Реклама в Интернет * Все Кулички
|12 февраля 2001
Kalinin simply doing the job for Sabres // Buffalonews.com
By MELISSA GESCHWIND
For a 6-foot-2, 200-pound man, Dmitri Kalinin is easy to miss.
"When you start to notice him on the ice," Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said, "you start to notice mistakes."
The rookie defenseman goes unnoticed most nights - for an average of 20 minutes a game. He patrols the Sabres' zone quietly and efficiently, doing nothing more than blocking those shots that need to be blocked, hitting those forwards that need to be hit and clearing those pucks that need to be cleared. It's not a job that brings fame, or even infamy, but it's a job that has to be done - and Kalinin is developing into one of the most reliable lunch-pail defensemen in the NHL.
"For a first-year performer, he's had a heck of a year so far," Ruff said. "There's not a lot of nights where you have to go over positioning or his competitive nature."
Ruff took a chance when he benched Kalinin against Tampa Bay on Feb. 1. Kalinin's nose had been losing contact with the grindstone, but he was hardly the only Sabre struggling at that point.
Still, Ruff sat Kalinin in the hope that the 20-year-old would benefit from a one-game "timeout."
"I had a couple of bad games before I got benched, so I was kind of thinking about it, and I realized that I've got to play better than I did before," Kalinin said.
It may sound simplistic, but that's the whole idea. Since his return to the lineup, Kalinin has reverted to the solid, basic style of play that kept him out of Rochester in the first half of the season.
"I just tried to keep it simple: shoot the puck out (of the defensive zone) and make the simple plays," he said.
In the Sabres' 2-1 overtime victory against the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, Kalinin blocked a shot, recorded a takeaway and had an assist on Maxim Afinogenov's game-winner - not a night to tax statisticians, but exactly the kind of quietly effective performance Ruff wants out of Kalinin.
"I think his play had gotten a little bit sloppy and individual mistakes were starting to hurt him. But that was more of trying to do too much than trying to do too little, and that's the only thing that was hurting him," Ruff said. "Move the puck, be ready to join, but you don't have to do it yourself. I think one time (Wednesday night) he was going to try to beat two guys in the neutral zone again, and those are the things I'd like him to stay away from."
Youthful exuberance aside, Kalinin will never be mistaken for a selfish player.
"In the last game I played more defensively, and that's probably the
key when we win. It's not only me - everybody played good defense," he