As the playoffs kick off in the CHL and in international leagues, a couple Bolt prospectss are having their fair share of the glory.
1999 Draft pick, Jimmie Ölvestad, who has been playing with Djurgarden, the Swedish Elite League’s top team, has been on fire. In ten playoff games, he has 7 goals and 2 assists. That is a far cry from the 15 total points he had in 50 regular season games. He is currently ranked second in the league in playoff goals scored, and is 5th with a plus/minus ranking of plus-9. He is also first in game winning goals, having scored two.
Nikita Alexeev, while playing alongside Brad Boyes, is tearing up the OHL and tearing apart London. Alexeev is second in the league (OHL) in scoring behind only Boyes. Over the weekend, in back to back games versus the Knights, Alexeev scored four goals total, two in each of Erie’s wins. He also added four assists to that, putting him one point behind Boyes.
Elsewhere in the OHL, Fedor Fedorov, had an assist in Sudbury’s win over Barrie.
After a roller coaster season with the Detroit Vipers, Dimitry Afanasenkov was recalled to Tampa Bay. He has done well to impress the coaching staff. In seven games with the Bolts, he as a goal and an assist, and is averaging a little over eleven minutes of ice time a game. “He’s played very well,” Head Coach John Tortorella said after the Lightning’s 5-1 blowout of the Penguins. “He’s a good player who is good in around the net.”
The number of penalties called decreased him ice time greatly in a few games, but Tampa is happy with his showing and willing to give him every opportunity possible.
Tortorella also noted, “The thing with him and [Ben] Clymer added to the lineup, it gives up more size on the wing.”
We recently checked in with tough-guy Kyle Freadrich to see how he is fairing in Detroit.
Q. Do you feel you have a different role in Detroit than you do in Tampa Bay?
A. I feel my role is the same, but I have a chance to contribute a little more in Detroit because this is the IHL, a step lower. I get a little more ice time, play in different situations. But all in all I am still the enforcer.
Q. Is more expected from you offensively in Detroit?
A. I think they give me a chance to play more and I have a chance to contribute a little more. I don’t think they are going to get down on me if I miss goals as long as I am playing hard and playing physical and not being a defensive liability out there on the ice, they’ll be happy.
Q. What do you feel is the path back to Tampa Bay?
A. Lots of ice time, keep working hard and improving.
Q. You scored your first professional goal and first NHL point this season. Do you think that some of your offensive improvement can be attributed to your work with Paul Vincent (TB Special Skills Coach)?
A. Paul Vincent did help me a lot. I’d like to think I would get a point sooner or later without him. He did for sure help me a lot, I owe a lot to him, and he has helped me come a long way. I am looking forward to working with him again.
Q. Are you planning on working with him again this summer?
A. Yea, for sure.
Q. What do you do to get pumped up for a game?
A. I don’t know. I mean I do whatever it takes.
Q. You don’t have any special rituals?
A. Not really. I am not superstitious or anything like that. You know, just joke around with the guys, stay loose. Once you go out for warmups, start thinking about my role and what my job is. You know, lots of talking to get the guys pumped up.
Q. Do you go out with the mindset that you are going to fight?
A. For sure there are some nights you know, where there is a guy that is gonna want to fight you and you are going to end up fighting. Most nights I just try to go out, play hard and do my job other ways on the ice.
Q. After your fight with VandenBussche, Chicago’s assistant coach was quoted as saying it was probably the best fight he had ever seen in the game of hockey. Was there somewhat of an intimidation factor after that?
A. For sure it’s nice to get your name out there in the hockey world. It’s a small world and it’s nice to have people know who you are. It’s a way to break in, turn some years and hopefully I can do it for years to come.