февраля 2001 года.
Tragic Flaws (G.Titov) // Los-Angeles Times
Titov, a Symbol of the Mighty Ducks' Problems, Lost His Father and Brother
in Apparent Suicides
By Chris Foster
German Titov tries to focus on hockey, tries to give his undivided
attention to the Mighty Ducks. Yet he can't help but be distracted.
He has been maligned as a example of Duck mismanagement. His hefty
contract and light contributions make him an easy target for fans and the
But his critics only know of his on-ice struggles. A week before the
season began, his father, Viktor, died in an apparent suicide, jumping
off a balcony in Moscow. Two weeks ago, Michael Titov, German's 25-year-old
brother, plummeted to his death in another apparent suicide. His mother,
Maria, is by herself in Russia.
Yet until Tuesday, Titov has hidden the reasons for his poor play.
Titov, a 35-year-old center, skates, but is an empty shell. Getting
worked up about playing the Detroit Red Wings tonight doesn't seem so vital.
"I try to play hard, I try to help this team, but I just can't concentrate
on hockey," Titov said. "Every morning I call my mom. I still don't know
He will return to Russia when the season ends, then bring his mother
here. He has no other siblings.
"My mother can't leave right now because of our religion," Titov said.
"She must observe 40 days of mourning."
The details surrounding the deaths, only five months apart, are unclear,
even to Titov. When talking about the tragedies Tuesday, Titov, who speaks
English, but not fluently, did not say, "suicide." He said his father and
brother both "dropped" from a balcony and they were "not accidents."
A teammate said he learned that the deaths were apparent suicides only
by chance, when he overheard Titov talking on the telephone. The family
was close. Titov named his oldest daughter Viktoria, after his father.
Michael Titov named his oldest son German.
"My father was my coach," Titov said. "After every game, I would call
him or he would call me. We would talk about how I did and what I didn't
do. He was everything to me. He was always there for advice."
Titov returned to Russia for a few days after his father's death. But
he said he still does not know what led to it. When he returned, his play
suffered. He was expected to add punch to the Ducks' second line. Yet he
had only two goals and five points through the first 32 games, during which
the Ducks went from average to bad to worse.
The effect of his presence in the Ducks' dressing room, vital because
he is a veteran on a young team, has been minimal. Titov leaves quickly
after practice each day.
"Certainly, it has been difficult for German," Coach Guy Charron said.
"He had some real family problems. He is a better player than he has shown
us. . . . You can't know how he has been affected by what has happened
to his family."
Duck officials seem willing to allow Titov to return to Russia and
be with his mother. But Titov has not asked or indicated that he would
like to take time off.
"I doubt he would ever approach us," Charron said. "He is the type
of guy that, unless someone found out about his family situation, he wasn't
going to talk about it. If he comes to us expressing [that], I'm sure the
organization would give it some consideration."
Until these personal revelations, Titov seemed another in a line of
free-agent Duck debacles. He was the marquee signing in July, during what
General Manager Pierre Gauthier called the "summer of solutions." Titov
signed a three-year, $4.6-million contract.
Titov, a former Russian soldier, seemed a good fit. He had been a solid
player for eight seasons in the NHL. He had averaged 19 goals and 52 points
the five previous seasons, playing with Calgary, Pittsburgh and Edmonton.
He has six goals and 14 points in 53 games this season. His poor play and
big contract made him a poster boy for the Duck woes when their season
Titov acknowledged his frustration.
"I have played eight years in the league and this is the first season
like this I have had," he said. "I am not a superstar, but I play good.
I have always helped my team."
He said that he hopes to again be that type of player.
"I want to help this team. The guys have been really supportive. I
like the organization. The problems with my family make it hard to think
* * *
Off His Game
German Titov has had a major drop in his offense this season. This
season's statistics compared to his career averages for 1993-2000:
Goals 19 6
Assists 28 8
Shot % 13.3 10.5