Boston Bruins: Claude Julien Responds To Alex Khokhlachev

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Yesterday, Alexander Khokhlachev chose to draw the ire of the Boston Bruins organization. The young Russian expressed his frustration over being passed over for a center position in Boston.

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“I’ve been waiting two years so [the Bruins] should make a decision,” said the slightly exasperated Russian. “Give me a chance [in the NHL] or…I don’t know. We’ll see what they do. I’m not a young guy anymore. I’m 22 already(I’m sure Jaromir Jagr feels his pain.),” said Khokhlachev. “If they don’t give me a chance to play while I’m here…I won’t play in Providence all of my life. I’m still waiting for [my chance].”

This morning, Boston Bruins head coach responded to Khokhlachev’s compalint. Claude Julien has been accused in the past of favoring his veterans over young players. His sending down Ryan Spooner last season was a big part of that. Still, the Bruins bench boss felt the need to defend the organization’s decisions regarding the young Russian players’ opinion.

“I don’t think we’ve ever deprived anybody from getting a fair shot,” said Claude Julien. “There’s a lot more to hockey than just stats. We have to do our jobs in giving these guys a fair shot, and they have to do the job to earn themselves a fair shot.

“I liked how he played in the [AHL] playoffs last year. He was a real gritty player. I thought he was one of their best players. That doesn’t go unnoticed. But it’s not about giving ultimatums. It’s more about going out there, doing a job and giving the guys that deserve [it] a chance.”

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  • A lot of this has to fall on the feet of the young Russian. At the start of the 2014-15 season, Khokhlachev was expected to beat out Gregory Campbell for the fourth line center job for the Bruins. Khokhlachev didn’t perform well enough during training camp to take the job from the former Merlot Man. Even with injuries inflicted upon the Bruins, the Boston front office was reluctant to call him up, instead going to Ryan Spooner. (Ryan Spooner was still the best possible choice at the time.)

    Even with Khokhlachev’s comments, the Bruins aren’t ruling out still giving the 22-year old his shot. Khokhlachev is slated to be the Bruins’ third line center in tonight’s preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. He’ll be paired with 2015 first round pick Jake DeBrusk and fellow perennial Providence player Seth Griffith.

    Khokhlachev is the first player to buck the Don Sweeney administration. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Even if he has a strong training camp, his recent remarks may have been the straw that broke the Bruins’ back. At best, he’s fourth on the center depth chart. The Bruins may hope that the young Russian has a strong camp in order to raise his value in a trade to another team.

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