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Coming to Mironov's defense // Chicago Sun Times
BY JENNIFER JONES STAFF REPORTER
The Blackhawks couldn't help but notice the shower of boos directed at defenseman Boris Mironov on Sunday at the United Center.
And while they seem to understand the reasons Mironov has been subject to such scrutiny, the Hawks are growing tired of the attention that has been focused on the team's highest-paid player the last several weeks.
"I feel bad for him," right wing Steve Sullivan said. "He's a proud person, and it's affecting him. Even though we're making a lot of money and have to play at our best, it's not fun to be booed. It must be very distracting."
Coach Alpo Suhonen, in particular, is sick of answering questions about this aspect of the Hawks' disappointing season.
"You can find situations where he has been beaten one-on-one, but so have some others," Suhonen said. "I don't understand why all the focus goes to him. I accept that he hasn't played how we expected. But right now, you could take five to 10 other guys that are not playing to expectations."
Suhonen wouldn't elaborate when asked about other players who might be in that category. While he sometimes criticizes the play of individual players, he doesn't like to contribute to any negativity and wishes the fans would show the same restraint.
"They have a right to do what they want to," he said. "But if they think they're supporting the team that way . . . that's how fans are."
Suhonen and some of Mironov's teammates think he has shown improvement and no longer deserves the criticism. He has a minus-13 rating and no goals and six assists in 29 games, but they think he is moving in the right direction.
"He's playing a much better game," right wing Tony Amonte said. "He's playing simple and making the easy play. And he's playing with more confidence. He's an important part of the team and was the best player at the end of last year. When you lose confidence, it's hard to get it back. But he's on his way."
"He has been doing very well the last couple of games," Suhonen said.
"Why can't we credit a player doing that? Now he's playing well. And he
has come a long way already."