Capitals prospect, defenseman, Russian U20 National Team-member. We can now add one more title to the resume of Alex Alekseyev: diplomat.
There is little love lost between the Russian and Czech national teams, a history going back well before the fall of the Iron Curtain. At the December 28 U20 match between the sides, tempers flared once again, with two players nearly coming to blows.
A glare from Alekseyev, however, was enough to calm things down. Video of the incident and game highlights follow below the jump.
Per freelance journalist Steven Ellis, the fireworks started when Czech forward Jakub Lauko, a Bruins prospect currently playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, crosschecked Russian star Vasilii Podkolzin of SKA Saint-Petersburg into the boards.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) December 29, 2018
Steve Kourianos of The Draft Analyst caught the ensuing drama in the handshake line. As Lauko and Podkolzin approach and shake, the Czech forward appears to take a swing.
Podkolzin and Lauko have a history.
Love em both. pic.twitter.com/yFAWgilJMR
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 29, 2018
Alekseyev, standing just behind Podkolzin, stares down Lauko and delicately suggests he move on. Cooler heads prevailed, and both sides returned to their respective locker rooms without further incident.
The Czech squad’s tempers had flared in part because their better play at even strength failed to yield the desired results. Jachym Kondelik recounted the team’s frustrations to IIHF.com’s Andrew Podnieks.
“We were the better team five-on-five,” said Kondelik. “We had a lot of chances. We just couldn’t get the puck in. We just tried too hard on the power play.”
Alekseyev, for his part, faulted the Russian side’s lack of discipline.
“Each game we’re getting better and better; each day we’re getting better, so it’s so far, so good,” said Alexeyev. “We’re getting used to the ice and the atmosphere. Our discipline needs to get better, though.”
The Czechs (1-1) will face Canada (2-0) December 29. Russia (2-0) plays Switzerland (0-2) on Sunday, December 30.
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