сентября 2000 года.
Butsayev improves his game, English
Russian gets used to living in America, playing in the NHL
Ted Kulfan / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- If Yuri Butsayev's hockey improves as much as his acclimation
to the North American culture, the Red Wings should get a boost in their
lineup this season.
Butsayev was a Russian a long way from home last season. His command
of the English language was nonexistent. If it weren't for Russian veterans
such as Vyacheslav Kozlov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov, it could have
been an extremely lonely existence.
"I didn't know anyone," said Butsayev, 23, who is now able to conduct
interviews in English. "I was nervous, a little scared. I didn't know what
This year in Traverse City, the site of the Wings' training camp, Butsayev
could be seen mingling with teammates from every ethnicity. He feels confident
in his ability and in himself. After spending a year on the Wings roster,
when no one expected him even to make the team, Butsayev is being counted
upon to make more of an impact this season.
"He's a young guy who spent the year with us, playing some, practicing,"
Coach Scotty Bowman said. "He has an opportunity to get better."
Butsayev has done nothing in camp to indicate he isn't ready for a
larger role. Anything would be easier than what he went through last year
adapting to an unfamiliar part of the world.
Butsayev said his only other exposure to North America came in a couple
of junior tournaments, and visiting his brother, Yiri, briefly. Neither
of those experiences helped him for what lay ahead.
When Butsayev arrived in Traverse City last year, it was more difficult
than he suspected it would be.
"Here, it's just a different life," Butsayev said. "Different from
Russia. It was all new to me. I didn't know anything."
Butsayev is fiercely proud of his country. He bristles when he hears
others talk about the lack of food, goods and amenities in Russia.
"I hear about people talking there's no food in Russia, but that's
not true," said Butsayev, who still lives there in the off-season. "There's
food everywhere in Russia, good food. Ask the players who played in Slava
Fetisov's (retirement) game, there is much food there. I don't understand
why people say there isn't."
Butsayev gives a lot of credit to Kozlov for his adjustment to North
America. Butsayev moved into Kozlov's home during the first few months
of the regular season, easing the adjustment period.
Kozlov helped Butsayev learn how to get by on a day-to-day basis, ordering
food at a restaurant or going shopping, tasks that would have been impossible
"Kozzie helped in a lot of different ways," Butsayev said. "He just
showed me to get around and do things. That helped me so much early on."
Butsayev learned the language as the season progressed. He would listen
to teammates, watch television, and read material that helped him grasp
what people were saying.
The hockey was easier for him. The banging, physical type of game played
in the NHL suits his style. He is a gritty, in-your-face type of player
who enjoys nothing more than shutting down opponents.
"The rinks are smaller here, the game is quicker, tougher, and stronger,"
said Butsayev, who said the adjustment wasn't as difficult as he suspected.
"That was the biggest difference. My brother helped me understand it
would be a difference. It's important to go out there and play hard every
What didn't surprise Butsayev was the talent level.
"This is where the greatest hockey in the world is played," he said.
"This is where I've always wanted to play. I love my country, but this
is the best hockey."
The Wings expect Butsayev to grow into a solid two-way player, one
who gradually develops his offensive game (five goals in 57 games last
season) to match his defensive prowess. Because of Butsayev's work ethic
and dedication, and an overabundance of goal-scorers on the roster, the
third or fourth line beckons him in the immediate future. But it wouldn't
be surprising to see Butsayev develop into a penalty-killer in the near
future, especially because of his understanding of the game.
"You work hard, that's the way to play," Butsayev said. "I hope (the)
coaches will let me play more. I want to help the team win."
Страничка Юрия Буцаева на сайте "Звёзды
20 марта. В последний день обменов, "Атланта
Трэшерс" приобрели трёх российских хоккеистов.
27 марта. Talking with Yuri Butsayev, Right Wing //
The Detroit News
11 октября. Бутцаев отослан в АХЛ.
25 октября. Новичок Юрий Буцаев закрепился в составе