Hot dog not cutting the mustard

February 15, 2007

Zherdev kicked out of practice on Monday

How did I miss this?  Oh yeah, I spent most of Tuesday watching everyone in central Ohio freak about the weather.

After a lackluster Sunday stroll on the ice against Chicago, Jackets’ winger Nikolai Zherdev showed little effort in the first ten minutes of practice and was summarily dismissed from the ice.

“You can teach competitiveness,” Hitchcock said. “It’s most certainly a learned skill. And I know how to teach it.  We’ll get it turned around here.”

Zherdev’s name has been whispered when trade deadline discussions come up.  I still don’t see it happening.  With two plus years left on his contract (at roughly 2.3 mil per or something like that), a young winger who has put up a line of (7-14-21, -19) over 47 games will be tough to move.  Soon-to-be unrestricted free agents such as Bryan Berard, Fredrik Modin, and Anson Carter would be much more likely to see March in a different uniform.

“The problem for us right now is that we’re wading into hockey games,” Hitchcock said. “It doesn’t lead to winning.”

The team is still not consistently competitive (or even often), but they have a coach in place who has been around the block and by all accounts has a plan he’s willing to stick to in order to be successful. 

It remains to be seen if #13 is part of the long term plan of the Columbus hockey club.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

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