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марта 2006 года.
Sather adds bargain defense in Ozolinsh // NY Post
By MARK EVERSON
If Sather is correct, as he has been in this New NHL, then Sandis Ozolinsh, acquired yesterday from the Mighty Ducks, is the perfect defenseman to spring Jaromir Jagr & Co. this spring. Sather may regret not adding the defensive defenseman the Rangers also seem to need, but giving Anaheim only the third-rounder he'd obtained for Ville Nieminen a day earlier could be the bargain of the trade deadline.
"He fits the bill of a puck-moving, power play defenseman," Sather said of Ozolinish, 33, a Cup-winner with the 1996 Avs. "He can get the puck out to our forwards and can also rush the puck.
"If you look around the league, I don't think there was anyone else [dealt] that fit that mold."
Ozolinsh, who also went to the finals with Anaheim in 2003, has played 134 playoff games, with 23 goals and 90 postseason points. He owns two 20-goal regular seasons, and was a first-team NHL All-Star in 1997.
He emerged from the NHL's substance abuse program to play for Latvia in the Olympics, and Ozolinsh "stood out in the [Olympic] Games I saw," said Sather.
"There were only five GMs at the Olympics," Sather added. "A lot of guys didn't see him."
Sather said he forced himself to refrain from yielding his own draft picks or prospects to strengthen his Atlantic Division leaders, and sounded shocked to trade, in effect, Nieminen for Ozolinsh.
"We were looking for that type of player, but we didn't want to give up much to get him," Sather said. "The price for defensemen who are going to be free agents was pretty expensive."
Besides Ozolinsh's recent rehab, his bargain tag has to do with the $2.75 million salary he has for next season, as well.
Sather said he's satisfied Ozolinsh's personal troubles are behind him.
"Everyone who goes to the Olympics is checked, and he hasn't had a problem since he came back. I don't ever think he'll have that problem again," Sather said. "We have a lot of information about him and everybody was positive."
The acquisition of the slick backliner, big at 6-3 and 217, fits with what Sather says is his view of the league.
"The game is going to be won by speed and finesse and hard work and discipline," said Sather, who would not bite about the Cup. "I'm not going to stick my neck out and say we're going to contend for the Stanley Cup."
Plenty of others will.