Nikolai Zherdev claims that he is now a 'two-way player'; Is water no longer wet?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nikolaizherdev.jpgDuring a conference call today, Nikolai Zherdev referred to himself as a “two-way player.” In other news from Bizarro Land, I condemn puns, hate bacon and find Madonna interesting.

All joking aside, the talented Russian winger claims that he’s improved in one of the areas that once made Ken Hitchcock and John Tortorella pitch fits. Here’s what he said about his allegedly blossoming defensive game (as well as some details about where he might land in the Flyers lineup) from NHL.com.

“I have skills, good puck control and hockey sense,” Zherdev said. “It probably would be good for me, and if coach (Peter Laviolette) makes the decision, to play on the power play. I’m changing my style and trying to play more defensive zone. I think, right now, I’m two-way player. Before, I was probably more forward … playing more of the attacking zone. The last couple seasons, I’ve been more defensive zone, too.”

That should be music to Holmgren’s ears, since the knock on Zherdev was his carelessness in the defensive end. On top of that, the Zherdev signing could very well spell the end for Simon Gagne, the top-line left wing regarded as an excellent two-way forward. ESPN.com is reporting Gagne’s agent has been allowed to speak with other teams regarding potential trades.

It’ll be interesting to see where Zherdev is inserted into the lineup at training camp. If Gagne is traded, would Zherdev assume a top-line role alongside center Mike Richards and Jeff Carter? Or could he line up next to young forwards Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk on a highly offensive third line?

“I don’t pay much attention to the people who write about me about bad things or good things,” Zherdev said. “Sometimes the media has different opinions about different players. Right now my goal is to come to Philadelphia and prepare for the long hockey season.”

File Zherdev’s new-found interest in his own zone under “Believe it when I see it.”

While I have to admit that I was surprised by the interest the Flyers had in the Russian winger, he’s a fairly low risk at one-year, $2 million. I cannot help but giggle at the thought of Nikolai Zherdev: Selke Trophy winner, but if he’s even moderately committed to defense while providing a nice bit of offense he could be a great signing for the Flyers.

He’s saying the right things at the moment, at least.

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    No hearing scheduled for Gudas after big hit on Sabres rookie

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    Flyers d-man Radko Gudas doesn’t have a disciplinary hearing scheduled for his hit on Buffalo’s Daniel Catenacci on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

    Gudas was given a five-minute charging major for laying out Catenacci late in the third period of Philly’s 5-1 win. The hit ended Catenacci’s night, a tough way for the 22-year-old to finish just his third NHL contest.

    After the contest, Buffalo players and head coach Dan Bylsma didn’t mince words when it came to Gudas’ actions.

    “I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News. “I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

    “That guy’s an idiot and stupid,” Foligno said of Gudas, per the Courier-Post. “He gets his hits in, he’s dirty and he’s been known for it. He goes after a rookie who plays in three games and goes right at his head.

    “He’s an idiot, that guy.”

    Gudas certainly has furthered his reputation as a dangerous hitter this season.

    In December, he was suspended three games for a headshot on Mika Zibanejad and, earlier this month, was tossed from a game against Montreal for clipping, after delivering a low hit on Habs forward Lucas Lessio.

    Report: The chances of Carey Price returning this season are ‘slim’

    Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price looks on during a scrimmage game alongside goaltending coach Stephane Waite during NHL hockey training camp in Brossard, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
    Associated Press
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    Details surrounding Carey Price‘s injury have been scarce, but according to La Presse newspaper, the chances of him returning to the lineup this season are “slim” at best.

    The 28-year-old has been out with a lower-body injury since Nov. 25.

    His return date has been pushed back several times, and La Presse suggests that’ll happen again.

    Originally, the Canadiens said Price would be out six weeks. Then, on January 21, General Manager Marc Bergevin said he expected his goalie to be out another three to four weeks, which means that he would be coming back sometime next week.

    Price has been skating for a while, but he’s been doing so without his goalie equipment.

    Basically, don’t hold your breath.

    Here’s an excerpt from the story (quotes have been translated):

    The possibility of Carey Price returning this season are so slim that people in the organization don’t even believe it’ll happen.

    According to information obtained by La Presse, the Canadiens aren’t optimistic about their star goaltender’s chances of returning this season. He’s been out since November and the club refuses to confirm the fact that he suffered a right knee injury. 

    The report goes on to say that Price is dealing with a Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury. The only good news is that he won’t have to undergo surgery.

    “People in the Canadiens organization don’t believe he’ll  be back during the regular season,” a source told La Presse’s Richard Labbé. “They’re wondering if it’s even worth pushing him to come back, but they don’t want to admit anything publicly.

    “They don’t want the fans to give up hope this season. There’s a marketing aspect to all of this.”

    The story also mentions that Price is telling people that he’ll be healthy enough to represent Canada at the World Cup of Hockey next September.

    PHT Morning Skate: Snoop Dogg wears OHL team’s jersey during a show

    Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, arrives at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Culver City, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    –Snoop Dog wore a Mitch Marner London Knights jersey at his concert in London. (Bardown)

    Brent Burns‘ son got a gift from Jaromir Jagr:

    –Here’s Pierre LeBrun’s latest edition of Team Canada’s World Cup roster. (ESPN)

    –The NHL completely ruined the Toronto Maple Leafs’ centennial season. (Puck Daddy)

    –The Chicago Blackhawks will be going to the White House on Feb. 18. (Blackhawks.nhl.com)

    –Wings goalie Petr Mrazek talks to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman about “doing the right things” and “working hard”. (Sportsnet)

    Sharks scratch Flames’ big lead, Calgary wins anyway

    Calgary Flames' Mikael Backlund (11) chases down the puck against San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
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    If you turned off Thursday’s Calgary Flames – San Jose Sharks game early, you’ll probably be stunned to see that Calgary won 6-5 via a shootout.

    For instance:

    • A Sharks fan may have bitterly called it a night when Calgary went up 4-1.
    • Conversely, a Flames devotee might have retired after San Jose took a 5-4 lead, possibly with a broken remote.

    The Flames only trailed for about two minutes before scoring the last “real” goal of the game, eventually taking their third straight win thanks to a shootout triumph.

    It’s been a strange ride for Calgary, with its most recent win happening after Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma were punished with a healthy scratch. As strange as this game was, the “charity point” can leave both teams looking through a lot of film, yet with something gained as well.

    Ultimately, the message may very well be: don’t sleep on these teams.

    (In less positive news, Karri Ramo is injured, and it doesn’t look good.

    Jonas Hiller closing out the game on a hot streak could be pretty important if Ramo’s out for some time.)