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ноября 2002 года.
Caps' Zubrus Struggles On - Washington Post
By Jason La Canfora
This was supposed to be a breakout season for Dainius Zubrus. He was poised to become the Washington Capitals' top center, teaming with superstar Jaromir Jagr to continue the offensive renaissance that began late last season.
But six weeks into the season, Zubrus has yet to score a goal and has just three points in 15 games. He has juggled from line to line, was switched back to the wing from center, and is struggling to establish himself with new coach Bruce Cassidy.
The slow start is not entirely surprising. Zubrus, 24, missed all of training camp mired in a contract dispute and has yet to regain his touch and timing. The Capitals encountered similar situations when Jeff Halpern, Richard Zednik, Chris Simon and Sergei Gonchar returned after missing camp.
"He'll never get training camp under his belt, and that's sort of your foundation for the season," Cassidy said. "You work hard in the summer and training camp, that's your foundation, and you build off that, and it's hard to maintain that during the year. It's hard to increase your aerobic capacity because you're playing so many games, and fatigue sets in and injuries set in.
"So you're trying to maintain and not drop off and it's tough to gain and that's what he's lost. Guys that have missed training camp. . . . It's a tough way to go through the year. Maybe as it goes on he'll regain some of that, because he is a physical specimen, but right now I think it's showing up."
Zubrus's descent reached a new low at yesterday's practice. He began Wednesday's game -- a 6-1 loss to Dallas -- skating on the first line with Jagr and Robert Lang and finished it barely getting a regular shift. Yesterday Zubrus, who signed a two-year, $2.9 million deal in October after earning $1 million last season, was on the fourth line and, although he still plays a role on the penalty kill, figures to get far less playing time this weekend at Chicago and Minnesota.
"Plain and simple, we just need more out of him," Cassidy said.
Zubrus has yet to display the stickhandling, puck skills and finishing touch of last season, when he set a career high with 17 goals and scored 15 points in the final 14 games, and he concedes as much. However, the 6-foot-4, 231-pound forward believes he has made great strides in his conditioning.
"I feel pretty good," Zubrus said. "In the first five game it was just like the start of training camp, it was an adjustment. But right now I'm past that. It just takes time maybe to create for myself and personally it seems like I am getting my chances and I can't put it away. Maybe I've got to shoot more and work on my shot. The last three or four games it was tough. I have a bruise on my arm and could not really shoot at all and that didn't help, but no excuses. I'm getting chances and I've just got to put it away and I'm not."
Zubrus has been prone to scoring slumps throughout his six-year career. In 2000-01 he concluded his stint in Montreal with a long drought complicated by the lingering effects of a concussion. Zubrus scored one goal in 12 games with Washington after being acquired at the March trade deadline and then went 21 games last season before finally finding the net on Nov. 23.
He went on to score 17 times in his final 50 games, however, and it was that prowess, combined with sound defensive play and a physical presence, that generated so much excitement about the player inside the organization. Perhaps, another revival will occur again this season, but the odds are stacked against it given Zubrus's September layoff.
"I don't want to remember the start of last year, but it was a similar thing," Zubrus said. "I went through so many games without scoring and it was a fluky one that got me going. I don't know what it will take, but I am working on my shot. I should have scored at least three or four goals by now for sure and I'm sure things will turn around."
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11 августа. Zubrus, Semin May Miss Start of Camp,
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- The Washington Post
11 августа. Zubrus, Semin May Miss Start of Camp, If Not More - Washington Post
28 октября. Дайнюс Зубрус: Надо начинать выигрывать // «МК в Тольятти»
27 сентября. All Signs Pointing Up for Zubrus - The Washington Post