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февраля 2002 года.
A day of pucks and one-liners for Yushkevich // "Toronto Star"
Leaf defender feels `okay' after going for skate
Just days after his season was thrown into doubt when a blood clot was discovered in his knee, veteran defenceman Dmitry Yushkevich was back on the ice with the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday, joking with teammates and taking part in some passing drills.
Avoiding any of the body contact he normally relishes, Yushkevich skated smoothly, and fired a few pucks.
After the practice, Yushkevich fired a few one-liners, suggesting he was considering suiting up for last night's game against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Air Canada Centre.
"It's a game-time decision,'' deadpanned Yushkevich, leaving a few reporters puzzled before he broke into a huge grin and then started laughing.
Joking aside, Yushkevich acknowledged he's in no shape to be playing in a game, and is taking blood-thinners to combat the blood clot. Despite the danger of getting injured again, Yushkevich swore he was only following doctor's orders by taking to the ice so soon after the disheartening diagnosis he got last week.
"The doctors just wanted me to go for a skate and see how I felt. I wasn't 100 per cent, but I felt okay,'' said Yushkevich, who hopes he can come back some time before the NHL playoffs. Although some players would probably take things easy for a while after developing a problem that could be considered life-threatening in some circumstances, Yushkevich said if there's even the slimmest chance he'll be playing again, he'll take it.
"If they open the door a crack, I'll put my foot in it and push it open some more, and then my whole body will be in there. ... After the Olympics, I'll go for another ultrasound to see how things are. I can be back playing this year. That's one scenario, so that's what I'm hoping for,'' said Yushkevich, who admitted it will be hard to watch Olympic hockey on TV rather than play on Russia's team in Salt Lake City.
Still, Yushkevich said he'll be watching every single second of every single game.
``This will be great hockey. You could make a video out of this to teach people how to play hockey. There are going to be such good players there,'' said Yushkevich. Several of his Russian teammates called as soon as they heard he was out of the Olympics, including Sergei Fedorov and former Leaf Igor Korolev. That, said Yushkevich, made it easier to take.
"I really appreciate that. No one from the federation called, but it was nice to hear from some of my friends,'' he said.
Although Russia has a team that's stacked with offensive talent and a hot goaltender in Nikolai Khabibulin, Yushkevich doesn't think his countrymen are a cinch to make the final.
"They should do really well, but in the back of my mind, I keep thinking of St. Petersburg. They had so many good players on the team, and look what happened,'' said Yushkevich.
That was in 2000 when the host Russian team bombed out of the world
championship tournament despite boasting such NHL stars as Pavel Bure and