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12 февраля 2002 года.
Penguins Notebook: Players don't agree that gold tops Cup // Post-Gazette 

By Dave Molinari

Defenseman Darius Kasparaitis is a pretty competitive guy, so his win-at-all-costs reputation isn't entirely undeserved.

It isn't entirely accurate, either, because there are some things Kasparaitis simply wouldn't do for the sake of a victory.

He wouldn't commit a crime. Not a felony, anyway.

He wouldn't deliberately injure a child. At least not unless the kid looked like he was in line for a good scoring chance.

And he never would think of punching a teammate.

Well, not very often.

But after an exasperating 5-1 loss to the Czech Republic in the 1992 world junior championships, Kasparaitis -- inspired by the knowledge that, "at the time, [the Czechs] didn't have a good team" -- did just that, driving his fist into the head of Russian goalie Ildar Muhametov.

"We lost the game and he kind of let in a couple of soft ones," Kasparaitis said. "I was so mad. I just hit him in the head with my glove. I just kind of punched him. Not hard."

Perhaps, but the punch landed with enough force -- and conviction -- to persuade the coaching staff to pull Muhametov in favor of his backup, a relative unknown named Nikolai Khabibulin, whose outstanding play the rest of the way earned his team a championship.

Kasparaitis, like his teammates, got a medal for his performance. Unfortunately for him, it didn't come with recipes.

It seems the coaching staff, seeking to avoid having Kasparaitis' precedent of pounding an underachieving teammate become a trend, fined him two days' worth of meal money.

"I was starving for two days," said Kasparaitis, who acknowledged that punching Muhametov was "bad behavior by me."

Perhaps, but at least his thirst for victory had been quenched. Just as it was a few months later when Kasparaitis was a member of the Unified Team that won a gold medal at the Albertville Olympics.

"It was an amazing feeling," Kasparaitis said. "I remember, I was on the ice with 10 seconds left in the game. I can't express what it was like. Hopefully, one day I'm going to feel like that one day again."

That day could arrive before the end of this month, because Kasparaitis will play for Russia at the Games in Salt Lake City, and his team is among the pretournament favorites.

Kasparaitis does not belong to the exclusive club of men who have won a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold, and neither do most of the other Penguins -- Mario Lemieux (Canada), Robert Lang and Jan Hrdina (Czech Republic) and Johan Hedberg (Sweden) -- who will compete in Utah.

The lone exception among the Penguins is right winger Alexei Kovalev, who earned gold in 1992 and a Stanley Cup ring with the New York Rangers in 1994.

Страничка Дариуса Каспарайтиса на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"

ПРЕССА

29 июля. «Рэйнджерс» отказались от идеи выкупа контракта Дариуса Каспарайтиса. 

4 декабря. Дариус Каспарайтис: "Мой любимый прием - "мельница" // "Советский Спорт"

23 октября. Хабибулин и Каспарайтис - в "Ак Барсе" - "Спорт-Экспресс"

20 августа. Дариус Каспарайтис: "Кубок Мира выиграет самая дружная команда" - Спорт-Экспресс.

24 декабря. Kaspar Puts On Big Hit - Newsday

4 декабря. Kasparaitis a Jolly Ranger - Newsday

20 августа. Каспарайтису прооперировано правое колено.

11 августа. Каспарайтис - Король силовых приемов - Советский Спорт

20 февраля. Дарюс забыл обиду

19 февраля. Sather Down on Darius

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