Capitals gain with Khristich // Toronto Sun
By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
Fans of the Maple Leafs are wrong in thinking that Dmitri Khristich
played without emotion during his time in Toronto. Is indifference not
And Khristich was very emotional about his indifference.
When asked about his lackadaisical efforts on the ice, Khristich often
became sullen and bitter. Are they too not emotions?
In any event, the joke is, after 93 regualr-season and playoff games
as aLeaf, Khristich suddenly wants to show the fans at the Air Canada Centre
that he is a complete package.
"When I was there people started not liking me and booing me," Khristich
told the Washington Post this week. "And I would like to prove them wrong."
The fans at the normally sedate ACC jeered Khristich because they felt
he was not playing with passion. So if he does lace up tonight for the
Washington Capitals at the ACC (although it is likely he won't because
of a strained left hamstring) and plays hard, he is actually proving the
fans right -- that during his tenure with the Leafs he didn't care that
And even if he doesn't play this evening, Khristich already has demonstrated
with the Caps that he is capable of doing more than he showed with the
Leafs. The stats speak for themselves: In 27 games for the Leafs this season,
Khristich managed just nine points. In his second go-round as a member
of the Capitals, the Ukrainian centre, who played mostly as a winger in
Toronto, has 14 points in 12 games.
On top of that, coach Ron Wilson is playing Khristich on the Caps'
first line with centre Adam Oates and talented tough guy Chris Simon, although
Toronto coach/GM Pat Quinn often bumped Khristich up to the Leafs' top
line with little success. Wilson had been searching desperately for a qualified
right-winger to play with the crafty Oates.
There are some whispers that Khristich's hamstring injury is not as
serious as the Caps make it out to be, and that he just didn't want to
play last night against Boston or tonight in Toronto. He finished his career
in Boston (1997-99) being booed by the fans.
Sources in Washington say that Khristich appears happier in the U.S.
capital than he did when he played there between 1990 and 1995. Of course,
in those days the language barrier was a big problem.
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