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Dose of Reality #28

January 24, 2007

Dose of Reality

In some of the comments on this blog and others out there on the internets, I read about how selfish Nick Zherdev is and how bad he is for the Blue Jackets. On the second point I won’t I won’t argue much because it is hard to see any positives with Zherdev’s season. But I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions just because the team beat Detroit without him.

I do take issue with labeling Zherdev selfish. Is he selfish because he doesn’t score that much? Should he pass the puck to one of his teammates more so they can also not score? Should he play more like Vyborny and carry the puck up ice more but pass instead of shooting? Zherdev is a snapshot of the team and the team is not good this season. Maybe if he scored more the team wouldn’t be shut out so much. The season is bad when not being shut out so much is something to hope for.

All NHL players have egos and they all think they can skate around the defender waiting for them. Truthfully, most of them can skate around anyone in the NHL, but the coaches are so conservative that they beat it out of the players until they too, become conservative. I am sure that Ken Hitchcock will have Zherdev playing the NHL way next season. If not, he will be gone.

If Zherdev’s fellow Blue Jackets felt he was selfish, you would have heard about it by now. Every player that I have talked to has never said anything about him being selfish. They wish the best for him because when he starts clicking the team will be better and win. On the whole, this team gets along fine with each other and doesn’t do any finger pointing. They pass him the puck when he is open and they stick up for him on the ice.

Contrast Nikolai Zherdev’s entry into the NHL with that of Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. George McPhee, the team GM who does not have an ego, brought over the whole Ovechkin family so that the young Russian would have some stability in his new life in America. He worked on a plan so that people who supported him and spoke his language would surround Ovechkin. Remember, Zherdev was facing desertion charges from the Russian Army if he went to Columbus.

One writer commented that picking up both Anson Carter and Zherdev was a mistake. For different reasons, I agree. The team paid way too much for Carter and he has not put up the numbers that were expected. But who is putting up numbers on this team? Is everyone happy with Nash? How about Foote, who is constantly mentioned on the wrong lists that hockey writers come up with. Adam was just named to the Anti-All Star team by a writer at The Globe and Mail of Canada. You don’t want to brag about making that team.

This is not a good season here in Columbus, but it is hard to single out someone like Zherdev or anyone else. He is just one of the many under producing players that make up this year’s team. I think that Nikolai Zherdev should have put up 30-35 goals this season, so at this point he should have about 15-17 goals; he only has seven. Rick Nash has 13 goals; many people think he should score 40+ per season.

– Truth Serum

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