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15 сентября 2001 года.
Capitals' Gonchar Regains Bounce // "Washigton Post"

Overtime Mistake Is Put in the Past 

By Jason La Canfora

Sergei Gonchar's season ended with his eyes focused on the ice between his skates, trying to find a bouncing puck that would quickly end up in the Washington Capitals' net. Gonchar lost possession at his blueline in overtime of Game 6 of Washington's first-round playoff series with Pittsburgh, and Penguins forward Martin Straka pounced on the blunder and converted a full-speed breakaway, the last image of the Capitals' campaign.

Gonchar was nearly inconsolable in the aftermath and his teammates rushed to comfort him. He was still shaken the next afternoon as he cleaned out his dressing room stall and the club's coaching staff counseled him at length before he departed for the summer. The moment haunted the 27-year-old defenseman as he headed to the Dominican Republic with his wife a week after the series concluded, but somewhere on those golden beaches he began to let go, forgive himself for the mistake and focus on the future.

"It sticks with you for a while," Gonchar said. "I went on vacation and when you lay on the beach you think about everything you could have done and what you could do differently. And then after a while I stopped thinking about it. 

"I hopefully have another seven to 10 years of playing hockey in front of me. What happened, happened, and I can't change the past but another season is coming up and what I've got to do is go out there and play the best I can. If you're going to stick with your memories forever it's not going to do any good; you have to try your best to not worry about what happened last time and do the best you can."

One sequence tainted what had been a strong season for Gonchar, one in which he set career highs in points (57) and assists (38), earned his first all-star berth and was among the first eight players selected to the 2002 Russian Olympic Team. Gonchar finished fifth among all NHL defensemen in points, tied for second among the league's defensemen with 19 goals and played a more consistent defensive game than in years past. Continuing to solidify his defensive instincts, becoming more selective about when to make forays up ice and maintaining a regular offensive presence would further Gonchar's development this season.

"In the maturing process of an NHL defenseman, especially an offensive-minded NHL defenseman, it takes a while to get everything to come together," Coach Ron Wilson said. "It's a very complicated position to play and Gonch has improved every year since he's been here. 

"We expect him to continue to improve and having someone like [summer acquisition] Jaromir Jagr in our lineup should help anybody, especially an offensive-defenseman, because he has an ability to know where everybody is on the ice and the ability to deliver the puck at the right time."

Gonchar's vicious and accurate shot has made him a vital cog on the power play, and helped him score nine more goals than any NHL defenseman over the last three seasons. Often, those goals come in bunches. Gonchar scored nine goals and 28 points in the final 32 games of last season and is known as a slow starter. He scored just three goals through the first two months of last season and did not sore his first goal of the 1999-2000 season until Dec. 7.

Wilson said he is striving for stability and consistency among his defensemen and plans to utilize the same top pairs that led the team through the past few seasons. Gonchar, selected 14th overall in the 1992 draft, has skated primarily with veteran Joe Reekie since breaking into the NHL in 1995. Their abilities are complementary, with Reekie concerned solely with keeping the puck out of the net and Gonchar dangerous in the offensive zone.

"He's underrated," Gonchar said. "People don't understand how much he does. He plays so well defensively and that frees me up and lets me go. And when he does that I have so much confidence."

Reekie and Gonchar have developed a bond through the years; the final sequence of last season was difficult for both men. Now, they are looking forward to another season spent playing together and a much longer ride through the playoffs.
"You look back and it was tough on me and it was tough on him," Reekie said. "But that series just didn't come down to one play. I talked to him afterward and said, 'It's nobody's fault; you win and lose as a team.' And he's come in and looked great this year and we as a team have basically forgotten about last year and started a new phase. 

"We learned from last year and we remember the feeling of not winning and it's basically out of our system now. We've got a better team now and we're thinking about this year, not the past." 

Страничка Сергея Гончара на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


4 августа. Penguins acquire offensive Gonchar - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

2 августа. Гончар стал «пингвином». 

25 июля. Только у нас. Защитник Сергей Гончар: Не все так плохо, ребята - Советский Спорт

30 октября. Гончар без сознания попал в больницу // "Спорт-Экспресс"

8 октября. Сергей Гончар: "Играть за сборную в Евротуре не буду" // "Спорт-Эсперсс"

7 авуста. Защитник сборной России и «Бостона» Сергей Гончар: В «Динамо» сказали, что я им неинтересен - Советский Спорт.

4 августа. For Bruins, price is right on Gonchar - Boston Globe

3 августа. Зарплата Гончара выросла до $5.5 миллиона долларов.

9 июля. Гончар собирается в “Ладу”.

29 мая. Сергей Гончар: "Зубрус еще не знает, даст ли ему федерация Литвы разрешение играть за Россию" - Спорт-Экспресс. 


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года