by Patrick Hoffman on 09/21/08 at 03:20 PM ET
I know that the regular season hasn’t even started yet but it’s a little bit disheartening to read negative reports coming out of training camp on new Rangers’ acquisition Nikolai Zherdev.
Sam Weinman of The Journal News reported that a Zherdev giveaway at Friday’s practice led to an opposing team goal and that he pretty much comes as advertised: a talented forward who is trying to do too much.
Larry Brooks of The New York Post also took his turn on reporting on Zherdev’s disappointing training camp session reporting that Zherdev stood out in Thursday’s practice for all the wrong reasons as he didn’t play with any kind of urgency, took short cuts during the morning scrimmage and had trouble moving the puck with any kind of purpose.
Rangers’ management better hope that this is Zherdev just trying to fit in with a new team because if this is the same Zherdev coming from Columbus, the one who is known to take nights off, the Blueshirts could be in trouble.
With this report, I’m reminded of a few former Rangers who were like this: Alexei Kovalev and Pavel Brendl. When Kovalev first started out with the Rangers in the 1992-93 season, he had all the skills needed to succeed in the NHL: size, speed and great hands. However, Alex sometimes tried to do too much with the puck, didn’t always skate back on defense and took a lot of lazy penalties.
Brendl was a whole different story and his problems were exposed in his first day of training camp. He didn’t come to camp in shape, he was selfish with the puck and it ultimately led the Rangers to trade him in August of 2001 for Eric Lindros (remember him?).
Zherdev needs to come to his senses and realize that being lazy won’t cut it in the Big Apple. New Yorkers know when their players are giving them everything they’ve got and they know when they’re being cheated.
Hopefully, Zherdev will figure out what it means to be a New York Ranger and that he must begin to hustle, play with purpose and pride every single day until the season is over.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.