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Down on the farm

Burmistrov looks on bright side of stint with IceCaps

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Alex Burmistrov's American Hockey League adventure is about to begin.

The St. John's IceCaps announced details of their training camp on Tuesday, including their daily schedule and roster. And the most intriguing among the 40 names was that of a player who has not played one second in the AHL -- Burmistrov, the 20-year-old Russian who already has 150 NHL games under his belt.

Asked again earlier this week if he was happy to be heading to St. John's -- he had expressed an interest in returning home to Kazan and the KHL, but Jets' brass wants him in the AHL -- Burmistrov said:

"It's a team decision, we (sat) down and came to the decision together," said Burmistrov, who finished the season as the Jets' No. 2 centre. "I can be happy and I can be not happy because I don't know where I go. We'll see what the league (is like). I've never played there and we'll see if I will be enjoying it.

"It's definitely a great team there. They played great last year and it's going to be a good league. There's a lot of young players and a lot of prospects going there to play."

Burmistrov occasionally flashed an impressive skill set a year ago, but also struggled to find consistency in his game. He boosted his rookie numbers with 13 goals and 15 assists, but 19 of those 28 points came in 24 contests: nine points in the first nine games of the season and 10 over a 15-game stretch from Feb. 11-March 15.

"I have no goals for the season, other than to play like I did at the start of (last) season," said Burmistrov. "That's how I know I can play hockey."

Camp begins Oct. 1 in Corner Brook and, in addition to the usual training sessions and two intrasquad games, the IceCaps will play a three-game exhibition series against the Syracuse Crunch called the Mary Brown's Cup -- Oct. 4 in Corner Brook, Oct. 5 in Stephenville and Oct. 7 in Clarenville.

The IceCaps have invited 40 players to camp which will be split into two training groups.

Here is the list of players invited (listed alphabetically):

-- Goaltenders: Chris Carrozzi, Mark Dekanich, Eddie Pasquale and Tyler Plante.

-- Defencemen: Dean Arsene, Ben Chiarot, Ryan Donald, Chris Huxley, Jake Marto, Derek Meech, Julian Melchiori, Will O'Neill, Paul Postma, Travis Ramsey, Zach Redmond and Cody Sol.

-- Forwards: John Albert, Alex Burmistrov, Kevin Clark, Patrice Cormier, Norm Ezekiel, Aaron Gagnon, Jason Gregoire, Brayden Irwin, Jason Jaffray, Ray Kaunisto, Jason King, Carl Klingberg, Josh Lunden, Maxime Macenauer, Spencer Machacek, Ben Maxwell, Eric O'Dell, Ray Sawada, Ryan Schnell, Joey Sides, Brian Sutherby, Ivan Telegin, Hunter Tremblay and Derek Whitmore.

-- DISCUSS AMONG YOURSELVES: ESPN.com's Scott Burnside has put together his first Power Ranking list -- let's home there are more to debate -- but doesn't think much of the Jets.

Burnside has the Jets ranked 29th overall, ahead of only the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Wrote Burnside on the Jets:

'This team still looks all too much like an Atlanta Thrashers team that failed to win a single playoff game. Not sure of the goaltending with Ondrej Pavelec, who was cited for drunk driving in the Czech Republic but didn't bother to tell management. Team defence is still suspect and there's not enough scoring depth up front. Not sure how this adds up to anything but more misery.'

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 26, 2012 C2

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