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Discussion Starter #1
August 21, 2006
Sportsnet.ca

(CP) -- Evgeni Malkin isn't the only big NHL story with a Russian twist these days.

While Malkin has escaped Russia in his bid to hopefully join the Pittsburgh Penguins, talented winger Nikolai Zherdev is threatening instead to play in his mother country this season unless the Columbus Blue Jackets step in contract talks with the 21-year-old restricted free agent.

"The Russian threat doesn't faze me in the least," Jackets GM Doug MacLean said Monday from his Columbus office.

Zherdev has signed a deal with Russian club Khimik Voskresenk and has played with the club for the last few weeks.

"They're in full-fledged pre-season now," his agent Rolland Hedges said from Ottawa.

"Everybody thinks that we're using the Russian contract as a bluff or leverage, but we're not," added Hedges. "The player is quite adamant that he's prepared to play there, and he's been doing it for some eight weeks."

The Russian deal includes an out clause if Zherdev can agree to terms with Columbus before Oct. 5, the day before the Jackets' regular-season opener. But the Jackets want this revolved much before then.

"Our deadline is what needs to be done immigration-wise in time for Day 1 of our training camp (Sept. 14) because he's not going to be a distraction to our team," said MacLean. "So my deadline is looming fairly soon."

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 US salary he earned last season. The Jackets, it's believed, have offered two deals: more than $1.1 million for a one-year contract and in excess of $3.5 million over two years. It's still 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. "My player is prepared to sit it out for a year. He can make a lot more money in Russia. The problem is that he'd rather play in the NHL. So it's frustrating for him right now."

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," said MacLean. "Now he's saying he wants to go back? That catches me a little off-guard. ...

"What we went through to get him out of there and now there's a threat to stay there? Good grief. It's unbelievable."

Zherdev is among a number of high-profile restricted free agents that remain without new deals, joining the likes of Joffrey Lupul in Edmonton, Ilja Bryzgalov in Anaheim, Kari Lehtonen in Atlanta, Patrice Bergeron in Boston, Ryan Miller in Buffalo, Tuomo Ruutu in Chicago, Marek Svatos in Colorado, Dan Hamhuis in Nashville, Brian Gionta in New Jersey, Rick DiPietro on Long Island and Simon Gagne in Philadelphia.

"What we have is no different that what other teams are going through, like Lupul, Ruutu," said MacLean. "I'm negotiating off NHL comparables, I'm not negotiating off a Russian threat.

"I've got a one-year deal on the table and I've got a two-year deal on the table," added MacLean. "That's where we are. We'll probably talk in the next couple of days."

Said Hedges: "We're as frustrated as Doug is. He has a line to walk and so do we."
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Zherdev still staring down Blue Jackets

Canadian Press
8/21/2006 5:42:43 PM

Evgeni Malkin isn't the only big NHL story with a Russian twist these days.

While Malkin has escaped Russia in his bid to hopefully join the Pittsburgh Penguins, talented winger Nikolai Zherdev is threatening instead to play in Russia this season unless the Columbus Blue Jackets step in contract talks with the 21-year-old restricted free agent.

"The Russian threat doesn't faze me in the least," Jackets GM Doug MacLean said Monday from his Columbus office.

Zherdev has signed a deal with Russian club Khimik Voskresenk and has played with the club for the last few weeks.

"They're in full-fledged pre-season now," his agent Rolland Hedges said from Ottawa.

"Everybody thinks that we're using the Russian contract as a bluff or leverage, but we're not," added Hedges. "The player is quite adamant that he's prepared to play there, and he's been doing it for some eight weeks."

The Russian deal includes an out clause if Zherdev can agree to terms with Columbus before Oct. 5, the day before the Jackets' regular-season opener. But the Jackets want this revolved much before then.

"Our deadline is what needs to be done immigration-wise in time for Day 1 of our training camp (Sept. 14) because he's not going to be a distraction to our team," said MacLean. "So my deadline is looming fairly soon."

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 US salary he earned last season. The Jackets, it's believed, have offered two deals: more than $1.1 million for a one-year contract and in excess of $3.5 million over two years. It's still 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. "My player is prepared to sit it out for a year. He can make a lot more money in Russia. The problem is that he'd rather play in the NHL. So it's frustrating for him right now."

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," said MacLean. "Now he's saying he wants to go back? That catches me a little off-guard. ...

"What we went through to get him out of there and now there's a threat to stay there? Good grief. It's unbelievable."

Zherdev is among a number of high-profile restricted free agents that remain without new deals, joining the likes of Joffrey Lupul in Edmonton, Ilja Bryzgalov in Anaheim, Kari Lehtonen in Atlanta, Patrice Bergeron in Boston, Ryan Miller in Buffalo, Tuomo Ruutu in Chicago, Marek Svatos in Colorado, Dan Hamhuis in Nashville, Brian Gionta in New Jersey, Rick DiPietro on Long Island and Simon Gagne in Philadelphia.

"What we have is no different that what other teams are going through, like Lupul, Ruutu," said MacLean. "I'm negotiating off NHL comparables, I'm not negotiating off a Russian threat.

"I've got a one-year deal on the table and I've got a two-year deal on the table," added MacLean. "That's where we are. We'll probably talk in the next couple of days."

Said Hedges: "We're as frustrated as Doug is. He has a line to walk and so do we."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
TSN.ca Staff
8/31/2006 12:12:15 PM

The chances Nikolai Zherdev will be playing in Columbus this season are dwindling.

Agent Rolland Hedges says he's not optimistic the two sides can get a deal done before October 6, adding no discussions are planned.

If Zherdev doesn't sign with the Blue Jackets before October 6, he will play this season for Russian club Khimik Voskresenk - something that general manager Doug MacLean appears to be resigned to happening.

"We haven't even had a number from them lately," MacLean tells the Columbus Dispatch. "I know my number, and it's a fair offer."

The Blue Jackets have reportedly offered Zherdev a two year deal worth almost $3.8-million after pulling a one year, $1.25-million deal off the table.

"We declined that (offer) many weeks ago," says Hedges. "It's frustrating for everyone involved. We just thought there would have been more in the way of meaningful discussions by this point. ... It's always, 'This is what we're prepared to do, take it or leave it.' "

MacLean says while he has an eye on the free agent market, he'll wait to see what the outcome of the Zherdev situation is before making his next move.

Zherdev, the fourth player taken overall in 2003, finished second in team scoring last season with 27 goals and 54 points.
 

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They really have to get him back intot eh swing of things in Columbus..they can't afford to lose a guy with such skill and promise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
bman said:
They really have to get him back intot eh swing of things in Columbus..they can't afford to lose a guy with such skill and promise.
No kidding!! Boy, a lot of players are really holding out this year!! :thumbsdow
 
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