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|22 ноября 1990
Another Soviet for Nords; Defenceman Gusarov signs with Quebec // Ottawa Citizen
Soviet defencemen Alexei Gusarov and his ability to win will join the lowly Quebec Nordiques within two weeks, the National Hockey League club announced Wednesday.
Nordiques general manager Pierre Page said Gusarov has signed a four-year contract. He will be in Quebec once he is relieved of his duties as an officer in the Soviet Red Army.
''Gusarov has played in many world championships and won several Olympic gold medals,'' Page (pronounced Pah jay') said. ''In addition to being a talented player, he is a winner.''
He said Gusarov, 26, was the youngest player ever to leave the Red Army team to join the NHL and he was the first player released through negotiations between a professional team and Mosprosport, the Red Army negotiating committee.
Page declined to say in a telephone conference call how much was paid for Gusarov's release or what salary the club would pay him.
Nordiques president Marcel Aubut visited Moscow last week to arrange the deal.
Gusarov was to receive authorisation from the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation on Wednesday and should obtain his release from the army within a week, Aubut said.
''We were lucky to sign such a young hockey player in the middle of the season, before the well-known Izvestia tournament (in late December) and their tour against NHL teams (in January),'' said Aubut.
Aubut also tried to land right winger Valeri Kamemsky, 24, but the Soviets wanted to keep him until the 1992 Winter Olympics in France.
Gusarov joins a team that finished last overall in the 21-team NHL the last two seasons and took a 14-game losing streak _ a team record _ into Wednesday night's game against the Whalers in Hartford.
Gusarov, six-foot-two, 180 pounds, was picked 213th overall by Quebec in the 1988 Entry Draft.
''We got him for his mobility and his defensive play,'' said Page. ''We needed someone who doesn't get beat one-on-one and he's good at that.''
He said Gusarov was more defence-oriented than Viacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov, his former teammates and fellow defencemen who joined the New Jersey Devils last season.
Page said he was ''almost certain'' to get Gusarov when he traded Michel Petit, one of Quebec's best defencemen, along with forwards Aaron Broten and Lucien Deblois to the Toronto Maple Leafs last weekend. The Nordiques got forward Scott Pearson and two second-round draft picks in return.
Page defended the deal.
''We'll try to replace Petit with Gusarov and the the other two (Broten and Deblois) will give us a chance to draft an impact player,'' Page said.
The Nordiques had a disastrous experience last season with Soviet goaltender Sergei Mylnikov, who reported out of shape and was rarely used. Mylnikov, 30, was not invited back this season.
Page said Gusarov should adapt more easily.
''His age and the fact that he's played quite a bit in North America should help,'' Page said. ''He's only 26 so he's not as burnt out as some other people.
''All I know from talking to other general managers like Lou Lamoriello (New Jersey) and Pat Quinn (Vancouver) who have Soviet players is that learning the language is 90 per cent of the solution.
''And they need feedback because they are used to a structured environment. They're used to being told what to do.''