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Rambler's Top100

24 2004 . 
Zhamnov thankful for GM's parting gift - Chicago Tribune
   
By Neil Milbert

PHILADELPHIA -- When Alex Zhamnov skated onto the ice Tuesday night for the 765th National Hockey League regular-season game of his career, he felt out of place.

Although the 33-year-old Russian speaks excellent English, emotionally there was something lost in translation and he didn't quite know how to put it into perspective.
 
"I don't know what to expect," Zhamnov said before the game between the Blackhawks and Flyers. "I don't know how I'll feel."

After playing 528 games for the Hawks, Zhamnov was playing against them for the first time since 1995-96 when he was with Winnipeg. Before the next season he was traded to Chicago and the Winnipeg franchise moved to Phoenix.

Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock could identify with Zhamnov's situation.

"I was a nervous wreck the first time I coached against Dallas," recalled Hitchcock, who spent 6? years coaching the Stars before becoming the Flyers' coach last season. "You're really torn. You need to play the game so you can move on. After this game Alex really becomes a Flyer."

But the rite of passage came before the game ended. At 3 minutes 46 seconds of the second period, Zhamnov knocked in the rebound of a Kirby Law shot to score the game's first goal in a 3-1 Flyers' victory.

Zhamnov, who failed to get a point when he made his Philadelphia debut in Saturday's victory over Atlanta, never got a chance to say goodbye to the team he had captained. He was driving to the United Center last Thursday, focusing on that night's game with San Jose, when his cell phone rang and general manager Bob Pulford broke the news to him that he had been traded.

"Knowing you're going to be traded is one thing, but it was a shock to have it happen when you're three blocks from the United Center, thinking you'll be playing a game that night," Zhamnov said.

Zhamnov went to the United Center and bid farewell to Pulford and coach Brian Sutter. But Sutter didn't let him say goodbye to the team as a group.

"I saw a few guys in the hall and basically that was it," Zhamnov said. "I just wanted to say goodbye to the guys, but Brian didn't want me to distract the team. I understood. I didn't have any problems with Brian. I had a nice conversation with Pully; he's still my friend. I asked him to trade me to a team that was contending for the Stanley Cup. He did me a tremendous favor."

The first Flyer to contact Zhamnov after Philadelphia played Boston that night was Tony Amonte, his former linemate and predecessor as the Hawks' captain. Phoenix traded Amonte to the Flyers late last season after he had left the Hawks as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2002.

Like Zhamnov, Amonte gave his former team something to remember him by, scoring his 17th goal of the season Tuesday. It put the Flyers on top 2-0 late in the second period and it turned out to be the game-winner.

Reuniting Zhamnov with Amonte became a priority for Flyers general manager Bob Clarke when his team's top two centers, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau, were injured within a 32-second span during a Feb. 12 game against the New York Rangers. Roenick has a fractured jaw and a concussion, and Primeau has a concussion.

"Alex takes on a lot of responsibility because of our situation with Roenick and Primeau out," Hitchcock said. "We have no idea when either guy will be back."

After spending most of their Chicago years trying to help the Hawks merely get into the playoffs, Zhamnov and Amonte have much greater expectations now that they're members of one of the best teams in the NHL.

"We know we have a great chance to win the Stanley Cup," Zhamnov said.

Copyright 2004, The Chicago Tribune 

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Zhamnov: Blackhawks organization going wrong way
By Tim Sassone Daily Herald Sports Writer
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - Alex Zhamnov is excited to be with the Flyers and away from all that he feels is wrong with the Blackhawks.

"In those eight years I played in Chicago, it was a tremendous city and tremendous fans," Zhamnov said. "But that organization has gone the wrong way in the last few years.

"It's just different here. I go on the ice and I see a big crowd. That's a big difference, you know?"

Hawks coach Brian Sutter didn't appreciate hearing some of those statements from Zhamnov, who will face his former coach and teammates tonight at Wachovia Center.

"All I can say is he had that opportunity to be a part of that here," Sutter said Monday. "He played in games that mattered here for three years. He's making $4.5 million, OK? If you're making $400,000 or $4 million, somebody bought a ticket to see that game, so every shift means a lot."

There's a good chance Sutter will match defenseman Jim Vandermeer against Zhamnov's line. Vandermeer was acquired with prospect Colin Fraser and a No. 2 draft pick for Zhamnov.

"I know what Alex doesn't like," Sutter said. "He can make plays and he can hurt you. When you play against people like that you've got to take the open ice away from them as much as possible."

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28 . Zhamnov soon to be ex-Hawk - Daily Herald 

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13 . Interest in Zhamnov is growing - Chicago Tribune

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