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03-24-2008, 04:16 PM
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Dancing hockey players.
March 24, 2008.

During the day I always try to nap. Without fail, I find an hour and a half or two to rest. This is normal practice, you revitalize better this way. Iíve gotten into this habit while with the CSKA, and still attempt to follow it across the ocean. With days off itís different, of course. You simply have a chance to sleep longer in the morning, you donít have to go to practice.

Nothingís new in our season. Binghamtonís fighting for a playoff spot. There are still a few points until that coveted zone, and we have all the chances to complete the task. Iíve been moved to the third line. Coach called me in, said he was very happy with my game, and then told me this none too pleasant news. He reasoned I should strengthen that line. I donít want to be commenting the coachís decision, but thatís still strange. Theyíre happy with the game, but Iím on the third line.

Recently Ilja Zubov and I went to an autograph-signing session at the teamís gift shop. We signed everything the fans produced. There were many people, but I wouldnít say it was packed. After all, Iím no Heatley. But anyway, I had to work pretty hard. I know the Russian fans would be flooding us with game-related questions, but here it was all orderly. We signed, they said thanks and wished us luck.

The main hockey event for me was the shootout goal I scored against Rochester. I was actually surprised that the coach sent me out to take the shot. Iíve participated in the shootout a couple of times, but Iíd never scored. The goal turned out to be routine. I faked right, but went left and shot it. Generally, during practice, I often score on breakaways, but obviously game situations are different. There was anxiety when I came out to the puck, shaking a bit. You know, we rarely work on these things at practice. Itís mainly three on two, forecheckingÖ

But donít think Iím depressed here. And overall there have been plenty of fun moments. For instance, once during practice our tough guy Jeremy Yablonski with all his strength collidedÖ with the coach. We were working on a play, Yablonski picked up speed, but couldnít manage it and went right into the assistant coach. And he wasnít disciplined, but commended actually. Like, way to execute. But the coach is still limping.

Or, as an example, itís really surprising that some players dance in the locker room. Without a reason. Some upbeat music begins playing, and they get right into it. Ilja Zubov and I laugh our heads off, imagining a scene like that in the CSKA locker room. For instance, Vadim Epanchintsev gets up and starts dancing. Or Sergei RozinÖ Thatís just impossible to imagine. Thatís unbelievable. Ilja and I donít participate in these dances. And I generally donít dance anyway. But I have to note that this doesnít occur before games. Everyone is concentrated then.

One time I was late for practice. We came back late from the road, and the practice was early the next day. Iíd set the alarm, but didnít hear it. Woke up ten minutes before practice, rushed to a taxi and got to the arena. Interestingly, that was the day when the coach called me in and told me I was being moved to the third line. But overall I was not punished. There was no fine.

During days off Natalya and I go shopping. Bought her sunglasses. She goes to all the games, but doesnít analyze afterwards. Only says whether or not I played well. Natasha understands the subtleties of hockey like any other girl. However, she does know the rules. She can tell an offside, she can tell if the referee made the right call, whether there was an infraction.

Iím following the Russian Superleague playoffs on TV. Watching it taped. Very sorry to see CSKA out of it. Couldíve really gone at it with Ak Bars. Donít know what happened to Lawson, since he was doing very well during the regular season.

Whoíll be the champion? I think either Ak Bars or Magnitogorsk.

Last edited by ThirtyFive: 03-25-2008 at 06:45 PM.
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