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сентября 2001 года.
Yashin Living American Dream // "New York Daily News"
With Isles, cashes in 2nd chance
Throughout Alexei Yashin's childhood in Russia, America was the unmistakable enemy. His history books and his teachers said so. It had to be true.
The recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington reminded Yashin
of how easy it is for a group of non-Americans to harbor hatred for the
United States and its ideals.
Of course, the virtues of capitalism may be easier for Yashin to grasp
than for most Russians.
But there always has been much more to Yashin than hockey, or the trio of publicized contract squabbles that defined and smeared his playing career, leaving him as one of the most reviled athletes in the history of working-class Ottawa.
"For any parent, it's very difficult when somebody doesn't understand their son," Yashin's father, Valeri, said at the Islanders' press conference announcing his son's signing three weeks ago.
The 27-year-old Yashin is often described as talented, troubled, eccentric, misguided, enigmatic and, certainly in Ottawa, greedy.
"One thing Alexei has taught me is that you can't believe everything you read about yourself," says Yashin's girlfriend, model Carol Alt, who is nearly 15 years his senior and is the ex-wife of former Rangers defenseman Ron Greschner. "Actually, I taught him that it doesn't matter what they write as long as they write about you."
Raised in the northern Russian city of Sverdlovsk, Yashin brought Valeri, mother Tatiana and younger brother Dmitri from Russia to Ontario in 1993.
His parents, highly educated and cultured, became Canadian citizens in 1999. Valeri, an engineer in Russia, spent two years as a professor at the Willis College of Business and Technology in Ottawa. Dmitri, now 20, played junior-level hockey in Canada and is now on scholarship at Colgate University.
"My parents always told me that people everywhere basically are the same, that they love their families and want the best for them," Yashin says. "And they taught me even though I play hockey for a living, I have to enjoy all the things I like to do."
He credits his parents with teaching him to love opera and ballet. During stops in New York in previous seasons, Yashin said, he visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other cultural attractions.
It was this artistic passion, however, that entangled Yashin and his parents in a nasty scandal during the 1998-99 season.
In an initially well-received gesture of philanthropy, Yashin pledged $1 million (spread over five years) to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. His hope was to promote more cultural events in the city, particularly if they involved touring orchestras and ballet companies from Russia.
Less than a year later, Yashin's donation was withdrawn and his act of generosity questioned amid allegations of kickbacks and phony tax receipts. It turned out that the $1 million gift included a rider stipulating that Yashin's parents were to be involved in procuring the visiting acts, and that they would receive $85,000 per year for their services.
"It didn't turn out like I wanted it to," Yashin says. "It was hard for me But I can't control what people think and how they feel about me. I was brought up to be the person that I am. I try not to do anything bad to other people."
Still, that hasn't kept Yashin from becoming detested in Ottawa, largely because of his contract issues. When Yashin signed his mega-deal with the Isles - a team as desperate for a fresh start as he was - one Canadian columnist called it "an end to all naive thought that, in the world of professional hockey, there might be any form of punishment for inappropriate behavior."
Yashin had been the Senators' first-ever draft pick in 1992. He almost instantly established himself as one of the most productive and most durable centers in the NHL, and was compared to the likes of Jean Beliveau and Mario Lemieux.
He has averaged nearly one point per game (491 points in 504 games) during his career. He also hasn't missed any time - except for contractual reasons - since he sat out one game with a sore throat in his rookie season.
After he was runnerup for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player following the 1998-99 season, however, Yashin vowed he wouldn't return to the Senators unless his existing contract was renegotiated.
He sat out the entire 1999-2000 season before an arbitrator forced him to honor the $3.6 million final year of his deal with Ottawa last season.
When Yashin reluctantly returned, he was booed in just about every city in Canada. By spring, the boos had lessened in Ottawa, largely a result of the team's first-place standing and Yashin's second 40-goal campaign.
The disdain resurfaced, however, when the Senators were swept by Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. In 26 career postseason games with the Senators, Yashin totaled six goals and nine assists. He had no points in four games last season.
He later was criticized by teammates for showing up late to the Senators' end-of-season team meetings.
"It's no excuses, I didn't do my job," Yashin says. "None of us did."
The Islanders, of course, haven't even qualified for the playoffs since 1993-94. They only can hope they will have the opportunity to explain Yashin's playoff struggles next summer.
"Our first step is to get there," Yashin says. "No one thinks the Islanders
can do it. But you know, I learned sometimes things aren't what they seem
to be like."
Страничка Алексея Яшина на сайте
"Звёзды с Востока"
6 июля. Алексей Яшин: "Теперь будет цирк, а не овертаймы"
6 июля. Алексей Яшин: "Теперь будет цирк, а не овертаймы" - Спорт-Экспресс