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|Zadorov: big, young and extra-confident: Avalanche defenseman enjoys "playing with everyone"
14 октября 2015 года. Chambers, Mike. Denver Post
Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov, 20, carries himself like a 30-year-old veteran. He oozes confidence. Just ask him.
"I hear that before, yeah, people saying I have too much confidence. But it's what I have, it's who I am," Zadorov said Tuesday.
In another line of questioning, Zadorov was asked if he is happy with how he has played in his first two games with the Avs.
"Always happy with my game," he said, grinning.
Zadorov doesn't seem cocky. The Russian is just confident in his ability to play hockey at its highest level despite not being old enough to legally buy a beer in Colorado.
After two games, Zadorov appears to be top-four material on the Avs' blue line. He is minus-2 and without a shot on goal, but he has averaged 18 minutes, 38 seconds of mostly smart and smooth defensive hockey.
Zadorov, listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, began the season on a third pairing with Nick Holden but finished the last game with Tyson Barrie, who is averaging 19:41 of ice time. When Colorado acquired Zadorov in a trade from Buffalo in June, the team envisioned he would be Barrie's left-shooting partner.
Zadorov's extraordinary confidence probably erased the Avs' desire not to put too much pressure on him.
"I don't know. I never thought about that," Zadorov said about the team possibly trying to bring him along slowly. "I enjoy playing with everyone. Doesn't matter who I play with, but I love playing with Tyson and I'm happy with him right now."
Barrie is a 5-10, 190-pound, right-shooting speedster who has the green light to take the puck -- and chase the puck -- anywhere on the ice. Zadorov is his complementary backup.
"We're thinking the same way. We're trying to move the puck quickly, trying to join the rush all the time," Zadorov said of the paring. "We just enjoy to play together."
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, whose 1-1 team hosts the Boston Bruins (0-3) on Wednesday night, said this about the Zadorov-Barrie combination: "Z has a lot of size, and I think that will help Tyson. I think it's good mix -- a stronger, physical defenseman with Tyson, who loves to move the puck."
Boston is limping into Denver, having lost its three games at home. The Avs are concluding a three-game homestand to begin the season.
"It might be good for them to be on the road," Roy said. "But at the same time, we have to focus on us. It's an important game. It's our last game (of the homestand)."