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марта 2004 года.
Waiting for Yashin to catch fire - Newsday
In the days before the March 9 trading deadline, Islanders general manager Mike Milbury and coach Steve Stirling said they were counting on center Alexei Yashin's comeback from the injured list to provide offense for the playoff drive.
Yashin, who missed 35 games recovering from surgery to repair partially severed tendons in his right arm from a skate cut Dec. 23, returned to play slightly more than seven minutes March 9 in a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. No one expected very much. But now, five games after his return, Yashin still hasn't rounded into form.
In Wednesday's disheartening 6-4 loss to the Panthers in Florida, the Islanders had 54 shots; Yashin had just one and has recorded only nine shots in the five games.
The 6-3, 220-pound Yashin was credited with his first assist since coming back on Adrian Aucoin's first-period goal Wednesday, but he doesn't appear as strong with the puck and has been knocked around too easily.
"He's going through some tentativeness," Stirling said. "I talked to him at great length yesterday and he knows the arm is about as close to 100 percent as it's going to get. The conditioning is there because he was skating while he was recuperating. But no matter how much skating you do, it's the head and the hands you need. I expected it to take about five games."
The 11-week layoff was the longest of the durable Yashin's career. Between 1996 and 2001, he never missed a game. So some rust was anticipated. But the Islanders could use his size and power. Yashin scored 32 goals in the 2001-02 season, his first with the Islanders, and 26 last season. He has 12 goals and 13 assists in 38 games this season.
Yashin, 30, played 18-plus minutes in San Jose and Anaheim last week, but only 12:19 against Tampa Bay Tuesday and then 13:12 against the Panthers. The reason had nothing to do with stamina, Stirling said. "[Cliff] Ronning's line was going real well, and I like to go with the hot hand," he said. "And down the stretch with a one-goal lead in Tampa, you want defensive players out there."
At the beginning of the 10-day trip, Stirling put Yashin on left wing with Dave Scatchard and Mark Parrish because he said he "didn't want to disrupt [Oleg] Kvasha's line." On Tuesday, however, Stirling reunited Yashin with former linemates Kvasha and Mariusz Czerkawski. The trio "played pretty well in the first 15 or 20 games," Stirling said. There could be an encore of that ensemble tonight against the Minnesota Wild, he said.
In pursuit of their third consecutive postseason appearance, the Islanders
are hanging on to the final playoff slot in the Eastern Conference, four
points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres with nine games to play. Six of those
nine games (including the next three) are at Nassau Coliseum, where the
Islanders are 21-10-3-1.
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