His limited English does not allow him to communicate fluently with his playing partner. His move to North America, at only 20 years old, is certainly quite an uprooting. However, on the ice, Alexander Romanov does not seem at all disoriented.
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At least that’s the impression he left when the Canadiens visited Toronto on Wednesday night for his first NHL game. His confidence and calm with the puck allowed him to serve splendid passes to his teammates.
From his first appearance, he joined Tyler Toffoli, in the neutral zone, with a stint of about 100 feet. Later in the game, it was a similar pass, a little shorter, that allowed Tomas Tatar to escape and score the goal that gave the Canadiens a 3-1 lead.
“He’s very combative and he moves the puck well. This youngster is certainly an excellent hockey player. He did well, ”said the Slovak after this setback.
It was the Habs second goal in power play. Yes, Romanov is on the second wave of the massive attack. Which is not a surprise since Claude Julien had shown his colors from the second day of training camp.
What was perhaps a little less predictable was seeing him on the ice running short of a man for a total of 2:17 minutes. It must be said that at some point, Ben Chiarot (5 min) and Brett Kulak (2 min) found themselves in the dungeon at the same time and that Shea Weber also received a minor penalty along the way.
He was still the third defender most used by Julien in this situation. Behind Weber and Chiarot, but in front of Jeff Petry and Joel Edmundson (the baptism in the Canadian’s uniform was more difficult for the latter).
In the end, Romanov walked the playing surface for 21:30. In the Montreal camp, it was only Weber (24:02) who saw more action. We’re talking about a rookie, now 21, who hasn’t even had the opportunity to play a preseason game to acclimate to the caliber of the NHL.
Of course, he played two 43-game seasons in the KHL, with CSKA Moscow. But the caliber is not the same.
“For a youngster who was playing his first game in the league, he looked confident, turned on and at ease,” his coach analyzed. I didn’t hate his game. It is certain that he made mistakes here and there, but everyone did. “
The flair of a recruiter
Mistakes, he will make others. Like this time when he was at the origin of a dangerous surplus of the Leafs due to his deep presence in the opposing territory coupled with a rushed game on his part.
It is not for nothing that Marc Bergevin, like the majority of the general managers of the circuit, keeps repeating that the position of defender is the one whose development is done over the longest period.
We will wait a few weeks, or even a few months, before deciding more accurately on the choice of 2e round (38e in total) of the Canadiens in 2018. But it seems, indeed, that Artem Telepin, the recruiting of the Canadiens in Russia, had a much sharper flair than that of the 30 other teams and that of the central recruiting of the NHL for this outlet.
The plant had classified it at 115e rank among European skaters and had not even invited him to the annual combination in Buffalo, this day when the hopes must submit to a multitude of physical tests and a series of interviews with the staff of several formations.