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Rambler's Top100

23 ноября 1999 года.
Selivanov's goal-binge recipe

EDMONTON (CP) -- Stop the presses and rewrite the book on Alex Selivanov. The shifty Russian forward is leading the NHL with 17 goals at the quarter pole -- just seven months after the Edmonton Oilers couldn't play him, trade him or dump him. But the 28-year-old said his transformation is not magic but simple chemistry: move his left-handed shot to the right wing -- something that didn't happen last season -- add a dash of defence and mix in lots and lots of ice time.

"I've always played the right side. I never play left wing. Never," Selivanov said after practice Tuesday. "I came late (to the Oilers) last year. I guess the coach didn't trust me or something. I did not have a chance to prove myself." The 28-year-old Moscow native, in his sixth pro season, is back on the right-hand side and on the first line. 

He has responded with 14 goals in the last 12 games, seven in the last three. He scored four times in a 6-3 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks last week, the first Oiler to score a hat-trick-plus-one in eight seasons. Then there were two more against the New York Islanders on Monday, including a blue-line bullet that was in and out so fast, they needed instant replay to confirm it. He has taken just 42 shots this year for a league-leading 40.5 scoring percentage and represents 33 per cent of the team's total goal output. 

His shot is so accurate he won $200 off a teammate last season by wristing two consecutive pucks through the camera hole in the Plexiglas from two metres away. "I like to work on my shots and if I miss the net when I'm practising, I get mad at myself. You can't miss the net from five feet away."

Selivanov has been teamed with star playmaking centre Doug Weight and board-banging, crease-crashing winger Ryan Smyth to form the team's No. 1 line. They have 24 points since being put together five games ago. These are heady times for a player whose best season has been 31 goals and 52 points for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1995-96. He was floundering when he came to Edmonton from Tampa Bay in a three-way trade last January, jumping from a sun-dried doormat of a squad to an ice-belt team battling for a playoff spot. He was put on left wing on the third or fourth line and played five or so minutes a game, if he played at all.

Weight said Selivanov was so keen to prove himself he didn't always work within the system: "Alex wanted to come here and show the guys he could score a lot of goals," said Weight. He eked out eight goals in 29 games and was benched for the last two games of the team's first-round playoff loss to the Dallas Stars. 

Oilers general manager Glen Sather tried and failed to trade him, then left him unprotected in the expansion draft. He worked hard in training camp on his backchecking and defensive game and is now a more complete player, said coach Kevin Lowe. "I never really thought (his shot) was the strong part of his game. I always thought his sense for the net, the ability to play down low and create stuff in traffic was his strength." "But his shot is looking great right now."

Страничка Александра Селиванова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"

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