Alexander Khokhachev

Opposite day: Alexander Khokhlachev running out of patience with Bruins

DJ Bean
September 19, 2015 - 11:16 am
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Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev feels that he is overdue for a job in the NHL. He is not happy with the Bruins for not giving him one. "Boston should make a decision with me," the 2011 second-round pick said on Saturday. "€œI'€™ve waited for my chance already. Two years. I'€™m just still waiting. We'€™ll see. They should make a decision. Give me a chance, or I don'€™t know. We'€™ll see [what] they'€™ll do."€ Khokhlachev, who was taken 40th overall in 2011, has played four games in the NHL over the last two seasons, spending nearly all of his Bruins career in Providence. Asked whether he'€™ll demand a trade if he doesn'€™t make the team this season, he was not definitive, though he said he wouldn'€™t want to stay with the organization if they didn'€™t play him in the NHL. "€œThis is my last year of my contract,"€ he said. "I'€™m 22 already. If they don'€™t give me the chance to play, why am I here? I will not play in Providence all my life. They told me, '€˜Just wait for your chance.'€™ I'€™m still waiting for it." Khokhlachev'€™s words, in addition to being depressing for anyone over the age of 22, were interesting given that his frustration with the B'€™s might go both ways. Having invested a high pick in him, the team is within its rights to be upset that he hasn'€™t taken a job by now. Asked if he'€™s done all that he should have to become an NHLer, Khokhlachev stayed the course. "Yeah, why not?" he responded. "I played in Providence two years and I led them in scoring two years. I think I'€™m playing good. I'€™m not a young guy anymore. I'€™m 22. I think I'€™m ready for the chance." Khokhlachev was given the opportunity (along with Ryan Spooner) to challenge for the team'€™s fourth-line center job last fall. When Khokhlachev turned in an underwhelming preseason, he was returned to Providence. Boston played him for three games in November, though the third game saw him used on a sparingly played fourth line. Khokhlachev was given just 2:53 of ice time in that contest, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins on Nov. 24. "I played two games and the third game I played two minutes," he said of his NHL season. "I don'€™t think that'€™s really a chance. I played fourth line. It doesn'€™t really matter what line I play, but I don'€™t think it'€™s really a chance to be played two games." A left-shot center, the Moscow native has indeed led the Baby B's in points in both 2014-15 (43 points in 61 games) and 2013-14 (57 points in 65 games). Winning a job (or, to stay consistent, being given one) will not be easy. The Bruins' top-nine centers are already set (Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Spooner) while Khokhlachev is part of a large number of players vying for Boston's fourth-line center job. Chris Kelly, Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot are all on one-way contracts, while Khokhlachev's two-way deal and lack of service means he could be sent up and down without waivers and cost less if he's in the AHL. Unlike Kelly, Rinaldo and Talbot, Khokhlachev cannot play wing. Khokhlachev has centered Loui Eriksson and Jake DeBrusk in the first two days of camp. Khokhlachev, whose father is the general manager of a KHL team, could return home to play in Russia if he decides to leave North America after this season. From his words, he seems to believe he gave the Bruins two years of AHL service in exchange for an eventual spot in the pros, which isn't exactly how it works. He would prefer the NHL over the KHL, where he played unsuccessfully in 2012. "My dream is NHL and I want to play there," he said, "but if Boston will not give me the chance, I can't do anything."