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Alexander Nikulin's Blog Part II

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Old
09-24-2008, 06:15 PM
  #651
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirtyFive View Post
He didn't even play a single preseason game! No fair!
Let's make a petition.

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09-24-2008, 06:52 PM
  #652
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Tim Murray was interviewed in the first intermission and said that they were disappointed with Nikulin's conditioning. Murray said they have high expectations for Nikulin, seeing him as a poor man's Jason Spezza, but that he has a lot to learn about preparing for the North American style of game.

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09-24-2008, 06:54 PM
  #653
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Tim Murray just told Mendes on Rogers that Nikulin was sent down because they weren't happy with his physical conditioning having arrived in camp. He said that Nikulin told them he worked hard, but Murray insinuated that they don't work hard enough on conditioning over the summer in Russia.

Didn't sound good.

EDIT: damn beat me to it!

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09-24-2008, 07:12 PM
  #654
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Originally Posted by Germz View Post
EDIT: damn beat me to it!
So, like, you owe me a coke?

It's too bad to hear about Nikulin, since obviously he thought he'd worked hard enough. At least know he knows what's required of him, & hopefully he'll take that to heart. It's clear from his blog he's had a hard time figuring out what they want from him.

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09-24-2008, 09:18 PM
  #655
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This all stems back to lack of communication on part of the Senators' organisation. A player thinks he works out extremely hard over the summer, but it's insufficient in the mind of the team. So why not set out a detailed workout plan at the end of the season, rather than leave a rookie to his own devices and be disappointed when he doesn't meet an unclear standard?

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09-24-2008, 09:23 PM
  #656
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Originally Posted by moz View Post
This all stems back to lack of communication on part of the Senators' organisation. A player thinks he works out extremely hard over the summer, but it's insufficient in the mind of the team. So why not set out a detailed workout plan at the end of the season, rather than leave a rookie to his own devices and be disappointed when he doesn't meet an unclear standard?
The player also has to show some initiative and ask what he needs to do. These guys are supposed to be adults now, and if they aren't sure what is expected of them it is up to them to figure it out.

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09-24-2008, 09:25 PM
  #657
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Nikulin, or his agent, apparently felt it was beneath him having to show up for rookie camp, didnt think he had to prove anything anymore, felt he was better served working out with Gonchar who was really putting them thorugh their paces back in russia. Ya, communication problem, right, its not his fault. Just him and Kaigs that have this problem it seems.

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09-24-2008, 09:30 PM
  #658
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Originally Posted by obsenssive View Post
The player also has to show some initiative and ask what he needs to do. These guys are supposed to be adults now, and if they aren't sure what is expected of them it is up to them to figure it out.
Nikulin figures it out by working out with Hart and Norris candidates. If you aren't sure what training regime will be ideal, why not follow the one of two peers at the peak of their game?

If it is not sufficient, the Senators need to make that clear when he can do something about it, not after he's completed all his off-season training.

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09-24-2008, 09:45 PM
  #659
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Originally Posted by moz View Post
Nikulin figures it out by working out with Hart and Norris candidates. If you aren't sure what training regime will be ideal, why not follow the one of two peers at the peak of their game?

If it is not sufficient, the Senators need to make that clear when he can do something about it, not after he's completed all his off-season training.
Agreed. The whole of Nikulin's blog is a testiment to how little direction the club has given him (it's interesting that he performed better in the fitness tests this year, but still wasn't where the club wanted him to be). Zubov, for instance, didn't stay at the organisation's suggestion, but instead that of his agent. I can only hope that they told Nikulin why he was being sent down and what he needs to do to make them happy.

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09-24-2008, 09:46 PM
  #660
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moz View Post
This all stems back to lack of communication on part of the Senators' organisation. A player thinks he works out extremely hard over the summer, but it's insufficient in the mind of the team. So why not set out a detailed workout plan at the end of the season, rather than leave a rookie to his own devices and be disappointed when he doesn't meet an unclear standard?
The development camp that he didn't have much use for is viewed by the organization as their forum for providing a physical training and skills development plan.

This is Nikulin's entry after that camp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirtyFive View Post
Never started this early.
July 10, 2008.


...

We had an army-like schedule. Wake up at 7, breakfast, and right away to the gym. After that a meeting, lunch, and then everyone was transported to an arena for a two-hour training session. You know, I maintained my form during the offseason, I had even skated. But turned out that wasn’t enough. Not enough at all.

Anyway, I would get to the hotel at 5 PM, and had difficulty getting to the bed. At first my legs even hurt, like someone’s who started doing exercise after a long break. Later I got into it, of course. But it was still tough.

...

