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|7 ноября 2003 года.
Malakhov at heart of resurgence - НХЛ.com
By John McGourty
The New York Rangers have been one of the NHL's most improved teams in recent weeks and the solid play of its rebuilt defense is one of the biggest reasons.
The addition of free-agent Greg deVries has been an important factor. The play of defense partners Vladimir Malakhov and Boris Mironov is another. Mironov is an impressive plus-4 through the first 12 games and Malakhov is plus-2. Mironov was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last season while Malakhov is in his fourth season with the Rangers. Third actually, because he played only three games for them the first year, following knee surgery, after he was signed as a free agent in 2000.
Malakhov has put up only nine goals and 41 assists in his four Rangers seasons, a far cry from the 10 goals and 47 assists he posted for the 1993-94 New York Islanders in his second season in the NHL. But the NHL hasn't been an easy go for Malakhov, who has two surgically repaired knees and a rebuilt shoulder. He's been criticized by teams and fans for not meeting their expectations in recent years, despite the obvious reasons for why he often struggled.
Malakhov would rather make his statement on the ice, by playing well. He is tired and wary of those who want to know why he isn't a dominant player in the NHL. There are reasons why one of the world's greatest defensemen has had a controversial career -- surgeries, a sensitive nature hidden behind bravado and the difficulty of dealing with nuance in a foreign language.
But the things that drive Malakhov to return to the New York Rangers at age 35 are the same things that drive nearly every NHL player: He loves to play, he wants to win a championship and he desires respect.
Malakhov was part of a blockbuster trade in 1995 when the Islanders sent him, along with Pierre Turgeon, to the Montreal Canadiens for Kirk Muller, Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby. He was Montreal's second-leading scoring defenseman the next year, but missed the final 13 games and the Playoffs with a knee injury.
He missed 17 games with knee problems the next year and 19 games in 1998-99. The knee problem would recur again and again and eventually pave the way for his departure from Montreal in the famous "Bunny Hill" episode. Malakhov missed the first 54 games of the 1999-00 season while recuperating from knee surgery, then was seen teaching his son to ski in February. Controversy ensued and the Canadiens traded him to the New Jersey Devils. There, he helped the Devils win the 2000 Stanley Cup while contributing a goal and four assists in 23 playoff games. He signed as a free agent with the Rangers prior to the 2000-01 season, which proved to be short and disappointing. Malakhov injured his knee in his first Rangers game and missed the next 79 games. He missed only one game in 2001-02, but last season was out for four games due to back spasms and the last seven games to a shoulder injury that required surgery.
"You should learn from every game that you play, every shift you should be learning something." - Vladimir Malakhov
The injuries have had a sad and indisputable effect on one of the most promising hockey careers. Malakhov grew up in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and quickly attracted the eyes of the Soviet hockey masters. He played two years for Spartak in the Russian league before being recruited to the Soviet Red Army where he played with Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov, Vladimir Krutov and Alexander Mogilny. He captained the team when they won the league championship in 1989. Malakhov helped the Soviets win the World Championships in 1989 and 1990 and he was one of the best players on the ice. When paired with Sergei Zubov, he led the United Team, consisting of former Soviet Republics, to the Olympic gold medal in 1992. He would also add an Olympic bronze medal in 2002.
Zubov smiled when asked recently about teaming with Malakhov in the 1992 Olympics. Some have called the gold-medal CIS team one of the best they've ever seen, amateur or professional.
"Ah, we were young then and we had a lot of fun," Zubov said. "We played on a very good team and it's nice you remember us that way."
Malakhov turned from wary to wistful while discussing his early international career.
"When I got to the international team, I played with Slava Fetisov and with the big line of Russia with Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov," he said. "That was a great experience, the way those guys could read each other. If they closed their eyes, they could still complete their passes. They knew where each one was. It was unbelievable what they could do."
Malakhov marvels at how Larionov has remained effective.
"He is 43! I don't know how he can still do this! It's still good to
play against him. He is so patient and he sees the ice so well. In Russia,
they teach the center to play back more and that's probably why he is still
able to play so well," Malakhov said. "He is a like a pitcher who changes
his speeds with his passes on the ice and his skating. He can look one
way and make a perfect pass in the other direction to his teammate because
he sees what is going on so well."
Malakhov said he has a strong desire to win another Stanley Cup but first the Rangers have to make the playoffs. He said he learned a lot during that playoff run with the Devils and would love an injury-free season to accomplish his goals.
"I didn't play that whole season because I hurt my knee early," Malakhov said. "That was a great experience, playing in the playoffs and in the Finals. You can learn from any game, even right now. You should learn from every game that you play, every shift you should be learning something. We want to make the playoffs.
"I've missed them the last four years and the playoffs are the best time of the year. It's very emotional. I also want to play well for my team."
Malakhov said it does no good to lament what might have been and as a professional, he expects some injuries. Still, it's clear he knows things might have been different, and his reputation greater, had it not been for a long string of knee problems.
"I can't make excuses. Injuries are part of our game but when you miss six months like I did, it's very hard," he said. "My doctor told me the surgeries changed the mechanics of my knees and I would skate differently. It's still in my head that it's not a healthy knee anymore and I have to do some things to protect it. It feels pretty good right now. Sometimes it swells up a lot but right now, knock, knock knock knock on wood, it's good.
"I have to warm it up before practice. It's part of this business. I
have to take care of it. Warm up before games and practice, and ice it
afterwards. It was pretty tough in the beginning. It was pretty tough mentally.
After the surgery, there was still improvement. The first time I worried
that my career might be over but the second time the rehabilitation went
much quicker because I knew what to expect. That time, at least, I knew
that life wouldn't stop. Some guys go their whole career without a serious
injury, but most of us don't."
Страничка Владимира Малахова
на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"
13 сентября. Владимир Малахов: "Сохранить российскую
тройку!" - Спорт-Экспресс.
21 декабря. Владимир Малахов: "Возможно, сезон НХЛ
стартует через 10 дней" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
4 ноября. Владимир Малахов: "Ковыряемся потихоньку"
- "Спорт Экспресс"
4 февраля. Владимир Малахов. Москва на Гудзоне
- Советский Спорт
31 октября. Malakhov Is Turning It Up - The Newsday
13 сентября. Владимир Малахов: "Сохранить российскую тройку!" - Спорт-Экспресс.
21 декабря. Владимир Малахов: "Возможно, сезон НХЛ стартует через 10 дней" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
4 ноября. Владимир Малахов: "Ковыряемся потихоньку" - "Спорт Экспресс"
4 февраля. Владимир Малахов. Москва на Гудзоне - Советский Спорт
31 октября. Malakhov Is Turning It Up - The Newsday