While Ilya Bryzgalov had his own issues with potentially playing in Winnipeg before he landed in Philadelphia, one Russian player looking for work isn’t nearly as opposed to the Canadian city in the plains.
Nikolay Zherdev is one of the few players hanging around in free agency with the capability to add some productive offense to a team in need, and while he sits in free agency hoping to land a job with another NHL team, rather than head back to the KHL in Russia, potential landing spots for Zherdev are apparently few and far between. After all, with a history of struggling to mesh with his three previous NHL teams in Columbus, New York, and Philadelphia people start to wonder what’s up.
The guys at Broad Street Hockey were able to speak with Zherdev about where he’d like to end up and the offensively challenged Winnipeg Jets are a team he wouldn’t be outright opposed to joining.
Right now it sounds like the Winnipeg Jets and Atlant of the KHL are the two most likely options for Zherdev. Some free agents are said to be avoiding Winnipeg because of the cold weather there in the winter. Zherdev says it wouldn’t be a problem for him.
“The weather is not a priority to me. The most important thing is to get a good role on the team, a good coach and a good contract. Everything related to climate and geography doesn’t basically mean anything.”
“I met with Vityaz GM Alexei Zhamnov a little while ago, he played three years in Winnipeg. He said it’s very cold and a lot of snow there in the winter, which just makes it an ideal place for hockey. Great!”
“Manitoba doesn’t scare me. I wasn’t born in Africa afterall.”
Many a man has said that winter in Manitoba doesn’t scare them only to find themselves frozen while hanging on Portage & Main Street downtown while the winds tear at their soul.
All right so that hasn’t happened either and with Zherdev being from Russia, complaining about the cold and winter would seem a bit odd. Yes, it was odd when Bryzgalov did so too but at least he’d spent his entire NHL career in southern California and Arizona. You can get a bit spoiled that way.
The important take away from what Zherdev says is that he’ll take a job anywhere as long as the situation and the money are right. Finding both of those out on the market now might prove to be difficult for him. As mentioned, he’s found a way to frustrate coaches in three different NHL cities from Ken Hitchcock in Columbus to both Tom Renney and John Tortorella with the Rangers to Peter Laviolette in Philly. With three Stanley Cup winning coaches in the mix there, that’s a tough legacy to break.
For Zherdev, he might be one guy that can’t be too picky about who has interest in him, if there’s anyone at all.