When Russia’s roster for the Beijer Hockey Games in Sweden was released, it was a surprise that Montreal Canadiens defence prospect Alexander Romanov got his first look at an international tournament at the senior level, along with quite a few other juniors from Russia. The result of such a young team was devastating for Russia who lost all three games in the tournament, however Romanov stood out for finishing the tournament with a neutral plus/minus rating. He also got to play on the penalty kill and played over 15 minutes a game. It was a steep learning curve as the jump from KHL to a higher level was clear.
During the tournament, ‘The Dispatch’ was fortunate enough to get to talk with CSKA goalie Lars Johansson who guarded Sweden’s net, Klas Dahlbeck who has been on Romanov’s pairing a few times, as well as Russia’s National Team coach Alexei Kudashov about where Romanov currently stands development wise.
“People have to realise that CSKA is a European National team, it is the best team in Europe. You can’t just look at time on ice alone,” Dahlbeck said afterwards.
After the tournament, I also got a chance to speak to Romanov, who did ask for a translator but agreed to go along without one. In the end there is a segment where we got help from Ivan Letyagin, a Russian journalist who translated a few words from Romanov.