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Chistov wearing 'too small' label with pride - ESPN The Magazine
By Lindsay Berra
If you're going to wear the "too small" label stamped prominently on your forehead (as all NHLers shorter than 6-feet inevitably do), it can't hurt to be compared to the best little guy in the business -- Anaheim's explosive, goal-scoring, high-flying center Paul Kariya. And it can't hurt to be drafted by the same team that showed a little faith and drafted the undersized superstar.
Stanislav Chistov was dubbed by some as the most talented player in the June 2001 entry draft, which included the likes of Thrashers phenom Ilya Kovalchuk and the pride of Ontario, Jason Spezza. Back then, he was listed at 5-9, 169 pounds -- too small by many teams' standards. But the Ducks weren't worried, because Kariya, their six-time All-Star, is only 5-10, 182 pounds (give or take a pair of skates).
Now, Chistov is 5-10 and has bulked-up to 195 pounds -- bigger than Kariya could ever hope to be.
"I don't feel small," says Chistov. "Ask the defensemen."
Try asking the league's entry from St. Louis. Chistov had a goal and four points against the Blues in his NHL debut on October 10th -- no first-timer has had that many points since Al Hill of the Flyers tallied five in 1977 against (ahem) St. Louis.
Since then, Chistov has scored five more goals and added seven more assists, for a total of 17 points. He plays the right wing regularly with left winger Matt Cullen and center Andy McDonald, and logs time on the Ducks second power-play unit. While Adam Oates was nursing his broken hand, Chistov took his place at with Kariya on the first. He also has been benched twice, but so it goes for rookies.
"He's beyond gifted. He has unbelievable skill and unbelievable vision, and he creates time and space every time he has the puck," says Ducks coach Mike Babcock. "There's no one that can spin like this guy one on one. He makes everyone he plays with better."
Says teammate Petr Sykora: "He has the best hands I've seen in a long, long time."
Which is why his Russian team didn't want to let him go. Once he was drafted, Chistov flew to Anaheim to rehab a bum knee. Anatoly Bardin, president of Chistov's Russian League team, Omsk, was enraged at the thought of losing his top players and "procured" papers deeming Chistov and Alexander Svitov, Tampa Bay's first pick (third overall) in the 2001 draft, AWOL from the Army.
Bound by International Ice Hockey Federation rules about military service, the players returned to Russia and rejoined Omsk. But, military officials decided that if Chistov and Svitov were indeed in the army, they would play for the Central Red Army team. So, at an away game in Moscow in October, 2001, military police physically escorted Chistov and Svitov from their hotel to the Moscow garrison of the Central Red Army. As a result of the dispute, Chistov played only 10 games last season -- all for Omsk -- and didn't register a single point.
The highlight of his year came when he was granted special permission to play for Russia at the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. Chistov had four goals and eight points in seven games and was named the tournament's MVP as the Russians captured the gold after a 5-4 win over the Canadians in the final.
And, when all the papers and rubles were in order, when the hockey higher-ups and the military officials were satisfied, Chistov signed with the Ducks.
"I always knew I did nothing wrong, that I did everything by the book," said Chistov. "I just wanted to play. But there was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of mental stress. Now, it's behind me."
Like many Russian born-and-bred players, Chistov mixes outstanding skill with an infuriating tendency towards unselfishness -- he'll often look to pass at the expense of a perfectly good shot on goal. But, he has a leg up on most young Russians in the NHL. Chistov spent two years playing youth hockey in San Mateo, Calif., so language isn't such a big barrier. Though he still needs veteran teammates Ruslan Salei, of Belarus, and Vitaly Vishnevski, of Russia, to communicate fully in English, he understands way more than he lets on.
It's his giant grin that gives him away.
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