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12-15-2012, 12:25 AM
a new era
Join Date: Jun 2007
Prior to the trade, Rouyn-Noranda had dropped five consecutive games, including two in a row by a score of 8-3. Kucherov, meanwhile, has elevated his game and has seemed to fit right in to his new surroundings as he emerges as a great talent at the Canadian junior level.
“The first couple of games, I didn’t feel very comfortable,” Kucherov said. “Now it’s getting better. I feel great.”
Since joining Rouyn-Noranda, Kucherov has collected six goals and 12 points in just seven games to go along with a plus-six rating. His goal output is double what it was as a member of the Remparts, while his point total is two better than that with his former club.
“He’s a top-end player who has all the tools to really be something special and make an impact at the next level,” Huskies bench boss Andre Tourigny said. “He’s got a tremendous skill set and I would say he’s one of the top two or three players in his age group.”
“The game is faster here, the rink is smaller and there is a lot more hitting and a stronger emphasis on playing defense,” Kucherov said. “I came here to learn the NHL style. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity in Russia, and if I stayed, I wouldn’t be able to make a difference.”
“Nikita made it evident he wanted to play in North America when we spoke to him at the NHL combine,” Murray added. “We thought it was a reasonable selection in the second round with his talent level and what we expected was a genuine interest in coming over.”
“I want to play in the NHL one day,” Kucherov added. “That is my only goal, and to learn English.”
"I like to take each step of the process to make sure I'm ready to play," Wilcox said. "Get a good base, good experience, get the confidence at each level and keep building."
Wilcox, 20, is 10-2-3 in 16 games for No. 3 Minnesota with 944 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time that is fifth in Division I. His 1.78 goals-against average is eighth — and third among freshmen — and he has two shutouts.
"Tremendous athletic ability," Johnson said. "Even when he misreads a play, he's able to react back to the puck."
"And he makes big saves, timely saves," Lightning goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said. "That's the X factor everybody is looking for."
At 6 feet, 186 pounds, Wilcox is not big, especially for the size-obsessed NHL. But Jean said he compensates with "really good" foot movement and positioning.
And a "tremendous glove," Johnson said.
Wilcox, though, was quick to note the contributions of his teammates.
"Our forwards are stacked, and we have the best (defense)," he said. "That gave me a lot of confidence coming in, knowing that even if I did give up one or two (goals), they have my back for the rest of the game."
"It's still All In to me dammit." - Felonious Python
Last edited by TheDaysOf 04: 12-15-2012 at
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