Birth Date: 10-10-72
Place of Birth: Kiev, USSR
Jersey Number: 44
The Physical Game
Zhitnik has paid close attention to his conditioning in the past year or two; now that he is in better shape he is more willing and able to play a more physical style. Where he once made rather wild checks, he knows when to step up for the hit. He plays sensibly and doesn't take bad penalties. His lower-body strength is impressive. He can really unload on some checks, as he did on Mike Sillinger in the playoffs. Zhitnik takes pride in his game and competes hard most nights.
Dominik Hasek is still the best defenseman on the Sabres, but Zhitnik is an underrated member of the club's defense corps. We haven't see his best yet.
Zhitnik gets prime ice time and will net another 45 to 50 points as Buffalo's top-scoring defenseman.