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Rambler's Top100

16 марта 1998 года.
Mironov matures

By DAN BARNES -- Edmonton Sun
  GREENSBORO, North Carolina -- Overnight train rides from Moscow to Minsk give you time to sleep and time to dream. 
 Boris Mironov dreamed about the NHL. Not just playing in it, but excelling in the best league in the world. 
 In 1994, the Winnipeg Jets brought him over from Red Army to give it a try. In his rookie season he was as far away from excellence as Moscow is from Minsk. 
 "I was awful," he said before yesterday's game against Carolina. "It was a new style of game, you know, more physical. It's tough to change games. I have to play almost three years. Last year was not too bad, but I got injured. This year, very good." 
 This year the single-season bests keep on coming: 14 goals, 39 points, nine power-play goals. With a strong finish, he'll reach the 50-point plateau in a season that may see just two forwards - Jaromir Jagr and Peter Forsberg - break the 100-point barrier. 
 There is no denying Mironov a place among the league's best blueliners any more. Before yesterday's games he was the 10th-highest scoring defenceman in the NHL. Not bad for someone who won't be 26 for five more days. 
 "Most times you use the word potential, it's because they've never reached it. He's reaching it. He's been awesome," said assistant coach Bob McCammon. 
 "He's got a chance to be a great defenceman in the NHL because he's not old. And he can do everything. He doesn't have a weak link in his game. What he's learned is to let the game come to him. He used to try to make too many things happen himself." 
 Not long ago, even during his best games he'd have a shift so awful that the coaching staff could only watch and shudder and realize that it was Boris being Boris. But bonehead plays are fewer and farther between now. And he is playing more than ever, at least 25 minutes a game. 
 "In another month he may be able to play 40. If we get him in shape," kidded McCammon. 
 There is no question he accepted the responsibility of more playing time. In fact, he relished it. 
 "He was the only guy with experience early in the year," said Curtis Joseph. "Mush was out. No Luke Richardson. No Kevin Lowe. He really stepped up. He was the guy. He played all the minutes. Sometimes that's what it takes, somebody to say you're the guy." 
 They couldn't say that to him when he arrived as a mistake-prone kid deemed expendable by the Jets in the Dave Manson deal of March 15, 1994. He wouldn't have understood. 
 "Four years ago he didn't speak a lick of English and he was still funny," said Doug Weight. "In fact, the more English he learns, the more we regret it." 
 But seriously ... 
 "The good thing about Boris is he wants to be the best defenceman in the league," continued Weight. "He wants to win the Norris Trophy. He wants to score 25 goals. He wants to win. 
 "He's taken the job seriously. He's really grown up and matured as a player and a person. He sacrifices to win and he's obviously a great talent." 
 It wasn't obvious to Bill Guerin when he played in the Eastern Conference for the Devils. 
 "I didn't realize he was that talented. He's been playing as a big leader on our team. He's got a huge future ahead of him. He's one of the best defencemen in the league right now. I just don't think anybody knows about him. They're going to start soon if he keeps scoring goals like (a top-shelfer in Miami). That's a big-time goal." 
 That's one you dream about. All the way from Moscow to Minsk.

Страничка Бориса Миронова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года