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3 июля 2002 года. 
Rangers Toughen Up. Kasparaitis gets $25 million, gives Blueshirts much-needed edge - Newsday

By Arthur Staple STAFF WRITER

First, they got bigger and stronger. Yesterday's step two of Glen Sather's free-agent plan made the Rangers meaner - and mean Rangers have been as rare as playoff games during the past several seasons.

Again showing a willingness to open the Cablevision checkbook, Sather signed defenseman Darius Kasparaitis to a six-year deal believed to be worth $25 million. Added to Monday's $45-million signing of former Devil Bobby Holik, Sather has acquired in two days what the Rangers could not muster consistently during any of the last five seasons: a nasty, imposing edge.

"We've got a lot hungrier team than we had [before Monday]," Sather said last night. "Things have certainly worked very well. We had a lot of irons in the fire, but this is the way we had things planned from the beginning. Darius sounds great. He's just the kind of defenseman we were looking for."

The feeling is mutual. The onetime Islanders fan favorite and nemesis of just about every player on his new roster - when Eric Lindros made a recruiting phone call on Monday, Kasparaitis' reaction was, "Who the heck is this?" - is right at home with the Rangers.

New coach Bryan Trottier was an assistant with the Penguins and Avalanche when Kasparaitis was with both teams, and there's that Islanders connection as well.

"Honestly, I always felt, even when I was an Islander, that one day I'm going to play for the Rangers," he said. "I like the New York area, the Rangers-Islanders rivalry. Madison Square Garden is the best building to play in. With all the guys calling me, I felt like they really wanted me."

Sather made overtures to Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, who was looking for $14 million over two years, but decided to give Kasparaitis, 29, the long-term deal he sought. It is believed to be a five-year deal with a player option for a sixth. After a disappointing arbitration hearing last summer with the Penguins, Kasparaitis opted for a one-year, $1.15-million deal, leaving himself the option of becoming a Group V free agent - 10 NHL seasons and earning under the league salary average. He was dealt to Colorado at the trading deadline and finished last season with two goals, 12 assists and 142 penalty minutes in 80 games.

The Avalanche never showed much interest in re-signing Kasparaitis, who had only one other serious offer, from the Leafs. Sather also nabbed Holik out from under Toronto's nose, prompting Leafs executive Bill Watters to say yesterday that "We've made substantive attempts to get two free agents and both of them were blocked by the Rangers."

The Leafs also lost Curtis Joseph, whose agent said yesterday that the Rangers were in the mix, to the Red Wings yesterday and were forced to shell out $13.5 million over two seasons to wild-card goaltender Ed Belfour.

Kasparaitis had made noise about wanting to return to the Islanders, but his demands were too steep. Not so for the Rangers, who are making the sorts of moves fans envisioned when Sather took over two years ago.

"I'm feeling really good about our club right now," said Lindros, who suffered one of his first concussions on a hit by Kasparaitis and butted heads with the defenseman last season. "There's still some questions about some important players in our organization, but where we stand right now, we're in good shape."

Sather will be addressing those key players starting today, most notably Mike Richter. With Joseph a Wing and Belfour a Leaf, Richter's options are slim. That means he should finish his career as a Ranger, but at Sather's reduced price of perhaps $4 million a season, down from the $6 million Richter earned last year.

"I've said all along I'd like to sign Mike," Sather said. "We're still going to proceed with that plan."

Regarding unsigned wingers Bill Guerin and Tony Amonte, Sather said he did not think the Rangers would pursue either one right now. If Richter returns to the fold, other signings may be less significant - veteran defenseman Luke Richardson or another, lower-priced forward.

Even if they do nothing else but add a goaltender, the Rangers have addressed some pressing needs that even their newest player understands had to be upgraded.

"It's just team commitment," Kasparaitis said. "The Rangers are a good team, they had a good start last season and I don't know what happened after that. It's chemistry and that's something I hope I can bring." 

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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