Berezin deal costing Leafs?
By DAVE FULLER -- Toronto Sun
Sergei Berezin may not be the biggest flop since the Leafs traded
Russ Courtnall for John Kordic, just the most expensive.
The second-year right-winger was removed from the lineup Saturday
in New Jersey and isn't expected to dress tonight in Washington or tomorrow
Berezin, 26, signed a four-year contract last summer worth $5.3
million - a deal which includes a club option for a fifth season at $2.2
Five months later, the Leafs can't say for sure that Berezin
even will be around next summer.
"I think he's still able. I think he has to commit more," Leafs
coach Mike Murphy said of Berezin.
Seldom-used Czech rookie Martin Prochazka stands to gain the
most from Berezin's benching.
Prochazka has played the past two games on a line with Steve
Sullivan and Derek King, collecting one goal and one assist.
"I know the system we're playing is not conducive to an offensive
player," Murphy said. "We demand that everyone on the team compete for
the puck, compete along the boards, compete for position in front of the
net and even more than that, to play well in their own end."
The trouble with Berezin, who has 10 goals and 19 points, is
that he's so one-dimensional.
On the other hand, he's one of only three Leafs to reach 25 goals
last season - along with Mats Sundin and Wendel Clark - which is why the
Leafs paid such a premium to re-sign the Group II free agent.
"I don't know if it was a mistake (to sign him to a long-term
deal)," said assistant to the president Bill Watters, who negotiated Berezin's
contract. "We didn't have many guys with 25 goals last year. He also had
the option of going back to Germany to play.
"When you consider Ray Sheppard is making $1.7 million in Florida
and has nine goals; that Kirk Muller signed for $1.7 million and has two
goals; that Trevor Linden has seven goals and is making $2.5 million, Sergei's
numbers don't look so bad."
In fact, Berezin is tied for fifth in Leafs scoring, despite
missing six games. He just doesn't seem to fit in, which is why the Leafs
may look to trade him.
Several clubs inquired about Berezin last season, though there
has been little interest this winter.
Meanwhile, the Leafs face a Washington club tonight that routed
them 4-1 in the season opener at the Gardens. Toronto also is winless (0-3-2)
in its past five starts.
"Washington has good team speed," Murphy said. "We can't let
them fly through the neutral zone like they did here.
"They have (defencemen) like Phil Housley, Sylvain Cote and Sergei
Gonchar who like to jump into the play. We have to close the neutral zone
off to them."
There's a chance Glenn Healy could start in goal as Felix Potvin
continues to struggle with his confidence.
"Sometimes the puck looks like the size of a basketball. Other
times it looks like a pea," Murphy said.
"I don't think it's (his reflexes). There's a waning of confidence.
That's the only thing I can see."
Страничка Сергея Березина на
сайте "Звёзды с Востока"
15 мая. "Кэпиталз" не будут продлевать контракт с
1 апреля. Березин приятно удивил руководство "Кэпиталз".
18 марта. Сергей Березин: "Химик и Кельн лучше Монреаля"
10 февраля. Березин на пути к двадцатке - Совесткий
16 сентября. Berezin: Fresh start in Chicago -
20 июля. Интервью с С.Березиным: "Я стал жертвой нового
курса" // СЭ
27 декабря. Сергей Березин: Сын меня обошёл ("Советский