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|16 декабря 2006
«Айлендерс» обменяли Житника в «Филадельфию».
«НЙ Айлендерс» обменяли защитника-ветерана Алексея Житника в «Филадельфию Флайерс» на другого игрока обороны Фредди Мейера и право выбора в третьем раунде драфта.
Благодаря этой сделке, «островитяне» значительно понизили свой бюджет и создали достаточно место для возможного маневра в условиях «потолка зарплат», так как контракт Житника рассчитан на $3.5 миллиона долларов против $525.000 долларов Мейера.
В текущем сезоне 34-летний Житник набрал 11 очков (2+9) в 30 играх в составе «Айлендерс», в то время как 25-летний Мейер забросил две шайбы и сделал три передачи в 24 матчах за «Филадельфию».
Всего в своей карьере Алексей провел 971 поединок за «Лос Анжелес», «Буффало» и «НЙ Айлендерс», забив 88 голов и отдав 348 передач. На его счету также 1158 минут штрафа и отрицательный коэффициент полезности в минус-33. Мейер сыграл лишь только в 83 матчах, набрав в сумме 32 очка (8+24) и 47 штрафных минут.
Zhitnik will help Flyers' defense
By CHUCK GORMLEY
On a day when Flyers athletic trainer Jim McCrossin was hit with rapid-fire questions regarding Peter Forsberg's head (it's not clear enough to play tonight), Robert Esche's groin (it did not allow him to practice Monday) and Jeff Carter's ankle (it's healed enough to play tonight), it was the short conversation he had with Alexei Zhitnik that was music to his ears.
"He said to me, "You won't see me. I just come in, play hockey and go home.' " McCrossin said. "I wish I could clone him."
Through 32 games this season the Flyers already lead the NHL with 124 man-games lost to injury. They are tied with Chicago with 10 rookies appearing in games this season.
They also lead the NHL in losses (20), goals allowed (124) and would set a franchise record for futility with a seventh consecutive loss tonight against the Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes.
For all of those reasons, Zhitnik, 34, was acquired Saturday from the New York Islanders in exchange for second-year defenseman Freddy Meyer and a conditional draft pick.
"You have to have some composure and experience in this game," said Flyers assistant coach Terry Murray, who has created a top defense pairing of Zhitnik and Derian Hatcher. "Zhitnik is a strong player who plays an incredible amount of minutes. He and Hatch will be a shutdown pair we can match up against the top lines in our conference."
Zhitnik was averaging more than 21 minutes a game on Long Island and was a team-best plus-13. The Flyers' interest in him began about a month ago when it became clear Mike Rathje's ailing back would not allow him to play this season.
But Zhitnik, who was dealt to the Islanders last year after parts of 10 seasons in Buffalo, said he did not see the trade coming.
"Sometimes you have a feeling or you hear rumors or you see something in the papers or the coach doesn't like you," he said. "I didn't hear anything about me. I was playing all right. Maybe I could have created a little more offensively (two goals, nine assists). Defensively, I played all right. I can't say I was struggling."
Zhitnik said the fact that the Islanders had four defensemen in their 30s -- Tom Poti, Sean Hill, Brendan Witt and himself -- and the fact he makes $3.5 million might have led to the trade.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow agreed.
"We did it to get younger and more mobile," Snow said. "But of course it gives us some (financial) flexibility to do some things down the road if needed."
Snow referred to Zhitnik as "pure class," adding he had "nothing but great things to say about Z."
Zhitnik, who is considered an average skater, admitted the game was easier for him to play before the 2004-05 NHL lockout, saying forwards now have an advantage over defensemen.
"Defensemen can basically do nothing," he said. "It's more skating, more power plays and more short-handed situations."
Zhitnik told reporters in New York he "would have liked to stay" with the Islanders. He said Monday his wife and two children, ages 9 and 7, will remain on Long Island through the school year.
The Islanders are battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Flyers are 16 points out of playoff contention and 20 points behind the division-leading Rangers.
"I'll try to chip in as best I can, but it's a team game," he said. "I know there were great expectations and it wasn't the start the fans and everybody expected. But I think it's not over yet."