Sunday, August 27, 2006

Nikolai Zherdev

Loyalty first?Doug MacLean spent more than $600,000 and went to the State Department to get Nikolai Zherdev out of Russia and to North America to play for the Blue Jackets in 2003. Three years later, the young player's contract is up, and he's back in Russia playing while agent Rolland Hedges threatens to keep his player there unless their money demands are met here. Blackmail? Usually, it's the Russians doing that to the NHL. Doesn't Zherdev owe MacLean at this point? At what price comes loyalty these days?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nikolai Zherdev Blue Jackets

Nikolai Zherdev is threatening instead to play in his mother country this season unless the Columbus Blue Jackets step up contract talks with the 21-year-old restricted free agent.
"The Russian threat doesn't faze me in the least," Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean said yesterday from his Columbus office.
Zherdev has signed a deal with Russian club Khimik Voskresenk and has played with the team for the past few weeks.
Zherdev was second in goals (27) and points (54) with the Jackets last season, his second in the NHL. Now he wants a raise on the $942,400 (all figures U.S.) salary he earned last season. The Jackets are believed to have offered a little more than $1.1-million for a one-year deal or in excess of $3.5-million over two years, not close to what the Zherdev camp wants.
"If we keep talking the way we're talking, there is no breakthrough here," said Hedges, who originally wanted a long-term deal but will settle for a one-year deal that pays enough. What baffles MacLean is that Zherdev, with the help of the Jackets, fought hard to get out of Russia two years ago, battling litigation from his old club CSKA Moscow to bolt to the Jackets.
"I guess I'm a little taken aback that it cost us in excess of $600,000 to get him out of Russia," MacLean said.
"Now he's saying he wants to go back? That catches me a little off-guard."
Here are my thoughts on this I am sure Doug would disagree with me.
In my opinion he can stay there and we can get somebody with size and speed.