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2 марта 2008 года. 
Zherdev seeks some love from Russia // The Columbus Dispatch

By Tom Reed and Aaron Portzline

Blue Jackets right winger Nikolai Zherdev wants to play for a Russian team.

Not in an Alexander Svitov kind of way, mind you.

Svitov left the Jackets in the offseason to return to Russian club hockey. Zherdev only longs for a chance to represent the national team in events such as the world championships and Olympics.

The Russian hockey federation has not selected Zherdev to play internationally since he fled the Central Red Army team in 2003 to join the Blue Jackets, a move that sparked controversy and a court case.

"They have closed the door on Nikolai Zherdev," said his agent, Rollie Hedges. "That's like telling Rick Nash he can't play for Canada."

During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Zherdev made peace by returning to Russia and reuniting with the Central Red Army team, now coached by Vyacheslav Bykov, who's also the current national coach.

Zherdev hopes his breakout season -- he's the Jackets' second-leading scorer with 24 goals and 28 assists -- might win him an invitation to the world championships this spring.

"I would love to play for Russia, but it hasn't happened yet," Zherdev said. "The coach now used to be my coach during the lockout. But he was the coach last (year) and it didn't help me then."

Zherdev was on Russia's gold-medal winning world junior team in 2003 and was supposed to captain the 2004 squad. Instead, he left for the NHL and the Jackets, who picked him No. 4 overall in the 2003 draft.

Russian hockey officials went to an international court seeking Zherdev's return on the grounds of a military conscription. An arbitrator ruled in favor of Zherdev and the Jackets on March 4, 2004.

Hedges said his client was labeled a deserter.

Zherdev has granted few interviews this season because, he said, of the unfavorable media attention he received back home during a tumultuous 2006-07 season.

"Sometimes there are Russian journalists who come to interview me, and I don't want to be interviewed by Russian journalists right now," said Zherdev, a Ukrainian carrying a Russian passport.

"That's the reason. Last year, when it was not a good year for me, the newspapers in Russia were saying that everything was absolutely horrible. Any time something good happens, they don't write about it. Or it's just one line."

Alexander Radulov of the Nashville Predators believes his good friend will be selected this spring to play for Russia.

"If Columbus doesn't make the playoffs … I think the national team will invite him to play," Radulov said. "He has become a better team player, a better defensive player. He uses his teammates more."

Страничка Николая Жердева на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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