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ноября 2000 года.
Hope not dim for Khristich // "Toronto Sun"
By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun
Khristich, the embattled Maple Leafs forward, yesterday got a huge vote of confidence from the club's general manager/coach, the same man who stuck his neck out on a $10.29- million US contract for Khristich a year ago. Khristich is hearing the same barbs he heard with the Boston Bruins, before that club took the unprecedented step of walking away from an arbitrator's $2.8-million salary decision and made him a free agent.
"I wish you (media) guys would stop picking on him," Quinn said yesterday at Lakeshore Lions Arena before a flight to Manhattan for tonight's game against the New York Rangers. "Like a lot of us, it's not happening for him. I think he can be a good player for us. I don't see him as having lost it."
The boss insisted through the summer that the hip/groin pull Khristich suffered midway through 1999-2000 had factored into his 30-point season and one-goal playoff far more than people thought. Khristich also lost several teeth when a puck struck him in the mouth.
But the same lethargy has emerged in the 31-year-old Khristich in 2000-01. Five points in 20 games translated to trade rumours this month and an anonymous remark in the dressing room that Khristich was becoming "a distraction."
Key Bruins shared that feeling, but now Khristich's salary is a millstone around his neck, drawing more attention to his plight.
"I guess that's the way of our game today," Quinn said, "but those who criticize usually have done squat in their real lives."
Quinn, whose team has won just one of its past five games (1-2-2), then shifted gears to defend his team's overall offensive output. Until pumping six goals past the woeful Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, they were running a few goals below their pace of 1999-2000.
"We have other objectives rather than scoring," Quinn said. "(Individual) points can be the worst measuring stick. Sure our scoring is down, but so is our goals-against average."
Khristich, who has been bounced around a few lines since he arrived last year, was working between Tie Domi and Garry Valk yesterday. He owns up to his poor numbers, but insists his injury still isn't 100% healed.
"I don't have the jump I should," Khristich said. "I always think I might pull it again."
He understands the salary issue has made life harder on him, but added that money was not an issue when he made far less and scored 60-plus points with the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings and Boston.
Khristich said he has tried many different ways to pull out of his slump -- changing sticks, equipment, even his helmet.
"I would like to have power-play time, penalty-killing time, but if
it's not clicking my way I'm just going to concentrate on helping any way
I can," he said.