As far as Russian players, besides me there were Ilja Zubov and Ruslan Bashkirov. A few more guys from the farm, but for the most part they gathered all the prospects. Either those just drafted, or those that are in the system and just starting to crack the lineup. On the whole, I didn’t have much to do here, but since I was told I had to come, I couldn’t decline. Although I’ve never started this early. And don’t really see much point to it. But the Canadians, it seems, never rest. I’ve heard they train five times a week during the summer. And this was obvious, by the way. Everyone’s ready, everyone’s running.

Had to run a lot, too. And not just run, but with a parachute on the back or a trainer holding you back with an elastic belt. Like I said, everything is serious. As if the season starts in less than a month.

...

Then they gave out surveys, asking stuff like “Do you like Ottawa?” It was obvious these were made for the young guys. I have no use for them. Another time they showed a highlight reel of Senators goals. I guess that’s what they do in Canada.

Now I’ll come back to Ottawa in August. And I will arrive a hundred percent ready, because I’ll be starting training in St. Petersburg with Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, and Alexander Radulov. Maybe someone else will join.

You have to train a lot before an NHL season.
Does this sound like someone who is going to rigourously follow the instructions, or someone who will go his own way and do the same workouts as some extremely skilled players who have already earned NHL spots and can afford to round into form during training camp.

Heck, he doesn't even mention the instructions. And he seems to have a somewhat bemused opinion of the work ethic shown by the other prospects.

I think his next blog entry will be very telling. If he realizes he screwed up then he's got a chance to turn this around. If he complains and displays even a little bit of an attitude of entitlement then he's probably gone at the end of the year.

I wonder if Zubov could do a blog? ;-)

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09-24-2008, 09:52 PM
  #661
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moz View Post
Nikulin figures it out by working out with Hart and Norris candidates. If you aren't sure what training regime will be ideal, why not follow the one of two peers at the peak of their game?

If it is not sufficient, the Senators need to make that clear when he can do something about it, not after he's completed all his off-season training.
I don't see how that excuses him from not asking for advice from the organization he belongs to instead of two unrelated (other than the fact that they are Russian) players.

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09-24-2008, 09:57 PM
  #662
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I'm not trying to defend Nikulin, if he trained poorly by his own choice, by half-assing it, or by ignoring advice of management and the conditioning staff, that's his fault. I'm not saying the Senators need to hold his hand. But if it's a matter of ignorance, I'd prefer that the team clarify the situation for him, rather than make it a simple case of disappointment and demotion. As an organisation, you want to give prospects the best advice, guidance and perhaps monitoring you can, to make sure they reach their potential. Obviously everything that is going on with Nikulin is not being exposed to the fanbase, but it is imperative that they are at least communicating to Nikulin (and other prospects) what their weaknesses are and what they specifically can do to fix them.

I just can't imagine a franchise being able to fully and properly nurture prospects with minimal communication.

If they did fully and properly communicate his off-season requirements, and clarify the means required to carry them out, then of course the blame rest squarely on the shoulders of Nikulin.


Last edited by moz: 09-24-2008 at 10:03 PM.
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09-24-2008, 10:02 PM
  #663
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I don't see how that excuses him from not asking for advice from the organization he belongs to instead of two unrelated (other than the fact that they are Russian) players.
We don't know what he did or did not ask, nor what the Senators did or did not tell him, nor will we ever.

We can only work on the information we have, which is that Nikulin he came into the development camp far behind the preparatory curve, and was shocked at the amount of training already done by his North American peers. He then went back to Russia and trained with two superstars at a level that he believed was beyond satisfactory. Whether it was satisfactory or not rests solely in the eyes of the Senators and their conditioning staff, and when Nikulin returned to North America he was told hit was not up to par.

It is not excusing him from anything, it's just trying to figure out what caused the disconnect between the level of training Nikulin thought he was undergoing, and the results the Senators saw.

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09-24-2008, 10:06 PM
  #664
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Originally Posted by RTWAP View Post
The development camp that he didn't have much use for is viewed by the organization as their forum for providing a physical training and skills development plan.

This is Nikulin's entry after that camp.



Does this sound like someone who is going to rigourously follow the instructions, or someone who will go his own way and do the same workouts as some extremely skilled players who have already earned NHL spots and can afford to round into form during training camp.

Heck, he doesn't even mention the instructions. And he seems to have a somewhat bemused opinion of the work ethic shown by the other prospects.

I think his next blog entry will be very telling. If he realizes he screwed up then he's got a chance to turn this around. If he complains and displays even a little bit of an attitude of entitlement then he's probably gone at the end of the year.

I wonder if Zubov could do a blog? ;-)
And one thing that is not being mentioned, Nikulin has Volchenkov as a recourse that could have been utilized more effectively as conduit of information on the Sens organization, the purpose of development camp, and the expectations of summer conditioning.

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09-24-2008, 10:06 PM
  #665
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Originally Posted by moz View Post
We don't know what he did or did not ask, nor what the Senators did or did not tell him, nor will we ever.

