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14 сентября 2003 года. 
Afinogenov is back in Maxim-um condition - Buffalo News


The Buffalo Sabres have been impressed with Maxim Afinogenov's renewed nerve.

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - It seemed so natural, so fluid, so simple.

It also looked familiar.

In the Buffalo Sabres' second intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning in Jack Gatecliff Arena, a loose puck in the neutral zone led to a comforting result.

Speedy right wing Maxim Afinogenov got behind defenseman Henrik Tallinder and found empty ice. Artem Kriukov pushed a pretty pass through Tallinder's legs, allowing Afinogenov to break in alone on goalie Ryan Miller.

Afinogenov dashed in and stickhandled Miller to the ice before artfully flipping the puck under the crossbar.

"I would call it a typical Maxim Afinogenov goal," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said with a tone of satisfaction.

It was merely a scrimmage goal, but it was a significant one nonetheless. This season will be a critical one for Afinogenov and the Sabres. The player and the team are both trying to return from the brink of oblivion, and each is going to rely heavily on the other.

Many were wondering at this time last year if Afinogenov would ever play again, much less rediscover the skills that produced career-highs of 21 goals and 40 points in 2001-02.

"I'm so hungry for playing hockey," Afinogenov said. "It's nice to be back and be in good shape."

Afinogenov sustained a curious concussion the night after he celebrated his 24th birthday by agreeing to a two-year, $2.4 million contract.

He was in Moscow and was supposed to leave for training camp the next day. He said he gathered with some comrades for a pickup hockey game, and the next thing he knew he was struck in the forehead by an errant puck.

The wound was ghastly, but the recurring headaches that ensued were even scarier.

Afinogenov finally returned in late January to play 35 games. He was a shadow of his former self. He managed to record five goals and six assists, but he also was a minus-12 and frustrated Ruff with timid play.

"When he first came back," Ruff said, "there were times he was putting his hand in front of his face when people were shooting, which told you in the back of his mind he was thinking about getting hit again. You can't play like that."

Afinogenov isn't playing that way anymore. The Sabres have been impressed with his renewed nerve. He is cutting through traffic, taking hits to hold onto the puck and even blocking shots.

"I don't think you can base an awful lot on two days," Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said, "but from a health standpoint and from an activity standpoint he's gotten off to a good start. It looks like the old Max out there."

Afinogenov reported to camp in wonderful condition and looks very much the same as he did two seasons ago. He spent much of his offseason working out with the Kloten Flyers of the Swiss league and with such Russian countrymen as Alexei Yashin, Darius Kasparaitis, Viktor Kozlov and Dainius Zubrus.

"No bad memories right now, only good ones, only positive things," said a grinning Afinogenov, who is noticeably looser than ever before. "It was a bad year for me. I'm recovered from that, and I forgot about that stuff.

"I think I've put everything behind me right now."

Страничка Максима Афиногенова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


18 августа. Максим Афиногенов: "Вокруг света за 80 дней" - "Советский Спорт"

3 марта. Интервью с Максимом Афиногеновым - Спорт-Экспресс

24 января. Афиногенов наконец-то появился в составе 'Сейбрс'.



"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года