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17 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 to expect." 
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 otherwise. 
"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 night." 
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 с Востока"


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27 марта. Talking with Yuri Butsayev, Right Wing // The Detroit News

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"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года