Original posting at "Resurfacing the Ice."
Alexander Burmistrov is facing the same challenge all Europeans face when coming over to North America to play hockey.
Getting used to the North American style of play. A smaller rink, more physical play, and quicker decision-making.
"I like the Canadian style of hockey more," Burmistrov said in an NHL.com interview. "I like playing in smaller rinks. It's a much faster game. You have to think much quicker, you have to pass much quicker."
However, this new style has not hurt him one bit, as was evident during the World U-18 Championships.
"The physical part of the game was no problem for him," one scout said. "The U.S. was banging around bodies pretty good, but it didn't seem to bother him at all."
Burmistrov, a member of the Barrie Colts, is ranked No. 11 among North American skaters for the upcoming draft. He has dominated this season, scoring 65 points in 62 games in his first Ontario League season.
"His vision is excellent," continued the scout. "He sees the ice very well and his passing skills are outstanding."
"He's very imaginative in his plays. His skill level is obvious. He has a high skill level, loves to make players around him better, he's a think pass-first kind of player. He's one of those kind of guys that really makes everybody better on the ice," said the scout.
One of the people who Burmistrov has impressed was his coach.
"One of the things I noticed about him right away is he's from this new age of Russian hockey players," Barrie coach Marty Williamson said in an NHL.com interview. "They were very dour in their approach to the game [but] now they seem very excited about the game and that's how he looks. When he jumped on the ice you see the passion for the game."
"He's certainly a top-six forward," Williamson continued. "For sure he's going to be on the power play. I had one of the weaker power plays and I added two guys that will help the power play. He skates so well and reads the game so well. We're looking for him to be a big part of the backbone of our offense."
Whichever NHL team drafts him will be looking for Burmistrov to do the same for their organization. Burmistrov will add a talented, physical presence to an NHL squad, in addition to dazzling moves that will result in high point totals.
Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.