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Alexander Khokhlachev hopes to stick with Bruins after latest recall 12.16.15 at 12:47 pm ET
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Alex Khokhlachev

Alex Khokhlachev

Zac Rinaldo’€™s upper-body injury prompted the Bruins to recall forward Alexander Khokhlachev, marking the 2011 second-round pick’€™s latest callup to Boston.

Khokhlachev, who led the Providence Bruins in points the last two seasons and expressed frustration during training camp with the B’€™s not giving him a full-time job in the NHL, played two games for Boston in early November. He suffered a hand injury that required surgery shortly after being returned to Providence, however, making him unavailable to the B’€™s when they might have otherwise used him.

“Any guy that gets injured I think is not happy with that,” Khokhlachev said Wednesday. “It’€™s just part of the game. I [wasn’€™t] out for a long time. I healed and I’€™m ready to play right now.”

A natural center, Khokhlachev has played mostly wing for Providence this season. He has six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 17 games in the AHL.

At 22, Khokhlachev feels he is overdue to stay in the NHL for good. He’€™s done the up-and-down routine that Ryan Spooner did last season before ultimately getting a permanent job, and he hopes to have the same fate as his former Providence teammate.

“I’€™m pretty sure if I play really good, they will keep me,” he said. “It’€™s all about me, how I will play.”

Claude Julien did not commit to whether Khokhlachev would play on Wednesday against the Penguins. The Bruins did not have a full morning skate, making Wednesday’€™s lineup unclear.

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Alexander Khokhlachev out 4-6 weeks after finger surgery 11.11.15 at 1:04 pm ET
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Alex Khokhlachev

Alex Khokhlachev

WILMINGTON — David Pastrnak isn’€™t the only young Bruins forward who has received bad injury news this week, as B’€™s general manager Don Sweeney said Wednesday said that Providence forward Alexander Khokhlachev will miss approximately four to six weeks with a finger injury.

After jumping out to lead the AHL in points through 10 games, Khokhlachev was called up for a two-game stint with the B’€™s last week. He suffered his injury in his first game back with Providence on Saturday, requiring surgery.

“He went up to Utica and fell on his hand, and he had a fracture, a small crack in his little finger, so he had surgery to put a pin in and stabilize that,” Sweeney said. “His timeframe — everybody’€™s different, but it’€™s probably four to six.”

This marks an undoubtedly frustrating development for a player who has been open with his frustrations with his role in the Bruins organization. Khokhlachev, 22, vented in the preseason about the Bruins not giving him the chance to be an NHL player. With this injury, he’€™ll have to wait even longer.

Khokhlachev, a second-round pick of the Bruins in the 2011 draft, is in the final year of his entry-level contract. He has led Providence in points in each of the last two seasons.

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Bruins recall Alexander Khokhlachev from Providence, David Pastrnak misses morning skate 11.03.15 at 10:25 am ET
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Alex Khokhlachev

Alex Khokhlachev

The Bruins have recalled forward Alexander Khokhlachev from Providence, with the 22-year-old forward participating in Tuesday’s morning skate. A center who has played wing this season, Khokhlachev is tied for the AHL lead with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) over 10 games for Providence.

Claude Julien said that David Pastrnak will not play Tuesday night against the Stars, citing a blocked shot that hit Pastrnak in the foot last Tuesday as the reason. Pastrnak played Friday and Saturday, but Julien said the 19-year-old forward was still not comfortable. As such, Loui Eriksson moved to right wing and Khokhlachev slotted in on David Krejci‘s right Tuesday morning. The lineup at morning skate was as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Connolly
Khokhlachev-Krejci-Eriksson
Belesekey-Spooner-Hayes
Kelly-Kemppainen-Rinaldo

Chara-Colin Miller
Krug-McQuaid
Morrow-Kevan Miller

Rask

The 40th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Khokhlachev is in his third full season in the Boston organization. He has played in just four games in his NHL career, with the 22-year-old expressing frustration with the organization’€™s use of him during training camp.

“Boston should make a decision with me,”€ he said. “I’€™€™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.”€

Added Khokhlachev: “This is my last year of my contract. 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.”

After Tuesday’s morning skate, Khokhlachev either danced around or politely declined comment on his preseason comments, expressing gratitude for his most recent chance with the B’s. Given that he’ll likely play with the team’s two best forwards so far this season in Krejci and Eriksson, he’d have no reason not to be happy.

“[Krejci]’s a great player. He can see the ice really well. I mean, you can say lots of good things about him,” Khokhlachev said. “Loui is really good, too, so it will be a really good opportunity for me to play with these two guys.”

