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февраля 2003 года
Sather Down on Darius - Newsday
By Arthur Staple
St. Paul, Minn. - The second piece of the puzzle signed with the Rangers on the second day of free agency in July. With Bobby Holik locked up, the Rangers gave Darius Kasparaitis a six-year, $25.5-million deal to return to New York.
Glen Sather envisioned a sturdy, responsible defenseman who could punish opposing players for skating near the Rangers net - or hunt down an opponent for a bruising hit in open ice.
Kasparaitis does not need anyone else to tell him what he has given the Rangers through 62 games.
"A lot of people expected me to come in and help the team, and I've failed," said Kasparaitis, who has fallen so far in Sather's mind that the GM/coach would not guarantee Kasparaitis a spot in tonight's lineup against the Wild with newly acquired Janne Laukkanen fit to play.
Kasparaitis' reputation as a joker and free spirit has proven true. But he has been stung at times by criticism, especially in regards to his long-term deal.
"People like to think about my salary now, more than me as a player," Kasparaitis said. "People love to count money. There's nothing I can do about it. I have to improve myself and play better every game."
He has reduced his plus/minus number from minus-17 on Dec. 14 to its current minus-8, and also scored his only three goals during those last 28 games. But he still has a penchant for pinching into the offensive zone to make a highlight-reel hit at the wrong time, as he did on Monday night in Ottawa.
He moved to hit Daniel Alfredsson, who easily sprung Mike Fisher for the two-on-one goal that broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period.
Since Sather took over, Kasparaitis has played fewer than 15 minutes in four of eight games. Under Bryan Trottier, there were only two sub-15 minute nights in 52 games.
"He really hasn't played the way he's capable of playing," Sather said after practice at the Xcel Center yesterday. Although Kasparaitis said he has learned to try and play within the desired system the Rangers want to play, Sather is still unconvinced.
Asked if he has spoken to Kasparaitis about defensive responsibility, Sather sighed. "He's been told maybe eight million times," Sather said. "I can't really tell you why. I don't know if he's still trying to do too much."
Kasparaitis, who has stayed in his house on Long Island despite the long commute to the team's training facility in Greenburgh, does not dream of what might have happened if he chose the only other offer on the table - from the Leafs - or waited for the Islanders to jump in to a bidding war that never materialized.
"I don't regret anything," said Kasparaitis, whose deal might make him
the least likely Ranger to be dealt. "I just wish things were different,
that we played up to the expectations."
27 октября. Kasparaitis struggles to make it on Broadway
- Toronto Sun
13 октября. Botched hit caps awful night for Kasparaitis
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
27 октября. Kasparaitis struggles to make it on Broadway - Toronto Sun
13 октября. Botched hit caps awful night for Kasparaitis - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review