WILMINGTON, Mass. — He’s been slowly learning English by taking a class twice a week ever since he left his native Russia to play for Windsor of the OHL last season.
But it didn’t take long for Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev learn what’s funny in North America. Just watch this local Subway restaurant commercial from Windsor:
The Bruins’ 2011 second-round pick — who’s fine being known as “KoKo” to spare people having to say his last name — says that the spot got laughs on two continents.
“It’s really funny,” he explained today after the third day of on-ice activity at the Bruins’ fifth annual development camp at Ristuccia Aren. “When I just come to Windsor, I was a couple months there, I didn’t really learn English so it’s really funny. … Many guys have seen it [in Russia] and they’re laughing. They don’t understand what I’m [saying]. I said I’m not understanding it either.”
Khoklachev’s English has improved over time, while his hockey skills have blossomed. He ripped off 76 points in 67 games for Windsor last season, which impressed the Bruins enough to use the 40th pick overall on the 18-year-old. Khokhlachev will have to go back to juniors if he doesn’t make the big club in the fall. But that’s still a ways off in the future. For now, Khokhlachev is enjoying his time in his first NHL-sponsored camp.
“I think everybody has a lot of skills and every practice is better and better every day. So it’s just a great time,” he said.
Just like his adjustment to English and Canadian commercials, Khokhlachev should improve quickly.
“Watching some of the in-tight drills, especially the small-ice games, he’s got excellent hands in tight,” said Providence (AHL) head coach Bruce Cassidy, who’s been running the on-ice hockey drills. “He freezes goaltenders. He gets pucks up in tight. So certainly the skill and goal-scoring ability’s there.
“His conditioning needs to get better. But what usually happens, these young guys, it’s an eye-opener. I don’t think they truly realize how good a shape professional players are. So he’ll get that part of it down. I like his instincts around the net.”
As you can see in this video, there’s more to like about Khokhlachev than his love of Subway sandwiches: