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25 января 2003 года. 
Wild's Zyuzin starting anew - Pioneer Press


SAN JOSE, Calif. - It was the best of times, the worst of times and the strangest of times for Andrei Zyuzin during his three-year tenure with the San Jose Sharks.

There was the instant notoriety and pressure borne from being the No. 2 overall draft pick, which airlifted the 18-year-old out of Ufa, Russia, in 1996 and dropped him off in California with more money in his pocket than he ever could imagine.

There was the night in 1998 when he became the toast of the town after scoring the overtime winner in a playoff victory over Dallas, which offered a glimpse at the talents of supposedly one of the best young defensemen in the world.

And there were the clashes with then-coach Darryl Sutter, the suspension for refusing a minor league assignment and the 26 days he went AWOL to Russia with his former agent during the spring of 1999 in an incident that remains shrouded in mystery.

After two seasons, the Sharks traded Zyuzin to Tampa Bay. Things didn't click there, and Zyuzin was shipped to the New Jersey Devils, who found they didn't have a spot for him on their crowded blue line. In November, they placed him on waivers, where the Wild put in a claim after every other NHL team passed.

So there was Zyuzin at the HP Pavilion on Friday, addressing his murky past in the same building where it all began and hoping for a better future in Minnesota.

"It was tough to leave the city and my teammates when I was traded to Tampa, but maybe it was for the best, you know?" Zyuzin said. "We all make mistakes in life, especially when we're young. I'm not looking back right now, though. It seems like a long time ago."

Like many of the reclamation projects that dot the Wild roster, Zyuzin is in a comfort zone playing for coach Jacques Lemaire that he couldn't find in three other organizations.

Basically, the Wild looked at him as another drifter looking for a home and not as the bonus baby who is expected to carry the franchise across thresholds. When Zyuzin arrived early this season, Lemaire and his staff told him to learn the team system, play responsibly and give his raw talent - the fluid skating, the booming shot, the strong positional play - time to emerge.

In the organization's eyes, this still is a 25-year-old who can develop without having to worry about becoming the next Ray Bourque. After a slow start offensively and prodding by Lemaire to get more involved, Zyuzin has come on of late. He is a regular on the power play, and has three goals among seven points in his last 13 games while chewing up a lot of minutes on the blue line.

"I'm feeling more comfortable with this team, but there's still a ways to go," he said. "I can play at a higher level than I'm playing now."

General manager Doug Risebrough thinks Zyuzin still is trying to find his "home base," that peace at the center where ability and expectations come together to build consistency and confidence. After talking with Devils g.m. Lou Lamoriello, Risebrough said he thought Zyuzin might be able to resurrect his career in Minnesota without wearing the yoke of being a second overall pick.

"Lou had exhausted all possibilities trying to move him, but he was very positive about him. He felt he was starting to get it," Risebrough said. "For four of five years, (Zyuzin) was in no-man's land. But we felt he could maybe do well in a developmental setting. It's only been 40 games, but it has been positive."

Even in a dressing room with all-star Marian Gaborik, and this year's first-round rookie, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Zyuzin still is the highest draft choice ever to wear a Wild jersey. But all of that went out the window when Zyuzin arrived, looking for a fresh start.

"I don't think the coaches have any expectations of you until they see what you can do and how good of a player you can become. That's what all of us have been through coming here," said Brad Bombardir. "I just think guys become better players when they don't have that pressure on them. He looks like he's one of those guys who just likes to go out there and just play, and he's certainly talented enough and confident enough to be a good player."

Zyuzin, who is making $1.05 million, will be a restricted free agent after this season. Risebrough, always practical, said he wants to evaluate him in the broader context of a full season before determining whether he fits into the big picture.

Meanwhile, Zyuzin and his wife, Teresa, whom he met in San Jose, bought a house in the Twin Cities and are expecting their first child in March. After pinballing around the league for six years, Zyuzin said he wants to remain with the Wild.

"I like the system and I think it's working," he said. "I think Minnesota is my home, and I'm looking forward to staying here and signing a contract."

Страничка Андрея Зюзина на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


26 ноября. Зюзин ушел из "Салавата".

24 сентября. Андрей Зюзин: "Жене-американке в Уфе нравится" - Газета.ру

5 апреля. Вместо поездки на чемпионата мира, Андрей Зюзин ляжет под хирургический нож.

17 октября. Дикое счастье Зюзина - "Советский Спорт"

27 февраля. Американская Уфа Андрея Зюзина - Советский Спорт



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