Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Zherdev Situation Getting Uglier

If it wasn't apparent to you last week after the Rangers signed UFA Ales Kotalik that the Rangers had no intention on bringing back Nik Zherdev, then this interview might convince you.

Found this yesterday while surfing the Rangers blogosphere over on Beyond The Blueshirts, it is a translation of an interview with Zherdev that appeared yesterday in the Russian newspaper Sport-Express:

- How is the situation with the Rangers now?

- The question of the contract remains open. I have submitted documents to the arbitration court, now my agent and I are waiting for the meeting, which will take place on July 31st. After the decision is made, it will be possible to talk about things more specifically.

- How, in your opinion, could this all end?

- If the Rangers agree to my terms — I’ll sign the contract, if not — it will be necessary to search for other options with other teams.

- Are you not surprised that problems have come up after your very good season?

- Of course I’m surprised! To tell the truth, I thought that we would come to an agreement with the club easily, because last season was one of the best in my career. In New York things actually went very well for me — I scored 58 points. Though the year before in Columbus it turned out that I collected even more points — 61.

- And how likely is it that you’ll return to Russia this summer?

- I would still like to play in the NHL, but I also haven’t ruled out the option of moving to the KHL. It’s possible that I’ll remain in the Russian league for one year, then become a free agent and have the opportunity to negotiate with any NHL team.

- What are the chances that you will play in the KHL?

- Thirty percent, no less.

- And what Russian commands have offered you a contract?

- I’ll only say that it’s 3 or 4 top clubs in the KHL. If you excuse me, I won’t name them.

- It’s no secret, that during the World Championship, you were in contact with the management of Salavat Yulaev, but you turned down an offer from that club at the time. Why?

- Well, I won’t hide it: Salavat has indeed shown interest in me. I did not turn this club down, I only said that for now I would like to remain in the NHL. But I didn’t speak with representatives from the Ufa during the World Championship. In Switzerland all thoughts were only about the game — nobody conducted any negotiations.

- By the way, what impressions remain with you from the World Chamopionship?

- Our team won — that’s the main impression. But personally, for me, the championship — I expect you remember — was unsuccessful. Already on my second shift in the tournament I broke a finger on my hand. I was able to play two matches in intense pain, and then the finger simply began to hurt intolerably — it was impossible to play in such a condition.

- During the World Championship you shared a room with Alexander Radulov. Did you speak with him about Salavat?

- We talked about various topics. Including about the KHL and about the Ufa team.

- Taking into account the upcoming Olympics, perhaps a move to Salavat Yulaev may be worth it, in order to continually be in the view of the coach of Team Russia [who also coaches Salavat]?

- I’ll repeat, I haven’t ruled out such an option. If I hadn’t filed for arbitration, it would be possible to have conversations on the subject now already. But in the present situation it’s useless. In any case, I don’t think that I’ll remain without a team (laughs).

- But nevertheless, why didn’t the Rangers do everything they could to keep you? Could it be that you don’t suit the coach?

- I don’t even know how to answer you. I didn’t hear any specific reprimands in his address. And there were no situations of conflict with the coaching staff.

- After the new head coach of the Rangers, John Tortorella, has come in, your statistics became worse than they had been over the course of the season with Tom Renney. Did Tortorella trust you less?

- That was probably one of the reasons. I admit, that I had slump — it’s impossible to play the entire season completely evenly. During that time, at times my game was off completely.

- And on what team in NHL you would like to continue your career?

- To begin with, it must be a team that has a need for me. That’s why I’ll answer your question this way: it would be nice to play on one of the teams in the division that the Rangers play in.

- To show the New Yorkers they were wrong?

- No, it is simply that when I played in Columbus, there were many long flights. It’s more interesting to play in the Atlantic Division, and you fly much less there. Accordingly, you get less tired.

- Are there any teams in the NHL that you dreamed of playing for as a child?

- Yes, I always liked Detroit.

- And could you be traded there?

- I wouldn’t exactly be against it!

- Czech forward Jiri Hudler of Detroit is planning to spend at least two seasons in the Kontinental league, and then return to the NHL. Should you not follow his example?

- It’s hard to say. By the way, when I saw the news that Jiri had signed a contract with Moscow Dynamo, I was very surprised. I even thought that something had not been translated correctly.

- Is it possible that a place for you was just opened in Detroit?

- (Laughs.) I don’t know, we’ll see.

- When and where will you start preparing for the season?

- Now in Kiev I’m keeping in shape, I run constantly. And in a few days I will arrive in Moscow. Probably, I’ll skate in Mytischi.

After reading that, do you still think Zherdev will be with the Rangers when training camp begins in two months?

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Anonymous said...

He thought last season was great? He had 58 pts & now wants $4million+ - what the hell is he smoking?


Dov said...

What bothers me is that he doesn't realize the games are weighted in importance, what you do in the crunch games to get to the playoffs and then in the playoffs really determine whether you had a good season. From that point of view, he was worse than worthless because they were depending on him.

Puck Central said...

Yeah, he didn't do anything at all in the playoffs. Only question for me now is where will he play next season & will Sather be able to trade him or does he walk for nothing?