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сентября 2002 года.
Schastlivy dares to don No. 19 - The Ottawa Citizen
Left-winger not scared off by Yashin's legacy, reports Ken Warren.
By KEN WARREN
Peter Schastlivy knows all about Yashin's time in Ottawa. 'I understand that Yashin was a hero here,' he said with a smile.
Ottawa Senators left-winger Petr Schastlivy is poised to make a big impact for the Ottawa Senators this season while carrying a lot of "organizational baggage" on his back.
After three previous failed attempts to crack the Senators' lineup, Schastlivy appears to be a lock to start the season on a top line with centre Todd White and Daniel Alfredsson.
Senators fans will immediately recognize the number, if not the player. Schastlivy will have 19 on his back -- the same number worn by a former player by the name of Alexei Yashin.
Schastlivy knows all the background behind Yashin's eventual trade to the New York Islanders in June 2001. He is Yashin's former roommate. He trains with Yashin at an exclusive Swiss training camp for Russian players every summer. And he and Yashin share the same controversial agent, Mark Gandler.
But while other players might consider it bad luck or bad form to wear 19, considering Yashin's history of contract squabbles with the Senators, Schastlivy shows no hesitation in draping the jersey over his shoulders.
It's his lucky number, the one he wore throughout his career in Russia and as a star with the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins last season. It's the only number that feels comfortable on his back.
"I understand that Yashin was a hero here," says Schastlivy, smiling widely, following a workout yesterday at the Corel Centre, realizing that Yashin's eight-year history in Ottawa is remembered as much for his contract fights as his scoring prowess. "But I like the number, too. I've worn 56 in Ottawa, I've worn 16 in Ottawa, I've worn 13 in Ottawa -- I don't like that No. 13."
Initially, he didn't have much luck with No. 19, either.
After scoring 22 goals and 13 assists in 31 games with Grand Rapids last season, he was recalled by the Senators. He became the first and only player to wear No. 19 since Yashin's departure, but he played only one period before he tore ligaments in his right knee and had season-ending surgery.
So far this year, wearing No. 19 has paid off for Schastlivy.
At 23, he still had some doubts as he came into training camp, but he had impressed the Senators' coaching staff with his determination during rehabilitation treatments throughout the summer and had also strengthened his upper body. It has translated into his best training camp yet.
In Schastlivy's three previous camps, coaches had been disappointed by his lack of determination.
"I feel comfortable -- it's my fourth season here, Schastlivy said. "I feel good playing with (Alfredsson) and Todd White. Yes, the door is open, but I worked hard every day in the summer, working on my legs and my upper body."
Schastlivy, 6-1 and 204 pounds, said he feels stronger because of his offseason training. Senators coach Jacques Martin has noticed the difference. He said Schastlivy's knee injury may have been a blessing, similar to the way Senators right-winger Marian Hossa developed his strength following knee surgery in 1998.
"He had an opportunity to train daily under (strength coach) Randy Lee. He's much stronger now."
Schastlivy went home to Russia for only three weeks during the summer.
Being in Ottawa for so much of the summer also forced him to practise his previously weak English. While he still struggles with the nuances of the language, his English is good enough that he's now used as a translator for defence prospect Anton Volchenkov. He's also Volchenkov's roommate, proving that life has come full circle. Schastlivy used to be Yashin's roommate during road trips, when he struggled with the English world around him.
Now, Schastlivy has the confidence to talk a good game, as well as the
confidence to wear a loaded number.