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|14 ноября 2006
Kasparaitis: I want to play // Newsday
BY ANTHONY RIEBER
November 14, 2006
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Darius Kasparaitis returned to the Rangers yesterday with a chip on his shoulder and a bull's-eye on his back.
The veteran defenseman's 10-day exile to Hartford, officially known as a "conditioning assignment," ended as he skated with the Rangers at practice. His status for tonight's home game against the Devils is unknown, as is his future with the organization.
"We'll see how it goes," coach Tom Renney said about the excitable 34-year-old with the salary cap-choking contract ($2.9 million this season and next) and diminishing skills.
"All I need is a couple of big, big games," Kasparaitis said, "and the support of the coaching staff."
That support may or may not be coming, although Kasparaitis' contract means he probably will get another chance before the Rangers make a final decision on keeping him all season or stashing him in the minors.
As lovely as Hartford is this time of year, Kasparaitis isn't ready to spend the next two seasons in the AHL, even if he would get paid his full salary.
"I've been playing in this league a long time," he said. "Everybody knows what I can bring and how I play. They know my style. I need only a chance. It's hard to play hockey if you're being judged every game.
"I want to play and I want to play a lot. If it takes time for me to wait . . . I guess there's nothing to lose anymore for me."
Kasparaitis has appeared in six games with the Rangers after offseason shoulder and hernia surgeries. He said he feels "100 percent better than a month ago" and hopes his next move isn't out the door for good.
"My main concern is to play here, but if I can't do that, I want to play in the NHL," he said. "I want to retire as an NHL hockey player, not somewhere in the minors."
The Rangers also sent Nigel Dawes to Hartford to get some playing time. Dawes, 21, had been a healthy scratch in seven of the last eight games.