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|4 марта 2003 года.
No more tears for Yushkevich - Philadelphia Inquirer
By Tim Panaccio
Dmitry Yushkevich remembers how bad it felt when the Flyers, the team that had brought him over from Russia, traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in August 1995.
He drove home to Medford with tears in his eyes after Flyers management told him about the trade.
"I was crying on the way home," Yushkevich recalled. "I was so sad to get traded from my first team. I really care about this team. It was the first team that opened the door for me."
The 31-year-old defenseman, a former Flyer who has come home, was smiling yesterday in his first official day of practice back with his "first team."
Toronto sent him to Florida in July, and the Panthers traded him to Los Angeles in November.
The Flyers acquired him from the Kings on Saturday for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft and a seventh-round pick in next year's draft.
Yushkevich said he did not want to think about the trades.
"That kind of thinking can bring down anybody," he said. "This is not the time to put yourself down. I came to a great team. I want to think positively and let [reporters] decide why I had those trades."
Yushkevich will be in the lineup tonight against the resurgent Vancouver Canucks, whose West Coast Express line, on which Brendan Morrison centers for Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, has 94 goals this season. Yushkevich figures to see a lot of ice time as rookie defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Jim Vandermeer lose their spots temporarily in favor of a veteran with playoff experience.
"Dmitry is an in-your-face defenseman and a very valuable guy come playoff time, because he will get under guys' skin," Jeremy Roenick said. "He gives us an edge back there. He's a guy who will slash and whack and make offensive players more aware. He can take them off their game a bit."
Coach Ken Hitchcock had Yushkevich working with fellow veteran Eric Weinrich yesterday in practice. One huge plus is that Yushkevich brings a righthanded shot to the point. (The only other Flyers defenseman with a righthanded shot is Eric Desjardins.)
"That allows us to play more players in their natural position," Hitchcock said.
That also means that Weinrich, who was playing right defense to accommodate Seidenberg, will move back to the left side.
Yushkevich was a major force on the blue line in Toronto for seven years, with the exception of last season, when he played in only 55 games because of a blood clot in his right leg. He was hit by a shot in January, then complained of pain while riding the stationary bike before a game against Minnesota on Feb. 5. Later that night, the clot was diagnosed.
"Nobody knows exactly how it happened," Yushkevich said. "It was controversial."
For six months, Yushkevich was on blood thinner. He didn't play again until he was traded to Florida.
The length of time he was out of the lineup, coupled with rule changes that made it very difficult for defensemen to hold up forecheckers, complicated Yushkevich's comeback.
"It was tough to come back after a long injury, and after that, when I came back, the game had changed," Yushkevich said. "It wasn't the same game I had left last February. It took me time to adjust."
At one point, the Leafs' medical staff feared his career was in jeopardy because of the blood clot. "I never let myself think about it," Yushkevich said.
These days, he is fully recovered but has been fighting the flu. Yet the excitement of coming back to a hockey city seemed to overshadow Yushkevich's health yesterday.
"I never thought it could happen," he said of his return. "It brings back great memories of eight years ago. I'm really happy to be here again."
The only thing that could be better for him is for the Flyers and Maple Leafs to meet in the playoffs. If they began tomorrow, that's what would happen, since the Flyers hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and the Leafs the fifth.
"It couldn't be a better scenario than for me to play against Toronto,"
he said with a smile.