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Burmistrov Anxious to Face Boyhood Hero

Thrashers rookie can't wait to face Pavel Datsyuk on Wednesday night

Tuesday, 23.11.2010 / 11:25 AM / Feature
Burmistrov will be keeping a close eye on Pavel Datsyuk, even when he's on the bench.

So far in his very young NHL career Alexander Burmistrov has been totally unflappable, showing an incredible maturity for his 19 years as he hangs onto pucks and takes slashes and jabs from bigger, more experienced NHL players. He has drawn twice as many penalties as he has taken, leading the NHL in that category due to his composure.

His coaches might want to keep a close eye on him against Detroit on Wednesday night though, because he might because he might have a special greeting planned for his favorite active NHL player, Pavel Datsyuk (his all-time favorite is Igor Larionov, for who he wears #8), who he has never faced on the ice.

Will he try to talk to the perennial all-star sometime on game day?

"No, just try to slash him in the faceoff maybe," joked the likable 19-year-old who seems to have a permanent grin stuck on his face.

"Now I don't want to meet him because we play against each other and I don't care."

Maybe the precocious rookie just doesn't want to feel star-struck in front of his fellow Russian, or maybe he's just showing deference to the NHL veteran. After all, this is the same rookie who apologized to one of his Thrasher linemates earlier this season because he wasn't able to set him up for any goals while they were playing a key shutdown role against one of the NHL's top lines.

Regardless of what he says he certainly does care about facing Datsyuk, the three-time Selke Trophy winner who Burmistrov models his game after. The two have met, but odds are Datsyuk doesn't remember those encounters in Kazan when Datsyuk was breaking out with Burmistrov's hometown team a season before making his NHL debut with Detroit. Burmistrov was just eight years old at the time, and Datsyuk routinely gave him sticks.

"I'm very excited," admitted Burmistrov after Sunday night's game against the Islanders, three days before the Thrashers were scheduled to face the red Wings. "Datsyuk is my favorite player. He's amazing and I watch him all the time. When we play against him and I'm not on the ice I will just watch how this guy plays. Enjoy it, and learn."

Like Datsyuk, Burmistrov thrives at both ends of the ice, shutting down opponents while also displaying mind-boggling puck skills in the offensive zone, and he's been looking forward to the matchup since the day he was drafted be the Thrashers. As soon as he got his hands on an Atlanta schedule at the draft  in Los Angeles he scanned it to find out if and when his new team faced the Red Wings.

"The first game I looked for. I looked to see when we play against Detroit. Now it happens next game."

In a game that will feature two of the most explosive offenses in the NHL, two of the league's three highest scoring defenseman (Dustin Byfuglien and Nicklas Lidstrom) and a team on the rise versus one of the most storied franchise sin hockey history, the most interesting storyline just might be how high Burmistrov can raise his game to impress his favorite NHL player. Can he possibly top this downright Datsyukian goal from Friday night's game versus Washington?

 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01