Nikolai Kulemin progressing in Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo © Reuters)
Russian NHL forward Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs is improving and even if his point production is not very high, he finds other ways to contribute to the team’s success.
“Kulemin has been one of our better forwards,” said Leaf coach Ron Wilson to Toronto Star. “He doesn’t get many points, but he forechecks well. He did a great job on the penalty kill, and he made a great play on the winning goal.”
In a Tuesday game against the Florida Panthers Kulemin assisted to Alexei Ponikarovsky on the game winning goal doing most of the grunt work.
“Obviously, he had a full head of steam,” Ponikarovsky told Toronto Star. “I knew he was going to get there first, so I just went to the net and hollered at him.
“[Kulemin] is a hard-working player and a pretty good skater. When he’s going, the other team has got to trip him or do something to stop him. He’s got a lot of moves.”
Kulemin’s improvement can be partially attributed to his English getting better.
“Coach wants us to play hard and I try to do that,” Kulemin said to Toronto Star. “It’s easy for me. I understand more English.”
In 39 National Hockey League games for the Leafs Kulemin registered 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points, a -4 rating, 62 shots on goal and 14:56 average time on ice.
Kulemin wasn’t included in the Russian Hockey Olympics 2010 roster.