Dynamo Moscow’s Other Rising Star

By Eugene Belashchenko

Dynamo Moscow

Dynamo Moscow’s
Other Rising Star

By: Eugene Belashchenko


Everyone has been
talking about the new 16 year old sensation Alexander Ovechkin who this past
season broke into the Super League and the U18 Russian National squad. Many,
however, often fail to mention a young player who got his own act together this
past season and often gave Alexander Ovechkin scoring opportunities while
centering him on Dynamo’s second line. That player is Alexei Tereschenko.

Alexei Tereschenko came to Dallas last season without any serious expectations
to actually make the roster. It was his first visit to North America and also
the first time the Stars had an opportunity to evaluate their prospect since
drafting him a year earlier, 71st overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. To get
right down to it, Alexei wasn’t spectacular in camp and returned to Russia even
before Ruslan Bernikov, an older Russian prospect who was also in Stars’ camp
that summer. However, it would be a pity if the Stars’ management write off
Alexei as an important prospect for their organization. If this past season is
any indicator of his progress, what they saw during the summer of ’01 was only a
shadow of the player Alexei has become.

When Alexei returned to Moscow from Dallas, he faced an uncertain future Dynamo
Moscow. After a difficult 00-01 season, Dynamo Moscow signed many talented
hockey players and there did not seem to be much room left on the roster for
Alexei and he was penciled into Dynamo’s fourth line for the first few weeks of
the season. However, as the season went on, it became increasingly clear that
signing every available high profile free agent in the ’01 off-season made
Dynamo Moscow something similar to the ’00 New York Rangers, having a lot of
highly paid talent, but no team chemistry. As the free agents were either
relegated to lower lines or altogether released from the team, Alexei began to
move up in the ranks.

After struggling the previous year due to a lack of confidence and physical
conditioning, it appeared that Alexei started to fulfill his potential. He
became a more durable player, able to withstand physical pressure and
effectively compete for or with the puck in traffic. He also gained a lot of
confidence and started to use his great vision and reaction to read opposition’s
plays. He took chances with great little passes and often thwarted opposition’s
feeds and one timers. Throughout the season Alexei was the second best playmaker
on Dynamo, standing only behind one of the best playmakers in Russia, Alexander
Razin. Appropriately, Dynamo promoted him to center the second line for the rest
of the season. There Alexei skated with the team’s captain Ravil Yakubov or
Edmonton Oilers prospect Alexei Mikhnov on the left wing and young Russian
sensation Alexander Ovechkin on the right.

Alexei’s production was never near the levels of Russia’s most productive
players like Vadim Epachintsev, Alexander Frolov and Dmitri Kvartalnov, but his
stats do not tell the entire story. He gave Dynamo a second dangerous line and
forced the opposing teams divert some attention away from Dynamo’s main unit.
You have to watch him on the ice to see why many Dynamo fans considered him the
best player on their team. Alexei was a threat the entire time he was on the
ice. He moved rapidly with the puck and even when covered by two opponents,
Alexei often found a way to get the puck to his teammates. As a center should
be, Alexei was responsible defensively, holding his own against bigger opponents
and fighting hard every shift. He continued to lack the strength to compete head
on with some bigger, more experienced opponents, but his skating, and hockey
sense made him more then a handful.

After a successful season for his career, Alexei started his summer early, as
Dynamo did not see much of the playoffs, making an early exit after losing in
four games to the eventual finalist, Ak Bars Kazan. After the summer break,
Alexei was back with Dynamo in the beginning of July, preparing for the new
season. Alexei appears to have the complete trust of Dynamo Moscow’s head coach
Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and is poised to continue where he left off last season.
It is a pity that Alexei’s name does not appear on training camp roster of the
Stars, as this young talented player would have quite a bit more to show the
Stars. He appears to have found the missing pieces over the past season and is
becoming a complete center. What Alexei needs is more time in the gym and
experience on the ice and he should warrant a serious look from Dallas next
summer. He won’t ever be a power forward, but he will develop into a role
playing, play making center. Only time will tell whether he does it in Europe or
the NHL.

Eugene Belashchenko