It was a whirlwind 2021-22 season for Washington Capitals forward prospect Bogdan Trineyev, which ended with an unexpected stint in Hershey and an unexpected AHL debut. He will return to Dynamo in the KHL for a third season this fall, but is expected to potentially make the leap to North America for the 2023-24 season.
On May 2 Trineyev signed his first NHL contract with the Capitals and the next day signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Hershey Bears. Trineyev bolted from Russia to Hershey via Georgia (the Country) and Turkey in time for a few practices. He made his AHL debut in the Bears must-win Game 2 of their first round series with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on May 8.
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“I didn’t train at all for two weeks before coming to Hershey,” he said in a recent interview with Sport24.
The process to re-start his 2021-22 season began by getting to the United States. There is a lot of speculation and varying reports on how easy it is or how difficult it will be for Russian players to travel from Russia to the US with the war in Ukraine and associated travel restrictions prominent in the planning. Trineyev traveled through Turkey, but obtained his visa in Georgia, and did it in a week’s time.
“Didn’t take long. With only one change – through Turkey. Pretty convenient these days. As for the visa, I did it in Georgia, spent a week in a hotel,” said Trineyev. “I flew to Washington, and from there immediately to Hershey. And already there I met with the Washington development coach.”
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Upon arrival in Hershey, Trineyev was evaluated and told he wasn’t in the greatest of shape. But why would he be? His season had concluded weeks before his unplanned trip to America.
“They said I didn’t come in the best shape. That you need to work more on “physics”. The guys in the farm club are usually bigger than me. I tried to play correctly, for the team. They noticed it.”
The plan was for Trineyev to just get his feet wet, get familiar with Hershey and to begin to understand the American game. There was no plan to play, let alone play in a postseason game. But as they say about the best laid plans…
“Initially, it was planned that I would go just to look around, to practice. But it so happened that the team was covered by an epidemic of injuries. There was no one to play! So they told me “you’re playing.” I was delighted, of course, but it was unexpected for me.
Trineyev’s crash course in America was facilitated by Belarusian Aliaksei Protas and Russian fellow Alex Alexeyev. They were basically assigned to look after Trineyev, and show him the ropes.
“They were always with me! And they drove to training, and to games. Practical guardians. They helped me with documents, food, equipment. The guys there are like locals, they speak English calmly. I was lucky that I met them in Hershey.”
As usual, any Capitals prospect from Russia who makes their first trip to the States is asked about meeting Alexander The Great. Trineyev was no different. He said he was nervous hanging out for the first time with the Capitals Russian players.
“Before the draft, I saw him only once, at the base in Novogorsk. Ovechkin was preparing for the season, and we were on the junior team. I asked him to take a picture. And the second time was after this season. I came to Washington, and together we flew to Russia. We talked a little.”
“When I was just driving to Washington, I thought that I saw Ovechkin, Orlov, Kuznetsov and Samsonov only on TV. This made it a little awkward. But Alexeyev reassured me. He said that it was normal the first time, it happened to everyone. Relax, everything will be fine. I tried to relax, but it wasn’t normal (laughs).
He recalls his first handshake with Alex Ovechkin.
“Shaking, of course!” (smiles).
By Jon Sorensen