RDS.ca is reporting that E.nigmatic T.alent Nik Zherdev will join Alex Radulov and Alex Perezhogin on the Yulaev Salavat Ufa team of the KHL after no NHL team would meet his expensive price tag.
It is clear that Zherdev was never completely comfortable with North American life or the NHL style of play, despite his tremendous talent.
While it is sad to see a player with such potential and upside leave to go home, this is an on-going trend that will drastically impact the NHL down the road.
As we have seen with Russian players such as Radulov and Perezhogin, the KHL is offering big money and the natural allure of playing at home which is enough to keep many European players from the NHL.
It is reminiscent of the Cold War days when Russian players were not allowed to leave Russia to play in the NHL. One famous case being goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, who despite being a national icon was not issued a release to go play in the NHL.
The result? A more North American style in the NHL.
And is this the worst thing? While the speed, creativity, and offensive glamour of the European game is fun to watch, the NHL was bred on hard nosed players that checked fiercely and used their sticks for scoring and intimidation, not hooking.
North America has also had their share of glitz and gloss with the likes of Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux producing timeless highlight-reel goals. So offense should not suffer from any impending loss of European talent as long as players such as John Tavares and Sidney Crosby continue to emerge.
It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out particularly on stud players like Alex Ovechkin (could he be lured away from the NHL?).
Nonetheless, goodbye to Zherdev who left Broadway scratching their heads both because of of his phenomenal hands and distaste for consistent work ethic.
Most remember the fiery winger Theo Fleury whose demons cut his time on Broadway shorter than his major contract had intended.
At 41 years old and several seasons removed from the NHL, he has decided to attempt a comeback and salvage his reputation. TSN has been following the story.
Some of my favorite Fleury memories revolve around the F-L-Y line with Eric Lindros and Mike York, both of whom have seemingly moved on from the NHL one way or another.
Fleury, clean of substance abuse for the past couple years, has said all of the right things, but it remains to be seen whether he will be given a chance at an NHL training camp.
However, if Claude Lemiuex can do it, Fleury may be able to get a shot as well.
With GM Glen Sather's soft spot for troubled players being given a second chance, I wouldn't rule out a Fleury return to Broadway, though I would think that for his own personal health he is better off in a smaller venue and less tempting city.