Alexander Nikulin's Blog Part II
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12-07-2007, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Wasnít given a chance.
December 7, 2007.
My second game in the National Hockey League was against Philadelphia, though I canít brag about it. I played just over four minutes and simply didnít have time to do anything. Although I already was feeling a lot more confident. But I wasnít given a chance, even though I thought I was doing okay. Prior to the game I was a little anxious, of course, especially after such an unlucky first game, but I wasnít panicked.
The next day I worked at practice, and then met up with Ottawaís GM Bryan Murray. He explained that I was going back to Binghamton. But I stayed in Ottawa two more days. Problems with the US visa arose, and a team representative was helping me extend it. Didnít feel like going out, so whenever I had free time I stayed in the hotel. They didnít send me to Binghamton in a limousine, but still a nice car. To be honest, for the kind of hockey I displayed they couldíve sent me back on a public bus.
Iíve thought a lot about my recall to Ottawa. In the first game I certainly gave into emotions. As I talked about before, I just ďburned outĒ and wasnít able to show everything I was capable of. And in the second game I played too little. I believe I just need time and trust for adaptation. I experienced the same in the AHL and now feel confident in the new league. But in Ottawa I had no room for error, which is difficult for any rookie.
I canít say there were certain things I couldnít do. Speed in the NHL is not faster than in the AHL. The main difference is the puck-handling technique, higher performance skill. They make very few mistakes.
Iím hoping theyíll give me one more chance this season. I know what to work on, what to do to raise the bar. And in the future everything will depend on my game. But nevertheless I received a good lesson. The callup to the NHL and the return to Binghamton is a great psychological endurance test. Obviously, I didnít want to go back. And at first I felt ill at ease. Wasnít upset with anyone, but I wonít lie, I was disappointed. Everything is fine now.
They love the game in Ottawa. Everyone says hockey is a religion in Canada, and having been there during the regular season I will agree. Sold-out arenas, lots of people after the game. Although I have a feeling that the same people are asking for autographs. But we donít deny anybody.
The defenseman Anton Volchenkov got injured. But Iím not surprised. He blocks all the shots! Not afraid of anything! He acts selflessly. By the way, we had dinner together when I was up with the team, we talked. Iím wishing Anton a speedy recovery.
Iím back in the apartment I was renting with Ilja Zubov. Thankfully he hadnít rented my room out, left everything as it was. Thank you, Ilja. I got right back to work. The very first game upon returning I played very well against Bridgeport, where our team won 4-0, and I scored a goal and had three assists. Two days later I received another point.
I was put right back into the first line, and overall Iím spending a lot of time on the ice. Iím playing not just the first but also the third line. I donít go out in penalty-killing situations, but Iím constantly out for power-plays. Intensive game experience wonít hurt.
Last edited by ThirtyFive: 01-02-2008 at
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