NIKITA ALEXEEV RETURNS TO THE LIGHTNING WITH A MISSION
As the eighth overall draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2000, Nikita Alexeev has returned to Lightning training camp ready to prove that he has earned the second chance he has been given.
After playing a season with the Russian Super League's Avangard Omsk where he scored 10 points in 40 games, the 24-year-old Russian winger has come to camp with a new sense of determination and confidence.
Hoping to impress with his speed and skill, he made an immediate impression on the opening day of scrimmages by scoring two goals and adding three assists in his team's 5-4 victory. However, Alexeev is quick to point out that one performance like this is just the beginning of what he needs to accomplish to make it back to the NHL.
"Today is just one day. I have to do this every day," said Alexeev. "This is a new beginning, there will be new mistakes, new lessons."
A return to the Lightning is an opportunity that Alexeev is hoping to grab coming out of training camp. Putting his past behind him, he aims to work on his overall consistency and the defensive aspect of the game that he realizes is critical to success in today's NHL.
"You need to be good down low and in your own zone," said Alexeev. "It is important to work on the defensive side (of the game), where to be, and where to go."
With renewed confidence and a repeat of Saturday's scrimmage performance, Alexeev can be assured that he has made the kind of positive impression that the team was looking for when they gave him this second chance.