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Alexei Zhitnik
AZhitnik.jpg
Born October 10, 1972 (1972-10-10) (age 46)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
Played for Sokil Kyiv
CSKA Moscow
Los Angeles Kings
Buffalo Sabres
New York Islanders
Ak Bars Kazan
Philadelphia Flyers
Atlanta Thrashers
Dynamo Moscow
National team Template:Country data URS &
Template:FlagIOC &
Template:Country data RUS
NHL Draft 81st overall, 1991
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1989–2010

Alexei Zhitnik (born Oleksiy Mykolaiovych Zhitnik on October 10, 1972) is a Ukrainian-Russian former professional ice hockey defenceman.

He has played more games in the National Hockey League (NHL) (1,085) than any other Soviet-born defenceman.

Alexei has represented the Soviet Union, CIS and Russia internationally & Ukraine during two NHL All-Star Games. His number 13 has been honored by Sokil Kyiv.

Playing CareerEdit

Alexei was drafted 81st overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft after playing for Sokil Kyiv in the Soviet Championship League for two years.

After another year, he came to the NHL for the 1992-93 NHL season.

On October 6, 1992, Alexei made his NHL debut against the Calgary Flames and scored his first goal nine nights later, also against Calgary.

In his rookie season with the Kings, he finished second among rookie defenceman in points with 48.

Alexei was an important part of the Kings' playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens.

On February 14, 1995, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres with Robb Stauber, Charlie Huddy and Los Angeles' fifth-round choice (Marian Menhart in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft for Philippe Boucher, Denis Tsygurov and Grant Fuhr.

Alexei became one of the team's best players, helping the Sabres win the Northeast Division in the 1996–97 NHL season, his second full year with the team.

In the 1997-98 NHL season,he led all defensemen in shorthanded goals (3).

Alexei also helped the Sabres reach the finals in the 1998-99 NHL season & stayed on the team until the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

On December 6, 2004, he was signed as a free agent by Kazan in Russia.

On August 2, 2005, Alexei was signed as a free agent by the New York Islanders to a four-year contract where he became an effective force on the team.

Even though he missed the last 18 games of the season with a fractured ankle, Alexei finished second among team defenceman in scoring.

On December 16, 2006, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for Freddy Meyer and Philadelphia's third-round choice (Mark Katic) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

On February 24, 2007, Alexei was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Braydon Coburn to add experience for the playoffs.

Due to his disappointing play with the Thrashers combined with the teams focus on rebuilding, the team bought out his contract on June 30, 2008 which made him a free agent.

On July 26, 2008, Alexei returned to Russia and the now-Kontinental Hockey League, signing a tryout contract with Dynamo Moscow.

He eventually became the last captain for Dynamo before being released as the team folded following the 2009-10 KHL season.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1989–90 Sokil Kyiv USSR 32 3 4 7 16
1990–91 Sokil Kyiv USSR 46 1 4 5 46
1991–92 CSKA Moscow CIS 36 2 7 9 48
1992–93 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 12 36 48 80 24 3 9 12 26
1993–94 Los Angeles Kings NHL 81 12 40 52 101
1994–95 Los Angeles Kings NHL 11 2 5 7 27
1994–95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 21 2 5 7 34 5 0 1 1 14
1995–96 Buffalo Sabres NHL 80 6 30 36 58
1996–97 Buffalo Sabres NHL 80 7 28 35 95 12 1 0 1 16
1997–98 Buffalo Sabres NHL 78 15 30 45 102 15 0 3 3 36
1998–99 Buffalo Sabres NHL 81 7 26 33 96 21 4 11 15 22
1999–00 Buffalo Sabres NHL 74 2 11 13 95 4 0 0 0 8
2000–01 Buffalo Sabres NHL 78 8 29 37 75 13 1 6 7 12
2001–02 Buffalo Sabres NHL 82 1 33 34 80
2002–03 Buffalo Sabres NHL 70 3 18 21 85
2003–04 Buffalo Sabres NHL 68 4 24 28 102
2004–05 Ak Bars Kazan RSL 23 1 8 9 30 4 0 0 0 2
2005–06 New York Islanders NHL 59 5 24 29 88
2006–07 New York Islanders NHL 30 2 9 11 40
2006–07 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 31 3 10 13 38
2006–07 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 18 2 12 14 14 4 0 0 0 4
2007–08 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 65 3 5 8 58
2008–09 Dynamo Moscow KHL 56 4 7 11 58 12 1 2 3 22
2009–10 Dynamo Moscow KHL 56 0 7 7 60
NHL totals 1,085 96 375 471 1,268 98 9 30 39 168

International StatisticsEdit

Year Team Event Place   GP G A Pts PIM
1991 Soviet Union WJC Template:Silver2 7 1 1 2 2
1991 Soviet Union CC 5th 5 0 0 0 4
1992 CIS WJC Template:Gold1 7 1 1 2 2
1992 Unified Team Oly Template:Gold1 8 1 0 1 0
1992 Russia WC 5th 6 0 2 2 6
1994 Russia WC 5th 6 1 0 1 8
1996 Russia WC 4th 8 1 1 2 6
1996 Russia WCH SF 3 0 1 1 2
1998 Russia Oly Template:Silver2 6 0 2 2 2
2000 Russia WC 11th 6 0 1 1 2
2006 Russia Oly 4th 0 0 0 0 0
Junior Int'l totals 14 2 2 4 4
Senior Int'l totals 48 3 7 10 30

Awards & AchievementsEdit

  • 1992: Gold Medal (XVII Olympic Winter Games)
  • 1992–93: Clarence S. Campbell Bowl (Los Angeles Kings)
  • 1996: Bronze Medal (World Cup of Hockey)
  • 1998: Silver Medal (XVIII Olympic Winter Games)
  • 1998–99: Played in the All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 2001–02: Played in the All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 2008: Spengler Cup Champion (Dynamo Moscow)
  • 2008–09: Played in the All-Star Game (KHL)

RecordsEdit

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for Template:USSR
World Junior Championship
Silver 1991 Saskatoon Ice hockey
Competitor for Template:Country data CIS
World Junior Championship
Gold 1992 Fũssen Ice hockey
Olympic Games
Gold 1992 Albertville Ice hockey
Competitor for Template:RUS
Olympic Games
Silver 1998 Nagano Ice hockey
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