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Chicago Blackhawks Could Send Tikhonov To Rockford

By Sean Fitzgerald

Everyone who is a serious hockey fan knows the name Viktor Tikhonov. He was the famed coach of the Soviet team that lost in the “Miracle on Ice” game to the Herb Brooks-lead Team USA. His grandson Viktor Tikhonov, currently a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, shares his name but not the same level of excellence.

The current player Viktor Tikhonov was the 29th pick of the 2008 draft, chosen by the Phoenix Coyotes. He produced 16 points in 61 games with Coyotes in 2008. After spending three of his first four seasons in North America in the AHL, Tikhonov returned to the KHL full time. He spent the last three seasons in the KHL. In 49 games last season, he recorded eight goals and 16 assist for 24 points. Despite being the weakest season for him offensively in the KHL, the Blackhawks followed it by signing him to a one-year deal.

When I attended the Blackhawks Convention this summer, I had the opportunity to listen to a panel featuring Tikhonov. He was very impressive and spoke excellent English. He spent a good majority of his youth in the United States. Tikhonov, along with fellow former KHL teammate Artemi Panarin, generated a lot of buzz in the offseason. In training camp, the two KHL players were paired with Teuvo Teravainen on the third line. There was a huge buzz about those three players playing together. They seemed to generate a good number of scoring chances. Unfortunately, Panarin has not gotten on the ice in preseason action and Tikhonov has not been impressive at all. Tikhonov is now in danger is of not making the Blackhawks.

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Since leaving Notre Dame, Tikhonov’s game has suffered. He has not appeared in the top five forward lines at recent practices. He has appeared in two preseason games, averaging 16:24 minutes of ice time. He has three shots on goal and zero points with a zero rating for the Blackhawks. He has, however, won 66.7 percent of his faceoffs. With the roster starting to take shape, Tikhonov better step up his game. He currently has no value to the Blackhawks expect being a translator for Panarin.

Tikhonov is in a unique situation if he does not make the team. He is signed to a one-way contract worth $1,040,00. If he does not make the Blackhawks, does Tikhonov accept an assignment to Rockford and play in the AHL or does he retreat back to the KHL? Despite playing in the AHL before, I think the KHL’s status plays more into the decision.With the financial instability of the KHL and the fact that Tikhonov will get his money either way, I believe he will accept a bus ticket to Rockford.

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