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Columbus, OH • United States • 25 Years Old • Male
If you aren't yet familiar with Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Nikolai Zherdev, just take these two words as a hint: Alexei Kovalev. Same game, different body. If Zherdev could speak a word of English other than "puck" or "good", we might be talking about some of his comments in the media. But deep inside of the hearts of all Jackets fans, we know "Z" is one confused guy. At times, he's simply amazing, using his toe-drag and inside-out loop that makes (or made) veteran defenseman look like pylons. Others, he's disinterested and disengaged. In 2005-06, he posted career-best numbers of 27 goals and 27 assists. Not bad for a second-year guy who can't speak English who fled his home country of Russia without fulfilling his military commitments. In 2007, the numbers tell the tale. Unacceptable production, and a butting of the heads between he and new head coach Ken Hitchcock. In no way is this a match made in heaven, but I think that Hitch has the mindset to make Zherdev tick in Columbus. His first semi-project was making Nash a complete player, and so far, the process is coming along with progress. The biggest task ahead is getting Nikolai Zherdev to want to be the goal-scorer he was in Russia, and turn heads in the NHL like everyone knows he can. I believe it can happen, and I think it will happen. Not today, not tomorrow, or a month down the road. But eventually. If Nikolai Zherdev wants the spotlight again, he has to earn it back. He was a novelty for about a year in Columbus, and now he's got the bratty attitude that Terrell Owens brings the NFL. When he gets his head where it should be, we'll be seeing his name in the highlights, not in the message board titles.
May 1, 2007 8:58 AM ET | Delete
I'm not so sure he isn't a lost cause. I read the dispatch article on him about a month ago and was disgusted at what type of teamate and person he is. There's talent there, for sure, I just think he is a headcase. The guy is lazy and doesn't want to sacrifice for the team, those are 2 strikes in the Hitch system. I think we may see a salary dump sometime this year if it doesn't click for him.
May 1, 2007 9:25 AM ET | Delete
They should send him to Detroit... seems russians feel "at home" there.
July 20, 2007 2:41 PM ET | Delete
I think he and Alexei Yashin would make great roommates
August 6, 2007 1:55 PM ET | Delete
i think he needs Dr. Phil not hitchcock LOL
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