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5 октября 2000 года.
Zholtok brings Latvian pride to Montreal (Euroreport.com) 

by Lucas Aykroyd | Senior Editor - 5 October, 2000 

Ten years ago, you couldn't have imagined a Latvian forward keying the offense of the Montreal Canadiens. But times have changed, and Sergei Zholtok is taking full advantage. The Riga-born center enjoyed a breakthrough season with Montreal last year, racking up 26 goals and 12 assists in 68 games. That was good for third place in team scoring behind Martin Rucinsky and Dainius Zubrus. Zholtok struggled to make an impact earlier in his NHL career, as he only picked up four points in 25 games with Boston after being drafted 55th overall in 1992 by the Bruins. But after paying his dues in the minors, the 6-1, 191-pound forward returned to the big show with the Ottawa Senators in 1996-97. Montreal signed him as a free agent in 1998, and the 27-year-old now appears to have recaptured the form that helped him to silver and gold medals respectively with the 1991 and 1992 USSR World Junior Championship squads. Lucas Aykroyd caught up with Zholtok after he assisted on two goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place on 28 September. 

EuroReport: How happy are you with your performance in the preseason so far? 
Sergei Zholtok: I feel pretty good. I was battling the flu over the last couple of days, so I haven't played much. This was my third game. But I think we've got a pretty good team this year, with a lot of young guys stepping in and the veterans looking pretty healthy, so I'm looking forward to the season. 

EuroReport: Which wingers are you particularly comfortable with? 
Zholtok: I think I'm going to be teamed up with Oleg Petrov. I don't know who the second forward is going to be. It's pretty much between Dainius Zubrus and Jim Campbell. They're both fast guys. 

EuroReport: What was the key to your career-best mark in goals last year? 
Zholtok: It's not like there's just one thing I can pick out. I felt pretty confident right from the beginning, and I got a few goals early in the year. The coaches believed in me and put me in different situations with lots of ice time. And I was blessed to play with really good partners, guys like Zubrus and Oleg. 

EuroReport: Looking back, you had a 101-point season with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL in 1995-96. Would you consider that a turning point in your pro career? 
Zholtok: Absolutely. It was a hell of a year overall, not just for me. My family and I got to move to a really nice city. [Vegas GM] Bob Strum and the team were great. They gave me the opportunity to just concentrate on playing hockey. It was a really high-level team. I got my confidence back and the next season I was playing in the NHL again. 

EuroReport: How do you handle the pressure of living and playing in Montreal? 
Zholtok: It's a great city. I don't think there's so much pressure. Many people talk about this, and obviously we get a lot of attention from the fans and the media. But when you work hard, they appreciate this. 

EuroReport: You've represented Latvia several times at the World Championships. How far does Latvia have to go to join the major hockey powers? 
Zholtok: We're pretty close. Right now, we've got some really solid players, and the last couple of championships, we've come in seventh or eighth in the world and beat some good teams: Russia, Sweden and others. Maybe the next Olympics will be our breakthrough. 

EuroReport: Are the Latvian fans the noisiest in the world? 
Zholtok: Absolutely. They never stop singing. I'm really proud to be from a city and a country where hockey is a way of life. 

EuroReport: Who were some of your favorite players when you were growing up? 
Zholtok: I had quite a few. I had a chance to see the old KLM Line in an exhibition game in my building in Riga. Igor Larionov was a really smart centerman in those days. When I came here, obviously Mario Lemieux was the full impact player. 

EuroReport: When you were playing for Boston, you once got cut quite badly by Pavel Bure's skate. What is your take on the issue of wearing facial protection? 
Zholtok: It's a really tough question. I've been talking about it over the last year with reporters after the accident with Bryan Berard in Toronto. I think it's mostly up to players to decide what they're going to do. I've thought quite a few times about putting on a shield, but I've always kind of stepped back from it. I did try a couple of times, and last year I got a broken cheekbone and I played with both a full mask and a half mask for a little while. It was a little uncomfortable. It gets foggy during the game, so there are some plusses and some minuses. You don't see the game exactly the same way. But you know, I think players who aren't tall should definitely wear a half mask, because they're pretty much going to be getting sticks around their faces all the time. For the taller guys, maybe it isn't so bad. 

EuroReport: Finally, how far do you think this Montreal team can go if it can stay injury-free? 
Zholtok: It's not so much about injuries. Every new season, I start with one goal: go as far as I can go in the playoffs and hopefully get to the Stanley Cup finals. Maybe some people will think that's not possible for our team, but not me! I'm really confident about it. 

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 Tribune

5 ноября. Zholtok's death has really hit home // Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin

5 ноября. Сергей Жолток умер во время матча. Врачи более часа боролись за его жизнь в раздевалке, но сердце хоккеиста не выдержало // "Советский Спорт"

5 ноября. Вожак Латвии // "Спорт-Экспресс"

5 ноября. Сергей Жолток - смерть за 5 минут до конца матча // "Спорт-Экспресс"


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