Earlier this month, 22-year-old Yury Alexandrov
participated in his second development camp with the Boston Bruins.
The Russian native was originally selected by the B's in the 2nd round of the 2006 entry draft (37th overall) but the 6’0”, 185 pound defenseman played the last five seasons with his hometown club, the KHL's Cherepovets Severstal, and also played for team Russia in the 2007 and 2008 World Junior Championships.
Last season in the KHL, Alexandrov set career highs in games played, goals and assists last season after recording 6-15-21 totals in 56 games.
Being a Russian native, Yury faced a language barrier when communicating with the coaching staff and other prospects at development camp.
“It would be much better if I knew English, and I want to.” said Alexandrov through a translator. “It is difficult, but the guys help. They prompt me and we speak with gestures. In general, we understand each other in the moments we need to.”
Don Sweeney, Boston's assistant general manager, agreed with Alexandrov's assessment.
“Once he is on the ice I think he feels most comfortable and that’s a good thing," said Sweeney, who is also a former B's defenseman. "There will be systematic things and nuances that he’s going to have to figure out be it through watching, or we have Victor Telagaini [a skills coach in Providence who acts as Yury’s translator] that helps.
“That has certainly been a big, big help for us in communication [with Alexandrov] through the whole signing process and getting Yury to understand where we’re at to where we think his development is at.”
This year it seemed to take him a day or two to get into the swing of things -- after all he endured a very long flight and faced cultural adversities all week long -- but Alexandrov was just happy to be in Wilmington.
“It is a very good camp, I like it," said Alexandrov in Russian. "Like last year, everything is good."
Like all of the returnees to Dev Camp, Yury had to complete the rigorous work of "The Program" and the B's normal physical fitness testing. And only then did he and his fellow campers get to take the ice.
“It seems to me that it became three times more difficult than last year -- but it is not worse, it is even better," he said. "I like that it is three times harder.
"It is very satisfying and I am happy to be here.”
The Bruins were very happy to have him, as well.
“He has played in the KHL and that’s a really good league," said Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli at the conclusion of camp. "He has to get stronger, but he has a really good head on his shoulders, a good hockey sense.
"[As a defenseman] his gap is really good and he has a good stick.
“All those little things come with playing at such a high level.
"It’s going to take him a while but the fact that he’s been over here two years in a row is encouraging.”---Samantha Curtin