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|19 сентября 2006
So Far, So Good For Alexeev // The Tampa Tribune
By ERIK ERLENDSSON
BRANDON - Nikita Alexeev drifted off into the nether regions of hockey, nearly to the brink where former first-round picks fail to live up to expectations.
After spending four years in the Lightning organization, he returned home to Russia last season. While spending the season in Omsk, he never gave up the thought of returning to the Lightning and vice-versa.
"We have never given up hope in him," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said.
So Feaster had little hesitation in bringing back the former No. 8 overall pick in the 2000 draft. Two years removed from his last Lightning training camp, Alexeev is back with one mission in mind - to earn a spot on an NHL roster.
"I think it's a good opportunity, and I'm not going to let it go," Alexeev said. "I've worked my [tail] off, and now I want it more. I want to be a leader, I want to score more, I want to help the team, I want to feel what the guys felt when they won the Stanley Cup, it's unbelievable. I want to be a winner."
During conditioning drills, Alexeev showed his commitment to being ready. Through three days of scrimmages he leads all scorers with eight points and is tied for the lead with four goals while playing on a line with Andreas Karlsson and Ryan Craig.
"I don't want to get too far ahead in assessing before we get into these exhibition [games] but give him his credit, he has played very well and I think he has prepared himself very well for this camp," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "To me that's the most important notion in my mind that I think he has come to camp prepared."
Two years ago, Alexeev was given an opportunity to earn a spot on a line with Vinny Lecavalier at the start of camp. He failed to impress and was sent to the minors.
But now, with the new style of play in the NHL, Alexeev's speed and skill to go with his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame could make him a key player on a team searching for offense in its bottom lines.
"I think he's realizing that he's got to be ready, he's got to play to his full potential and he's doing that right now, he's got to keep it going," said Lecavalier, who works out with Alexeev in Montreal. "If he wants to play, he's got the talent to do it. He's got the talent to be a top player."
He's been given the opportunity once again to showcase that talent.
"You don't get too many second and third opportunities from this game," Tortorella said. "I just hope he steps up and takes it because it's a great situation, especially with the way the game is being played right now."
Страничка Никиты Алексеева на
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13 сентября. Stint in Russia gave Alexeev strength
13 сентября. Stint in Russia gave Alexeev strength // St.Peterburgh Times