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|20 марта 2007 года.
Alexeev knows he's on the clock // Chicago Tribune
Final 11 games key to his chances of impressing Hawks
By Bob Foltman
Nikita Alexeev learned a valuable lesson this season playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning. As the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NHL draft, Alexeev put pressure on himself to score and live up to the draft expectations.
That doesn't mean Alexeev is going to coast in the hope of finding a scoring touch or a permanent place on an NHL roster. On the contrary, Alexeev knows that the final 11 games, in addition to the seven he has played since coming to the Hawks in a trade-deadline deal, are critical to his future in Chicago.
"I have to make an impression here," he said. "I want to play here next year and if I can make my whole career here, that would be unbelievable. [But] time goes by quick so I have to go hard, 100 percent, every day."
At 6 feet 6 inches, 227 pounds and with some skill, there is a lot to like about Alexeev's raw ability. But it's refining that ability and displaying it night in and night out that Hawks coach Denis Savard wants to see.
Alexeev's best game as a Hawk was Thursday in Los Angeles, where he scored his first goal and added the game-winning goal in the shootout. It's that kind of performance Savard is looking for."I would like to see the consistency," Savard said. "He's going to get a great opportunity as we go along the rest of the year and we'll see what he's got."
On Tuesday in Columbus, Alexeev will play on a line with Martin Havlat and Jeff Hamilton. Considering Havlat and Hamilton are the Hawks' two leading goal-scorers, that would be considered the No. 1 line.
In his first five games as a Hawk, Alexeev was a minus-5 after being a plus-10 in Tampa. His minutes dropped from 17 in his first game to single digits in the next two. Savard said Alexeev's conditioning didn't allow him to play many minutes. Gradually his minutes have increased.
Savard will use the remainder of the season to play Alexeev in every situation to see if he can fill one of the gaping holes among the Hawks' top six forwards.
"Hopefully, he can continue to play like he did in L.A.," Savard said. "If he does, he might be part of our puzzle.
"His skill has to show and he has to put points on the board and get key goals for us."
When asked what he felt he needed to do to make an impression, Alexeev didn't hesitate.
"Be aggressive," he said. "I have to come out on the first shift and finish my checks. When you work hard and be aggressive, good things will come to you."