Yashin failing to provide a boost

Alexei Yashin's ice time has been drastically cut, making him the highest-paid fourth-liner in the NHL.

Updated: March 29, 2004, 2:18 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
From Dec. 26 to March 6, the New York Islanders did just fine without center Alexei Yashin in the lineup as they climbed into playoff position and moved closer to clinching their third consecutive postseason berth.

Yashin has just a goal and four points in 11 games since he returned from serious arm surgery March 9, and with the Buffalo Sabres still pushing the Isles for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, New York head coach Steve Stirling can't afford to work Yashin in at a leisurely pace.

So Stirling drastically cut Yashin's ice time Sunday in a 3-2 loss to New Jersey, making the 30-year-old Russian the highest-paid fourth-liner in the NHL.