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|4 октября 2000
Сушинский пробился в основной состав "Миннесоты Уалйд".
Выбранный в 5-м раунде драфта 2000 года, 26-летний нападающий Максим
Сушинский, к удивлению многих специалистов и любителей хоккея, сумел пробиться
в основной состав команды-новичка "Миннесота Уайлд". Сомнения вызывала
в первую очередь физическая подготовка Максима, перенесшего этим летом
двойную операцию на аппендиците. Однако во время предсезонных игр результативная
игра Сушинского (4 очка в 6 матчей), который в прошлогоднем чемпионате
России занял второе место среди бомбардиров, убедила руководство Миннесоты
дать шанс россиянину проявить себя в регулярных матчах НХЛ.
GREG JOHNSON STAFF WRITER
Russian right wing Maxim Sushinsky has lived this existence since he reported to the Minnesota Wild's first training camp Sept. 7.
When coach Jacques Lemaire talks to the team, Sushinsky has an idea of what's going on, but he doesn't know for sure until he watches other players perform in drills and games.
In the early days of camp, his darting eyes left no doubt he was a bit uncomfortable and not sure what was going on around him.
He has overcome all the obstacles, and his reward is one of the 23 spots on the Wild's regular-season roster.
``The first few days were a little difficult, but now I understand the instructions a lot,'' said Sushinsky through interpreter Gary Greenstin, also the player's agent. ``I try to pick things up from the other players. I understand the hockey language.''
Greenstin, based in Los Angeles, was in the Twin Cities on Tuesday to help Sushinsky, Sushinsky's wife, Elena, and their 5-year-old daughter, Victoria, find a place to call home.
Sushinsky, 26, lived in a downtown St. Paul hotel during training camp. His family arrived from Russia on Monday night after a 14-hour trip that included stops in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Chicago.
``I'm a big family man, and I'm not used to being away from them this long,'' said Sushinsky, who is from St. Petersburg.
Sushinsky, the Wild's fifth-round pick in the June entry draft, was ready to come to the United States on Aug. 22. Greenstin had set up a training schedule for him in Detroit. Those plans were scratched when Sushinsky had to have his appendix removed Aug. 20.
When he reported for training camp, Sushinsky was unable to compete, because he needed time to recover from the procedure. Not having a chance to show off his speed and playmaking skills caused Sushinsky much concern.
``I was worried because three weeks after the operation, I wasn't able to do anything,'' said Sushinsky, who has played seven seasons in the Russian elite league, the last four for Avangard Omsk. ``I worked hard all summer and was ready. But since I've been playing, I'm in good shape again.''
Sushinsky played in the last six exhibition games and registered two goals and two assists. His four points tied Scott Pellerin and Jim Dowd for the team lead in the exhibition season.
Lemaire had to sit him the last six minutes of the exhibition game against the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 23 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He wanted shorter shifts, but his message didn't register with Sushinsky.
Lemaire said he has come up with a simple solution to the problem.
``It's easy; you don't talk to him,'' Lemaire joked. ``It's funny; since he's been here, I haven't talked to him once. I talked to (Sergei) Krivokrasov (the only other Russian on the team) once to make sure (Sushinsky) understood what I was saying. He wasn't doing what I wanted. That was the only time I had to. He's looking at the other guys, and he's starting to do the right things. He seems to understand well, and I don't have to talk to him.''
Greenstin added: ``(Sushinsky) understands some English and just needs to open up his mouth. He's an educated guy. He says dealing with the language (barrier) is no problem, but he would like to be able to talk to his teammates more. He likes the organization so far. Very soon he'll have an English teacher. The team will probably provide it, and if not, I will. (Wild general manager) Doug Risebrough has promised that after the first road trip.''
``The hockey language is pretty basic,'' Risebrough said. ``It's more of an issue of enjoying being over here, which can sometimes have an effect on their mood. If their wife isn't very happy, then ultimately it's going to affect him. But as far as communicating, he picks up things. I've dealt with other Europeans who are stubborn in their approach.
``I had to deal with (Sergei) Makarov (then of the Calgary Flames),
who was a great player, but when we went on the ice, five guys played the
way Makarov wanted to play. In some ways that was good for the team. He
forced guys to play a certain way. In practice, he would put his stick
down, and if the pass was too far in front of him, he wouldn't move the
stick. He wanted to make them hit the tape (of the stick). He'd look over
at them like, `You missed the tape.' Guys had never seen that before. .
. . There was a style of play that was conducive to Sergei. I have not
felt that way with (Sushinsky).''