Earlier this summer at Bruins development camp, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and prospect Alexander Khokhlachev confirmed that the 19-year old forward will play the 2012-13 season in the KHL for the team coached by his father, HC Spartak Moscow.
“What we decided with Koko was that it’s a unique set of circumstances with his dad being the manager there, and saying, ‘Look it’s one year and then back to North America,’ ” Chiarelli said. “He felt it was right for him, and at the end of the day, we went along with him on this. We’re going to support him on it.”
Well apparently Khokhlachev’s now-former coach with the Windsor Spitfires, Warren Rychel disagrees with the move and doesn’t believe the Bruins' 2011 second-round pick (40th overall) is ready for the KHL or the NHL.
"I'm really disappointed, I'm not going to sugarcoat it," Rychel told Patrick King of Sportsnet.ca recently. "If he was ready -- a finished NHL product -- then I would obviously shake his hand and let him go like a (Joshua) Bailey, a (Taylor) Hall, a (Cam) Fowler."
Rychel added more criticism of the Russian playmaker’s game.
"Koko's got a lot more to learn in his own end about being a complete, two-way player and I thought he could have done that here with (head coach and co-owner Bob Boughner)," Rychel said. "The plan was for him to complete his three years here and develop, but it is what it is and it's over with. He's going to make money this year in the KHL and he's going to play for his father."
Khokhlachev’s season was shortened last season as he missed the final two weeks and playoffs with a lacerated kidney. He was only allowed to participate in non-contact drills at development camp. During the camp he offered a different opinion than Rychel on leaving Windsor for the pro level.
"For sure it will help a lot," said Khokhlachev, who finished with 40 points in 51 games after a breakout season in 2010-11 (34 goals and 76 points in 62 games). "It's the second-best league in the world. So if I do go there, it would be better to play with men and not come back to junior."