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июня 2004 года.
Afanasenkov makes believers of Lightning
The left wing has been kicked around as an also-ran, but with Fedotenko injured he's on the first line.
By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
TAMPA - At the start of every training camp, NHL coaches draw up a depth chart in their minds.
This guy is our No. 1 left wing. That guy is our checking center. Here's our top center. There is our enforcer.
When Lightning coach John Tortorella went over his list in September, he had a perfect place for left wing Dmitry Afanasenkov: not here. Seriously. Tortorella had no use for Afanasenkov.
But over the past nine months, Afanasenkov has gone from a disappointment to a key contributor in the Lightning's most successful season. With Ruslan Fedotenko out for Game 4 and maybe tonight's Game 5, Afanasenkov is called upon to make the jump from third/fourth line to skating alongside Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis on the top line.
That's quite a jump considering where he was.
"At the beginning of training camp this year," Tortorella said, "I didn't expect him anywhere near the National Hockey League with this club."
When did Tortorella expect Afanasenkov, 24, to make it?
"He's a guy I never thought was going to play in the National Hockey League," Tortorella said. "We kicked the hell out of him within our team as far as bouncing him all over the place in the minor leagues."
The Lightning treated Afanasenkov like a piece of luggage. It shipped him out to minor-league Detroit. Then Springfield. Then Grand Rapids. Then back to Springfield. If the Lightning had minor-league teams in Timbuktu and Palookaville, Afanasenkov would have played there, too.
Get the picture? The Lightning thought Afanasenkov was a bum. Apparently, though, the guy can't take a hint. After being mistreated, misplaced and displaced, Afanasenkov kept coming back for more. He kept showing up for training camp with the crazy notion he had a chance.
"I never wanted to play for any other team," Afanasenkov said. "I wanted to play for this organization."
He could have asked for a trade. Maybe there was a team out there with an opening. Or a coach who thought he could be a somebody. Or perhaps there was an organization that was willing to groom him instead of seeing how many minor-league teams they could pawn him off on.
The thought never entered his mind.
"I played with a lot of the guys in the minors and I wanted to play here with them, they are my friends," Afanasenkov said. "I never thought what it might be like to play for another team. This is the only team."
Afanasenkov was taken in the third round of the 1998 draft, the draft that produced Lecavalier and Brad Richards in the first two rounds. This season, Afanasenkov finally joined his draft mates. He set career marks in games (71), goals (six), assists (10) and just about every other category. Tortorella thinks Afanasenkov eventually will score more.
"(He's) a great story," Tortorella said. "He has turned out to be a guy that I use in a lot of situations, last minute of games, and he has really developed into quite a player."
Good enough that when Tortorella puts together his depth chart next
September, Afanasenkov's name will be in pen, not pencil.
Страничка Дмитрия Афанасенкова
на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"
5 декабря 2004 года. Дмитрий Афанасенков: Чемпионский
перстень оставлю дома // Пресс-служба ХК «Лада»
22 ноября 2004 года. Афанасенков против Хабибулина
2 октября 2004 года. Дмитрий Афанасенков: «Лада» —
серьезный клуб // Пресс-служба ХК «Лада»
5 декабря 2004 года. Дмитрий Афанасенков: Чемпионский перстень оставлю дома // Пресс-служба ХК «Лада»
22 ноября 2004 года. Афанасенков против Хабибулина // "Спорт-Экспресс"
2 октября 2004 года. Дмитрий Афанасенков: «Лада» — серьезный клуб // Пресс-служба ХК «Лада»
Данные подготовлены Дмитрием Поповым.