Are we finally seeing the Alexander Svitov that warranted the 3rd overall pick back in '01? The scoring isn't totally there yet, but it appears that Alex has realized he is 6'3", 230-ish pounds and now attack the offensive zone like a bull in a china shop.
It appears Hitch has taken note of this, too. Since Dec 16th, Svitov hasn't dipped below 12:40 of ice time in a game, and has only fallen below 20 on the shift count once. 12 of his 16 points have come since that time, too. Prior to that date, shift counts in the 8 to 10 range and TOI under 10 minutes weren't all that uncommon for him.
Coming in to the season, Svitov had 21 career points, and a giant question mark over his head after spending last year back in the Russian Super League. He snapped up a contract to come back over here, and didn't exactly set the world on fire early on. However, it appears Hitchcock knows which buttons to push, and that Svitov is responding. He's on pace to out pace his career point total just this season. His ice time is up, his play is up, his points are up, his puck control is up...everything is looking up for Big Alex.
Which is good, because not much looks up in Columbus at the moment...