We can only work on the information we have, which is that Nikulin he came into the development camp far behind the preparatory curve, and was shocked at the amount of training already done by his North American peers. He then went back to Russia and trained with two superstars at a level that he believed was beyond satisfactory. Whether it was satisfactory or not rests solely in the eyes of the Senators and their conditioning staff, and when Nikulin returned to North America he was told hit was not up to par.

It is not excusing him from anything, it's just trying to figure out what caused the disconnect between the level of training Nikulin thought he was undergoing, and the results the Senators saw.
I see what you mean.

Also, aren't the Senators considered to be one of the best conditioned teams in the league? Maybe that's why the workouts that Gonchar and Malkin were satisfactory for the Penguins, but not good enough for the Sens?

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09-24-2008, 10:09 PM
  #666
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My point is this: Nikulin is an asset for the team. The Sens consider him highly. They should want to develop him to the fullest, even if he's going to be traded for a different asset. It's perfectly clear he was not given a specific fitness/health plan at the development camp--why not give him one? The Sens don't read his blog, which is remarkable, as it manifestly shows he needs some direction. They should do what they did with Volchenkov by enforcing English lessons (it's comical to think of the AHL coaching staff talking to him all last season with him having no clue what they were saying). Sometimes it requires a little work from the team to get the most out of its players--a little structure wouldn't hurt him.

Moz above makes an even better, cogent argument above.

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09-24-2008, 10:12 PM
  #667
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Originally Posted by petelevi View Post
My point is this: Nikulin is an asset for the team. The Sens consider him highly. They should want to develop him to the fullest, even if he's going to be traded for a different asset. It's perfectly clear he was not given a specific fitness/health plan at the development camp--why not give him one? The Sens don't read his blog, which is remarkable, as it manifestly shows he needs some direction. They should do what they did with Volchenkov by enforcing English lessons (it's comical to think of the AHL coaching staff talking to him all last season with him having no clue what they were saying). Sometimes it requires a little work from the team to get the most out of its players--a little structure wouldn't hurt him.
How do you know this?

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09-24-2008, 10:14 PM
  #668
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This all stems back to lack of communication on part of the Senators' organisation.
I dont necessarily want to defend the organization, but the only time i've heard this complaint is either :when a soft russian couldnt make the team, or just in general when they talk about how hard it is for rookies to make an nhl team.

For as long as i can remember, players have complained about a lack of communication from the organization. Often that is a role their agents do for them now too. The nhl doest coddle, especially non core players. For many rookies, the difference between playing a few hundred games or an ahl career is just someone giving them a break.

Its interesting that Tim Murray called him a kind of spezza light. Cause Spez was subjected to a very similar treatment. Being told he was a boy not a man. And spez thinking he had done everything they asked of him. The detailed plan Randy Lee left for him for one

But spez handled it a bit differently too. No complaints about communication problems or passing the blame. Just hard work.

Im guessing, now that Nikulin has seen what is needed, there is no communication needed. He should know what is needed.

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09-24-2008, 11:24 PM
  #669
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This is kind of an unrelated note, but when did Randy Lee leave the organization? I just noticed that he was gone when I was at the game on Sat.

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09-25-2008, 12:08 AM
  #670
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This is kind of an unrelated note, but when did Randy Lee leave the organization? I just noticed that he was gone when I was at the game on Sat.
Lee is still with the organisation, but he's now the Director of Player Development.

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09-25-2008, 01:51 AM
  #671
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at least we're not stuckwith kyle wellwood! anybody seen a picture of HIM?

now THAT's ou of shape!

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09-25-2008, 03:09 AM
  #672
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at least we're not stuckwith kyle wellwood! anybody seen a picture of HIM?

now THAT's ou of shape!
Ya, he's almost in forum posting shape.

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09-25-2008, 06:56 AM
  #673
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Well, we could only judge Nikulin's progress in the game. Not giving him even one game, I could read something more. They just do not care about the guy, who will go back to Russia tomorrow or even today, that's what I hear. The same goes for Zubov, who is the most talented guy after the big three on the team. I wish Sens would just trade Nikulin and Zubov for nothing as they did with Demitra and Straka. So the guys could have a great career in the organisations where they treat prospects with respect and guidance in the right direction. What if they would alienate Spezza and he would asked for a trade?? I would say fire the idiot BM.

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09-25-2008, 07:10 AM
  #674
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What if they would alienate Spezza and he would asked for a trade??
They did do that... but he stuck with it.

Anyways, I'm pretty sure it's the coach that decides who plays and who doesn't. Hartsburg could've easily put Nikulin in a game if he deemed it necessary. For whatever reason, he didn't... maybe he really does need another year in the AHL to fine-tune his game to the North American style? If he really does jet for Russia, then pretty much every thing he wrote about wanting to play in the NHL was a lie.


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09-25-2008, 07:21 AM
  #675
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What if they would alienate Spezza and he would asked for a trade?? I would say fire the idiot BM.
Jacques Martin did.

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