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Zholtok taking advantage of Wild opportunity - Star Tribune
"[Coach] Jacques Lemaire had good things to say about the way that fourth line worked together," someone said to Zholtok after Thursday morning's pregame skate at Xcel Energy Center.
Zholtok looked at the locker room visitor and said: "Why do you call it the fourth line? Where did you see that it was a fourth line?"
The visitor hemmed, then hawed, and Zholtok said: "I don't think here we have lines like that -- one, two, three, four -- because the lines are changed so much.
"You find out before the game when Jacques sees the opponent's lineup. Where you play, when you play . . . most of it depends on the matchups that he sees."
Lemaire looked at San Jose on Thursday and decided to put Zholtok between Gaborik and Pascal Dupuis for most of the night.
Zholtok's ability to play anywhere up front has aided Lemaire in creating nightly matchups. When he's centering Gaborik, Zholtok will hang back a step and be ready to play defense, because the kid is off making plays. When Zholtok is on a line with Dowd and Johnson, he is transformed into the player most likely to put a puck in the net.
"To me, it makes no difference if I'm a center or a wing," Zholtok said. "When I played youth hockey at home, there were two positions -- forward and defense."
Home for Zholtok is Riga, Latvia. His wife, Anna, is Russian. They have two sons: Edgar, 12, and Nikita, 2 1/2. They spend their summers in Riga and live in Eagan during the season. Edgar is in the youth hockey program.
"The hockey is very organized here . . . four, five practices a week, plus the games," Sergei said. "Edgar really is enjoying it, and it's fun to watch him play."
Zholtok was an 19-year-old standout in the World Junior Championships in 1991. He was drafted in the third round by the Boston Bruins a year later. He played 25 games in two seasons for the Bruins, then found himself stuck in the minors until the summer of 1996, when he was signed as a free agent by Ottawa.
Zholtok played extensively in two seasons in Ottawa: 135 games, 22 goals, 29 assists. The Senators decided that was not enough. Again, he became a free agent, this time signing with Montreal at the start of training camp in September 1998.
Zholtok erupted for 26 goals in his second season [1999-2000] in Montreal. Then, he scored one goal in the first 32 games of the 2000-01 season and the Canadians sent him to Edmonton. His goal total with two teams that season was five.
"You can't just look at the numbers and say, 'Oh, he was a much different player when he scored 26 goals than when he scored five,' " Zholtok said. "One season, I scored some goals early, and that gave me the confidence to keep shooting. In another season, the puck didn't go in, and you start passing more, it seems.
"You can be skating the same, working the same, but when the goals don't come, the confidence isn't the same."
Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough already has a track record of success in acquiring veteran forwards who were coming off an unproductive season.
Example A has been Brunette. He became a free agent after his goal total in Atlanta went from 23 to 15 during the 2000-01 season. Risebrough signed him, and Brunette scored 21 goals for the low-scoring Wild last season. He has six goals in the team's first 11 games this fall.
The circumstances were similar in the summer of 2001 when Risebrough traded for Zholtok, who raised his goal-scoring total from five to 19.
It was not a line matchup that enabled Zholtok to be the hero of the Wild's latest unlikely victory Thursday. Zholtok tied the score 1-1 in the middle of the third period, then won it 2-1 with nine seconds left in overtime. Both Zholtok goals came in four-on-four situations.
The two goals doubled his season total. Approached later by the same
morning visitor, Zholtok looked up and said: "Are you going to ask me more
questions about the fourth line?"
Страничка Сергея Жолтка на сайте
"Звёзды с Востока"
18 ноября. Honoring Zholtok's memory, one year after
his death - St. Paul Pioneer Press
11 ноября. Ex-Wild teammate returns home, recalls
Zholtok's death in Belarus // St. Paul Pioneer Press
11 ноября. Former Wild teammates Darby Hendrickson
and Sergei Zholtok had a tragic reunion in Latvia // Minneapolis Star
5 ноября. Zholtok's death has really hit home
// Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin
5 ноября. Вожак Латвии // "Спорт-Экспресс"
5 ноября. Сергей Жолток - смерть за 5 минут до конца
матча // "Спорт-Экспресс"
18 ноября. Honoring Zholtok's memory, one year after his death - St. Paul Pioneer Press
11 ноября. Ex-Wild teammate returns home, recalls Zholtok's death in Belarus // St. Paul Pioneer Press
11 ноября. Former Wild teammates Darby Hendrickson and Sergei Zholtok had a tragic reunion in Latvia // Minneapolis Star Tribune
5 ноября. Zholtok's death has really hit home // Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin
5 ноября. Вожак Латвии // "Спорт-Экспресс"
5 ноября. Сергей Жолток - смерть за 5 минут до конца матча // "Спорт-Экспресс"