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Romanov taking it all in at WJHC

Habs defensive prospect says it's a 'great feeling' to represent his country

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - Canadiens defensive prospect Alexander Romanov is taking part in his second IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship this year in the Czech Republic, and is soaking up every minute of it.

The 19-year-old helped his country to a 2-2 record in the preliminary round of action at this year's tournament, and couldn't be more proud to be able to sport his country's colors for another go-round.

"It's always a great feeling to play for your country and trying to help it," shared Romanov, who leads all Russian defensemen with four points (1G, 3A) in as many games. "It's important for me to be able to help my team."

The Canadiens' second-round pick (38th overall) may have been held off the scoresheet in Russia's 6-0 romp over archrival Canada on Saturday, but logged 18:46 of ice time, registering two shots and a plus-3 differential.

Romanov believes that everything that could've gone right for his squad in that game did.

"It just happens when all the shots lead to goals. I don't think this game is super revealing," he explained. It just happened. Luck was on our side."

It's no secret that Romanov is having a strong tournament in his second appearance at the WJHC. He doubled his points haul with two assists in a 6-1 win over Germany on Tuesday and is one of only two Russians to average more than 20 minutes of ice time per game.

Although the tournament might give Habs fans some hope of seeing the 5-foot-11, 185-pound rearguard in Montreal sometime soon, Romanov points out that his focus is on the tournament and on his current gig patrolling the blue line for CSKA Moscow.

"My thoughts are now about WJC and CSKA," declared Romanov, who has four assists and a plus-12 differential in 33 games in the KHL this season. "I have a contract with them and it's important to me to achieve great results with them."

Still, Romanov keeps an eye on the NHL club that drafted him from afar - although he's not giving preferential treatment to any one Hab on the current roster.

"I don't have a favorite player," he admitted. "Although I follow the team and always watch highlights and recaps."

Romanov and Team Russia resume action on Thursday in quarterfinal action against Switzerland at Werk Arena starting at 6:30 a.m. ET.

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