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Alexander Khokhlachev, Brian Ferlin among latest Bruins cuts 10.01.15 at 6:22 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

The Bruins announced another round of cuts Thursday evening, with Alexander Khokhlachev the biggest name among those headed to Providence.

Also released from camp were Brian Ferlin, Anton Blidh, Chris Breen, Brandon DeFazio, Ben Sexton and Tommy Cross. Breen, DeFazio and Sexton were previously cut from camp but recalled for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Rangers. Cross must first clear waivers before he can be assigned to Providence.

With Thursday’s cuts, the Bruins now have 27 players (including the injured Seth Griffith, Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara) on their roster, though goaltender Jonas Gustavsson remains in camp on a professional tryout.

Khokhlachev’s assignment to Providence is the latest step in what’s been a frustrating tenure with the Bruins. After being chosen early in the second round of the 2011 draft (40th overall), the Russian center has performed well in the AHL but has underwhelmed in pro camps. Clearly a skilled player who figures to be an NHL player before long, he raised questions about his attitude when he recently expressed his unhappiness with where he stands in the organization.

“€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, who has led Providence in points in each of the last two seasons, played just three NHL games last season. When speaking out recently, he pointed to his lack of ice time (2:53 in his last game on Nov. 24) in saying the team has not given him a chance to prove himself in the NHL.

Asked about Khokhlachev prior to the announcement of Thursday’s cuts, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the team feels he still needs to make improvements in the AHL.

“All players are entitled to their opinion,” Sweeney said. “I feel that Alexander has a tremendous upside skill-wise. He still has a lot to learn away from the puck. He needs to go through these experiences, and he’€™s only 22 years old. Looking at the big picture for all our young players, they’€™ll determine when they’€™re ready to play and when they can help us at the National Hockey League level. I do believe he’€™s a player that can step in, and whether or not he can play up and down the lineup sort of remains to be seen.

“But we want him to continue to work hard to fill in those gaps, be it faceoffs and there are small details of the game that show up in the scoresheet each night. … There’€™s just little areas of the game that everybody as a young player needs to go through, experience and then come out the other side of it better. He wants to advocate for himself, so I don’€™t blame him for that.”

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Bruins roster projection: Which forward is odd man out? 09.27.15 at 11:19 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

With another round of cuts in the books, here’€™s a (still somewhat early) roster projection for the Bruins:

Forwards (13): Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Ryan Spooner, Chris Kelly, Brad Marchand, Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Zac Rinaldo, Loui Eriksson, David Pastrnak, Brett Connolly, Max Talbot, Joonas Kemppainen

Boston’s top nine forwards (in no particular order/alignment) are already locked in. It’s the fourth line and 13th forward where things get tricky.

A line of Chris Kelly between Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot could potentially be infuriating to play against (Kelly gets under his opponents’ skin enough to draw a good number of undisciplined penalties, Talbot is a pest and Rinaldo is Rinaldo), but it would lack skill. The B’€™s could try Alexander Khokhlachev on the fourth line to remedy that, but that likely wouldn’€™t happen unless the B’€™s were to trade Kelly, who is due $3 million against the cap.

Given what a tough time veteran forwards had finding jobs this summer, the guess is the Bruins would have difficulty trading the 34-year-old center this time of year even if they wanted to.

As such, assume for now that Kelly isn’€™t going anywhere and that Khokhlachev is the odd man out. Kelly and Talbot provide upgrades over Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, so the B’€™s should hope to ice a better fourth line than they had last season.

Pushing for a job, however, is Kemppainen, a defensive forward who comes to the NHL as a 27-year-old after playing his entire professional career in Finland. To this point, Kemppainen has been put on lines this preseason with Rinaldo and Talbot more than Kelly has. That could simply be because the Bruins feel they already know what they have in Kelly, though giving him some reps with Rinaldo couldn’€™t hurt.

Early guess at lines:  Read the rest of this entry »

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Opposite day: Alexander Khokhlachev running out of patience with Bruins 09.19.15 at 3:16 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

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.”

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Bruins recall F Alexander Khokhlachev from Providence 11.21.14 at 1:12 pm ET
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The Bruins called up forward Alexander Khokhlachev from AHL Providence on an emergency basis so that he will be eligible for Friday’s road game against the Blue Jackets.

Khokhlachev, a 5-foot-11, 184-pounder, has a team-high five goals along with 11 assists and a plus-2 rating.

The 21-year-old from Moscow was selected by the Bruins in the second round of the 2011 draft.

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