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июля 2002 года.
A Year In, a Year Out. Discharge papers in hand, the Ducks' top pick in 2001 draft is finally free to sign - ЛА Таймс
By CHRIS FOSTER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Stanislav Chistov caught sight of the Statue of Liberty during his first days in New York. He was making the standard tourist rounds last month after a year of turmoil that began when the Mighty Ducks made him the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft.
His Russian team reacted by announcing he was in the army, which would prevent Chistov from signing an NHL contract. The army reacted by taking him from a Moscow hotel room, stealing him so he could play for its team. The Ducks reacted with concern, not knowing if the multi-talented forward would ever play for them.
Chistov didn't react. He waited. Now, after living through that tug of cold war, he was looking at that give-me-your-tired symbol. It might have been a moment to ponder--free at last. Except he merely glimpsed at the figure from the shore, then it was off to the wax museum to see Charlie Chaplin.
"I only saw the Statue of Liberty from afar," Chistov said through a translator in a telephone interview. "I am very aware of what it means to people in this country, especially with what happened in September."
"I like the Hollywood stars at the museum the best, especially Charlie Chaplin," Chistov said. "His movies are great, because you don't have to speak English to enjoy them. I can understand them pretty well."
Maybe it was more fitting. Chistov understands the comedy he has been through as well.
He meandered like the little tramp through the pratfalls of Russian hockey politics and the pitfalls of those shenanigans. Now, with discharge papers in hand, he hopes to embark on his American dream. The Ducks have until Monday to sign him under the NHL agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation. They can extend the negotiation period to Aug. 15 by paying a fee to the IIHF.
"It has been a very difficult year," Chistov said. "I always knew I did nothing wrong. I did everything by the book. But there was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of mental stress, the past year. I just wanted to play.
"The whole army thing, the only thing I want to say is it's behind me. The only thing I am confident about is I have completed my service to my country. I am free and clear to play in America at last."
It is how Chistov plays the game that made him a pawn on skates.
He was a child prodigy who scored a goal in his first game as a 7-year-old. He helped Avangard Omsk reach the league championship series in 2000-01 for the first time in the team's 50-year history.
In the 2001 NHL draft, four Omsk players were taken in the first 41 picks, including Alexander Svitov by Tampa Bay at No. 3 and Chistov at No. 5.
Chistov flew to Anaheim to have an injured knee examined and rehabilitate. Svitov flew to Tampa Bay and signed a three-year contract. And Anatoly Bardin, president of Omsk, flew into a rage.
He sent word that both players should return to Russia or they would be considered AWOL from the army. It was the first time that Anaheim and Tampa Bay officials were told the two were in the army and they were a little suspicious. Compulsory military service is the only thing that prevents a player from signing with an NHL team under the agreement with the IIHF.
Bardin bragged to Russian reporters: "Bardin 1, NHL 0."
This, NHL officials said, was about rubles. Club teams from other countries receive a $100,000 fee when a player signs with an NHL team. The speculation was that Bardin wanted more.
Bardin claimed he was battling for the future of Russian hockey.
All Chistov knew was he was being called a deserter by Omsk officials
"I was disappointed I had to leave," Chistov said. "My only reason to come Anaheim was rehab the knee, to get it 100% healthy. The medical help in the U.S. could get me healthier a lot faster. I was going back to Omsk and play at least one more year."
Chistov, who declined to say whether he was really in the army when he was drafted, was sent to boot camp for 11 days on his return.
"The future seemed uncertain," he said.
Things went from uncertain to bleak with a knock on his hotel room door in early November.
Chistov had rejoined Omsk for three games and the team was in Moscow. Members of the Moscow militia showed up at his hotel and took away him, Svitov and defenseman Kiril Kostov, who also had been inducted into the army.
The three were taken to a nearby base.
"Someone came to my door and told me there were army officers downstairs and they wanted me to go with them," Chistov said. "It wasn't a request.
"I wasn't really sure what was going on. I had a feeling. From the day I got back with Omsk, things were never the same. I was treated very differently. I knew things weren't going to be the same until I left."
Bardin complained that "we are witnessing the old Soviet hockey system."
It was nothing so sinister. The army decided that if the players were indeed in the army, they would play for the army's team in the Russian Super League.
Chistov and Svitov did not play again as a court battle ensued and, finally, the Russian defense minister ordered the players to be given back to Omsk. Instead, the two chose to sit and work out with the army's second division team.
"There is nothing you can do in that kind of situation but wait," Duck General Manager Bryan Murray said. "It was a lot tougher winter than it should have been for him."
Agent Jay Grossman finally secured the release of Chistov and Svitov. Both hastily traveled to New York. Grossman said he did not buy the players out of the army, as has been the case with other Russian players.
There were concerns that the time off would damage Chistov's development, but they disappeared during the World Juniors last winter, when he led Russia to the championship. He scored four goals and had 12 points in the tournament, including the game-tying goal against Canada in the championship game, and was named the tournament's MVP.
"We were concerned because he hadn't played in more than a month," said Alain Chainey, the Ducks' director of scouting. "He looked a little rusty in the first game. By the end of the tournament, he was doing magical stuff.
"The kid had a nice future. We just had to get him out of Russia."
Chistov is out and waits for his chance. He has been to New York, Phoenix and is now in Toronto working out, hoping that the multimillion-dollar deal gets done.
It is all a long way from Chelyabinsk, where Chistov first saw a Charlie Chaplin movie at the age of 13. It's a factory city and his parents are factory workers. Michael, his father, is on state disability after a crate fell on him, severely injuring his right arm. Larissa, his mother, operates a crane.
Sports were not a big part of family life. But Chistov had hockey dangled before him while walking to school when he was 7.
"It was an accident," Chistov said. "A local club coach was out looking for players. He asked me if I was interested. I didn't know. I went to school and thought about it and it sounded better and better as the day went on. I went and signed up right after school. I didn't even tell my parents.
"The first time I played, I scored and the feeling I got was amazing. I knew this was something I wanted to do."
Chistov joined the city's top club development team and was playing for the junior national team by the time he was 15. He joined Omsk when he was 17.
The Ducks ignored concern about Chistov's size--he was 5 feet 9, 178 pounds at the time. They weren't alone. Murray, then Florida's general manager, considered drafting him.
"I shouldn't say these things before we get him under contract, but he has got a sense for a game," Murray said. "He has that quality where the play around him always seems to be creative.
"He got caught up in all that stuff and had to stay there. But at the end of the day, we get a good hockey player."
24 ноября. Chistov takes minor detour to Cincinnati
Orange County Register
20 ноября. Нападающий «Цинциннати» Станислав Чистов:
Пока в суперлигу не собираюсь // "Советский Спорт"
12 ноября. Chistov Hits a Slump as Sophomore -
24 ноября. Chistov takes minor detour to Cincinnati // Orange County Register
20 ноября. Нападающий «Цинциннати» Станислав Чистов: Пока в суперлигу не собираюсь // "Советский Спорт"
12 ноября. Chistov Hits a Slump as Sophomore - LA Times