Kukla's Korner Hockey
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has exercised its right to walk away from the arbitrator’s award to Nikolai Zherdev, thereby allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
“With the additions we’ve been able to make this summer, we feel we’ve been able to add scoring and offense from the wing position,” stated Sather. “Following the arbitration process and subsequent award given, we feel it is in our best interest to walk away and continue to explore all available options to improve our roster.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
For any fans thinking that Nikolai Zherdev might be a fit with the Edmonton Oilers because the New York Rangers don’t want him, forget it.
He’s a square peg in a round hole.
While Zherdev might be intriguing on the wing because the Oilers have pulled out of the Dany Heatley trade with the Ottawa Senators, sources say Edmonton Oilers associate coach Tom Renney hasn’t enthusiastically gone to bat for the enigmatic Ukrainian-born forward.
Renney is a players’ coach, but his patience was stretched on Zherdev, a 24-year-old former first-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, when Renney was the Rangers head coach.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Glen Sather is taking all of his allotted 48-hour time period to announce whether he is accepting or renouncing Nikolai Zherdev’s $3.9 million arbitration award.
But when the Rangers general manager makes the call this morning to cut bait, and he will, it won’t be so much the Rangers walking away from Zherdev as the winger successfully having plotted his own path to unrestricted free agency and an exit from New York.
Zherdev could have rejected the Rangers’ $3.25 million qualifier and signed in Russia. Had he done that though, the Blueshirts still would have owned his NHL rights for one more season. He could have accepted the qualifying offer, and become eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.
from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes at Newsday,
That’s the word in hockey circles in Toronto, where rumors bounce up and around in a major media echo chamber. Rangers are not confirming anything, not even whether a decision on whether to sign or reject the right winger’s $3.9-million arbitration award is coming today.
Do the whispers make sense?
Perhaps. Leafs czar Brian Burke needs scoring and has an excess of defensemen. Zherdev can put up 25-plus on the first line. although the press scrutiny will be intense.
Part 2 of an interview with John Tortorella…
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
This is John’s team and he has an obligation to mold it, not only in his image and philosophy but also with the players he believes will best serve the Rangers interests.
Tortorella is emphasizing what the Canadiens called Firewagon Hockey, when Montreal won five-straight Stanley Cups between 1956 and 1960. He wants speed and more speed; along with as much youth as possible. Betts apparently does not fill that bill, admirable as his defensive skills may be.
In a nutshell, Orr has won a ridiculously high and long contract from the Maple Leafs simply because GM Brian Burke is building a behemoth roster. Brashear is a better fighter than Orr and skates faster. There was no way Glen Sather should have paid crazy bucks for Orr nor a long-term deal befitting a Sid Crosby.
As for Tortorella, he was typically candid about each of the trio, showing a sincere appreciation for the contributions of Betts and Orr while explaining the importance of the Brashear import.
“I really liked Bettsy,” said Torts. “He was really good for us on the penalty-kill and on face-offs.”
via Steve Zipay’s Twitter,
Zherdev receives $3.9 million in arbitration
added 3:08pm, The Ranges were offering $3.25M while Zherdev was looking at something between $4-5M.
“The other day I told my wife that I still can’t believe that I’m preparing to run a camp for a team in New York City. I love the people, the building, the pressure of it all. It’s the NEW YORK RANGERS; AN ORIGINAL SIX TEAM IN THE WORLD’S BIGGEST VENUE. For me, coaching this team is a privilege!”
-Rangers coach John Tortorella. Much more on ‘Torts’ from Stan Fishcler of Game On.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The 24-year-old winger, acquired last summer from Columbus in a trade featuring once-untouchable, young defenseman Fedor Tyutin going the other way, was the team’s Art Ross leader with 58 points, with his 23 goals, 35 assists and plus-six rating all second on the club in those respective categories.
From both the statistical viewpoint and CYA analysis, GM Glen Sather would be justified keeping Zherdev, even if he’s awarded $4M. But there is no subjective eyes-on analysis under which Zherdev is worth that investment. His inconsistency was matched only by his indifference.
He barely competed for the puck, rarely went to the front, and hardly ever seemed hungry enough to score that he’d give up his body to drive to the net.
Invisible down the stretch run in which he recorded only two assists in the season’s final seven games while going minus-three, Zherdev disintegrated in the playoffs, going pointless and minus-three in the seven-game defeat to the Caps.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Drury, now the New York Rangers’ captain, has been bugging Martin for more details about the Aug. 8 Home Run Derby that will be part of the upcoming 20th reunion weekend for the 1989 Little League World Series championship team from Trumbull, Conn.
“Chris is very excited,” Martin said. “I think he’s already at the batting cages every day. His work ethic always has been part of his story in the NHL and apparently it doesn’t matter if it’s whiffle ball or Home Run Derby, he catches that same vigor.”
Martin laughed and added, “He’s a nut job. He calls me every day with questions. If anybody’s going to be ready to go, it’s him.”
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
In years gone by, an active summer like this has meant false hopes for fans because big names with big contracts have been coming in, talking about a fresh start and a new era for the Rangers, owned by Cablevision which also owns Newsday.
This time it’s a real fresh start. Over a dozen new faces in five months, and some of them were even cost-effective additions.
The changes may not mean a division title or a trip to the 2010 Stanley Cup finals—in fact, I’ll guarantee they won’t be there in June.
I had wondered a few weeks ago if this would be the summer Sather had learned from his numerous mistakes.
Even by making a ton of moves, the answer is a hesitant yes.
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