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Rambler's Top100

1 марта 2002 года.
Kasparaitis most likely to be traded - Canadian Press


Rugged defenceman Darius Kasparaitis of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the most likely candidate to find a new home before the March 19 NHL trading deadline, an attractive late-season addition for any contending team. 

Kasparaitis is among a talented group of players headed for unrestricted free agency July 1 who may get dealt because their current teams don't want to lose them this summer without getting anything in return. 

Other high-profile unrestricted free agents include forwards Teemu Selanne of the San Jose Sharks, Tony Amonte of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bobby Holik of the New Jersey Devils and Bill Guerin of the Boston Bruins. 

It is Kasparaitis that is the most talked about. With Mario Lemieux out for the season, the Penguins appear destined to miss the playoffs and general manager Craig Patrick would be foolish to hang on to a player he probably can't afford to re-sign. 

Kasparaitis and his agent, Mark Gandler, are expecting a trade. 

"We believe it's probably going to happen because Mario is not going to come back this year," Gandler said from his New Jersey office Monday. "When you lose a player of that calibre, making the playoffs is that much harder. 

"Craig would be justified in moving Darius because otherwise he could get nothing for him. You might as well move him since the team is not in the playoff hunt. At least, that's my perspective." 

Kasparaitis is a hard-rock defenceman with a nasty edge to his game -- exactly what teams are looking for in the playoffs. Gandler has no idea where his client will end up but says it doesn't really matter. 

"He's not think about a particular team," Gandler said. "He has no stipulation or desires about where he wants to play for the balance of the year. 

"It really makes no difference. Once you become an unrestricted free agent then you have a right to choose." 

Generally, players qualify for unrestricted free agency if their contracts run out and they are 31 or older before July 1. Kasparaitis will only be 29 on July 1 but becomes unrestricted because he's played 10 years in the league and his $1.150 million US salary is less than the NHL average of $1.5 million US -- the same loophole that freed up Martin Lapointe last year. 

It was a calculated move last summer by Gandler and Kasparaitis, who decided to skip on a potential arbitration award that would have fetched a higher salary in order to cash in on unrestricted free agency this summer. 

"It cost a lot of money to do that," Gandler said. "Darius is making $1.150 million and the arbitrator would have given him probably at least a million more." 

Kasparaitis is the cream of the crop on defence this summer, where there's not much to pick from among the unrestricted free agents. The others include Luke Richardson of the Philadelphia Flyers, Jiri Slegr of the Atlanta Thrashers, Brett Hedican of the Carolina Hurricanes and Igor Kravchuk of the Calgary Flames. 

Contending teams won't likely dump a star player just because he's unrestricted July 1. A couple more home playoff games would more than compensate for losing that player for nothing this summer. 

Therefore, expect Guerin to stay in Boston and Selanne to stick in San Jose. The defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche had three key unrestricted free agents last season -- Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Rob Blake. The Avs signed all three June 30, a day before other teams would have had a crack at them. 

"History would indicate that teams that are comfortably in the playoffs and can win some rounds, tend not to trade those players," Mike Gillis, the agent for Amonte and Holik, said from Kingston, Ont., on Monday. "Teams that are fighting for a playoff spot or are out of the playoffs tend to trade those players to get some value in return before they move on. 

"I think that's more an indication that players tend to gravitate more towards teams that are more capable of winning." 

The Blackhawks have a tough decision to make with Amonte. They're having their best year since 1995-96 but have been nowhere close to Amonte's ballpark in contract negotiations. That's going to be a last-minute decision by general manager Mike Smith come March 19. 

The Devils are in a similar spot with Holik. How can they afford to trade such a proven playoff performer? History suggests they'll stay put. They didn't deal Alexander Mogilny last season and watched him sign with Toronto in the off-season. 

"I think in the case of my two guys -- New Jersey seems to be turning their season around and Chicago has had a season that nobody expected," Gillis said of Amonte and Holik's situations. "The Hawks have overachieved the whole year -- due mostly to (coach) Brian Sutter. 

"I don't anticipate either of my guys moving." 

There are four high-profile goaltenders who are unrestricted July 1: Ed Belfour of the Dallas Stars, Curtis Joseph of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Byron Dafoe of the Boston Bruins and Mike Richter of the New York Rangers. 

Joseph, Dafoe and Richter aren't going anywhere but don't be surprised to see the Stars attempt to move the enigmatic Belfour, who has lost his job to youngster Marty Turco, who was named the NHL's player of the week Monday. 

Among the teams that could use Belfour are St. Louis, which lacks a true No. 1 in Brent Johnson and Fred Brathwaite, and Toronto, who is without Joseph (broken finger) for at least a month. 

Belfour, who will turn 37 next month, is earning $6 million US this season. He's having a horrible year, his .897 save percentage placing him 47th in the league among goalies who have played at least 15 games. 

Still, he's a Stanley Cup winner and a money goalie with experience. Expect the Blues to make a hard push. 

Страничка Дариуса Каспарайтиса на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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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