After watching Alex play for the second time last night, i had to do an update on him even though the Spitfires lost 5-1 to the Soo greyhounds.
Everything we heard about Alex prior to coming over from Russia is true. He is an intense hockey player who eats up lots of minutes. On three different occasions, he was on the ice for the complete 2 minutes of the power play and played well.
His adjustment to North America seems to be going very well and he doesn't seem to be your typical Russian player. He's usually the first guy in on the forecheck, and the first guy back to backcheck. He plays a very solid defensive game.
He is also not afraid of the corners or to battle along the wall. He goes to the front of the net and will take the punishment to stay there. He is unbelievably stong on the cycle game. He makes unbelievable tape to tape passes, often without looking. When he's back in the defensive zone, he's like another defenseman out there and makes a very good stretch pass. Last night i counted 29 pass attempts by Alex and he only missed his target once. He looks like a faster David Krejci out there.
His skating is good, he has decent and deceptive speed and glides to open areas or to move into position to make a play. He is a little unorthadox in his skating, being low to the ice. It's not a knock on him, it's just that it's noticeable.
At this point in the very young season, if he has one knock against him I would say that he doesn't play selfish enough. He's been playing with a pass first mentality and he has a good enough shot with a tremendous release to shoot more than he does. He put his teammates in a position to score, but they just couldn't capitalize.