.”

The key to coming back was keeping his positive attitude.

As mad as Alexeyev may still be about the hit from Healey, he never got frustrated or down about two two injuries in just a few months and just worked to return as soon as he could.

“It's hockey. Injuries happen,” Alexyev said. “I don't know how to answer, but I can tell you this, tough time (don’t) last long, tough people do.”

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