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Zhamnov set for central role - Boston Globe
By Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff
It's a run he'd like to experience again.
''It's the best time of year, to be in the playoffs and fight for the Stanley Cup," Zhamnov said yesterday. ''It's very important for me. I'm so excited to be part of this organization, to fight for the playoffs and the Stanley Cup."
The 34-year-old Zhamnov, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bruins last Thursday, visited his new club yesterday at the TD Banknorth Garden. While Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell called the 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pound Russian a No. 1 pivot, Zhamnov will replace Michael Nylander (the unrestricted free agent signed with the Rangers after the 2003-04 season) as the team's second-line center, perhaps skating alongside countryman Sergei Samsonov. O'Connell said Zhamnov, whom he had targeted among unrestricted free agents as soon as the signing period opened, was the second choice on his wish list for a No. 2 center, after Mike Modano (Dallas) and before Peter Forsberg (Philadelphia).
Zhamnov's agent, Jay Grossman, said the Bruins increased their original offer after Atlanta signed Bobby Holik last Tuesday for three years at $12.75 million. ''It's how they do business, they step up and make their feelings known, and that was a big plus," said Grossman.
''We had an interest in Modano, and Zhamnov was right there," O'Connell said. ''We didn't think Forsberg would be available. What do we like about Alexei? He's a terrific all-around player. He's a top playmaker. He's strong, good defensively, and excellent on offense. He's played with great players. He dishes the puck, he holds on to the puck, he finds the open man, he plays hard. He does a lot of things you hope all No. 1 centers do."
On Feb. 19, 2004, after seven-plus seasons with Chicago, Zhamnov was traded to Philadelphia. He recorded five goals and 13 assists in 20 regular-season games for the Flyers, adding four goals and 10 assists in the playoff stretch when he skated with Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte. He was the Flyers' second-leading playoff scorer behind Keith Primeau (9-7--16).
During the 2003-04 season, Zhamnov got an up-close look at Joe Thornton, his new teammate, and liked what he saw.
''The Thornton line is a pretty good line," Zhamnov said. ''I played against those guys when I was in Philly. What I see in this organization is three or four good lines. It's very hard to play against those kinds of teams."
Zhamnov spent last season in Russia, playing a style -- no red line, emphasis on offense -- resembling the amended game he will play in 2005-06.
''It will be a little difficult for everybody in the beginning of the season," Zhamnov said of the rule changes. ''You have to get used to it. There's more open ice in the neutral zone. You can make one pass and have a breakaway. It's maybe a little bit difficult for defense, but for offense it's better."
Zhamnov missed 35 games in 2003-04 after undergoing back surgery. He said he was fully recovered and healthy for the upcoming season.
17 ноября. Алексей Жамнов: "Серовом и Орском меня
не испугаешь" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
1 июня. Алексей Жамнов: "Болею за Хабибулину, но против
. . . Тампы" - Спорт-Эспресс.
9 марта. Алексей Жамнов: "Кулаки чесались даже у Кларка!"
25 февраля. Интервью с А.Жамновым - Советский
17 ноября. Алексей Жамнов: "Серовом и Орском меня не испугаешь" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
1 июня. Алексей Жамнов: "Болею за Хабибулину, но против . . . Тампы" - Спорт-Эспресс.
9 марта. Алексей Жамнов: "Кулаки чесались даже у Кларка!" - Спорт-Экспресс
25 февраля. Интервью с А.Жамновым - Советский Спорт.