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сентября 2001 года.
Youngster Zubrus Playing Like His Old Self: // "Washington Post"
Recovered From Head Injury, Imposing Winger Displays Potential, Spurs Capitals' Excitement
By Jason La Canfora
Two months after suffering a traumatic concussion, Dainius Zubrus was still not himself. When the Washington Capitals acquired Zubrus from the Montreal Canadiens at the March trading deadline, the talented youngster was unable to play fearless hockey, worried about further injury, struggling to get back into game shape.
Each trip into the corner was met with trepidation. Zubrus, 23, avoided contact when before he would use his 6-foot-4, 227-pound frame to combat others. He was learning to interact with a new group of teammates, adapting to life in a new city and adjusting to leaving a home he had enjoyed. But as the weeks wore on and the postseason began, a budding power forward emerged, showing the skill, strength, creativity, speed and hustle that led Washington's scouts and management to deal prospects Jan Bulis and Richard Zednik for Zubrus and center Trevor Linden. With a summer behind him and a strong training camp underway, the Capitals hope that Zubrus's playoff performance was a glimmer of what is to come.
"What we saw in the playoffs, I think, was a very big winger with very good hands and an excellent skater," Coach Ron Wilson said. "And he really came to the fore with a physical game. I think what he showed us is his identity and it maybe took him some time to find that and adjust, but that's what we like to see out of him -- play a physical brand of hockey and the goals will come when they come."
Zubrus missed a quarter of last season because of the concussion, sitting out 19 games without being able to do so much as ride a stationary bike. It was the player's first head injury, so naturally he worried about the lingering effects.
After being cleared to return to skating, Zubrus quickly joined Montreal's practices and in a matter of days was participating in games. The Canadiens were unhappy with his play and while Zubrus did not disagree, he felt he was not given ample to time to regain his fitness. He clashed with the club over the situation and was dealt shortly thereafter, joining his third organization in his fifth NHL season. It was hardly the best of circumstances to make a strong first impression and Zubrus was rarely a factor for the duration of the regular season.
"That injury was pretty serious and I think that took a lot out of him," Linden said. "I really felt like when he got here people never really saw the type of player he can be. I think he's back this year and people are going to be surprised. He's a pretty exciting player; he's big and he's powerful. I think you'll see the real Zubby this year."
Zubrus's career has taken a skewed path. The Lithuanian was selected 15th overall by Philadelphia in the 1996 draft despite having never played major junior hockey, only 35 games of hockey in Canada's lesser leagues. Yet he won a spot on the Flyers' roster at age 17 and scored eight goals and 21 points in 68 games that season on a team that reached the Stanley Cup finals. But he failed to score more than eight goals in any of the next two seasons and was dealt to Montreal in a package for dynamic forward Mark Recchi. Zubrus scored 14 goals and had 42 points in his first full season with the Canadiens and netted 13 in just 61 games last season -- one in 12 games with Washington.
"I think everybody believes he was put in the league too young," General Manager George McPhee said. "And sometimes when you're thrown into the league too young, guys become more a career survivor and never really develop into what they could have been.
"He started to come around two years ago and had 42 points as a 21-year-old player and we thought if he could maintain that level, fine, he's a really solid player who skates well, has size and can get you 40 to 45 points per year, which is perfect for us. But if he can go beyond that and get you 50 or 60 points, then you've done a nice job, and we think in time he'll be able to do that."
Zubrus is a strong candidate to open the season with dangerous goal scorer Peter Bondra and center Andrei Nikolishin and will likely earn a spot on the second power play unit as well. He is invigorated by the opportunity to make a fresh start and begin the season healthy with his new teammates.
"After my injury it seemed like I was going to get hit every time I touched the puck and I was kind of watching for that a lot," Zubrus said. "And that's not exactly how I should be playing. Now, I'm more confident. I feel better. I don't think about those things anymore. Now, when I go in the corner I just think about getting the puck; I don't care if I get hit or get elbowed or anything like that.
"Right now I definitely know I can make a difference in a game; I know that. And I know that I can be more consistent. I'm really looking forward to this year and starting injury-free and carrying that on all year."
Страничка Дайнюса Зубраса на сайте
"Звёзды с Востока"
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
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