10.21.2006

It ... is ... Radulov

Success at the junior level in hockey doesn't always translate in the NHL. So, I cannot wait to see what this charming individual on the left is going to do Saturday night.

This is Alexander Radulov, and he's going to make his NHL debut for the Nashville Predators against the Vancouver Canucks.

He was recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL on Friday after a brief but very impressive stint there. In three games, the 15th overall pick in the 2004 draft had three goals, four assists and was named player of the week.

The 2004 draft produced a couple of pretty good Russian-born players --Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. Based on his junior career, Radulov may turn out to be better then both of them.

Playing in juniors last season with Quebec, he led all Canadian Hockey League players with 152 points, including 61 goals. Radulov's best game was a record-setting effort March 19, when he scored seven goals and added four assists in a 16-3 win over Rimouski.

Radulov also added 21 goals and 55 points -- in only 23 playoff games -- to lead Quebec to the Memorial Cup championship over Moncton. Call it Gretzky-esque or Lemieuxlike.

As I was telling column castigator Christopher "Hool-ee-gaan" Altruda in the newsroom on Friday night, I defintely have the man-crush thing going on here. Might even have to buy one of these.

Why? It's all about the offense, baby. Outside of hearing the puck ping off the post or crossbar, there is nothing sweeter than goals. And in the new-style NHL, with less clutch-and-grab-style play, a scorer like Radulov has the chance to do a lot. The game right now is built for a player like him.

Now Radulov could be the next Pavel Brendl or Alexandre Volchkov -- long on potential and short on talent. He also could turn out to the jewel of the draft

1 comment:

kansasbrat said...

Well, he's young, honey... I can give him that.

But he is not so cute! I'll have to find you a cuter man crush.

Though, we're talking hockey here... boys not known for their looks. This may be a challenge.