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Not even nuclear meltdowns are this ugly.

Friday, July 21, 2006

So apparently over the course of the past two days a bomb the size of China obliterated the Long Island region, and something about an employee revolving door, a backup goalie, and "GMs by committee" happened with the New York Islanders.

Being the busy body I am, I had no time at all to touch on this before the dust had settled, since I wanted to join in on the shock and awe of what happened. So instead I'll direct people here, here, and here to see some of the better reactions I've seen concerning the nuclear meltdown on Long Island.

In any event, some important -- but not as dramatic (unless you're a Jackets fan) -- happenings are going on in Columbus, and they all revolve around everyone's favorite Russian (or Soviet since he was born there? Or Ukranian since that's where he'd be from now?).

No, not Anna Kournikova's former boy toy ... the other one! Nikolai Zherdev. As reported at both TSN and The Columbus Dispatch, Zherdev isn't happy with the current deals he has gotten and has threatened to go and play with the Russian Superleague if he doesn't get what he wants. And what does he want?

Why, a three-year deal, of course. Apparently Zherdev is looking for a little security and location stability, and has stressed that he really likes Columbus and would like to stay there (but then again, what player doesn't say they like a city when they're looking for a long-term deal but are being rebuffed?). The problem, in MacLean's opinion, is that he has yet to show any sort of drive or serious attempt to not only build himself up and become stronger through conditioning, but also make a concentrated effort on learning the English language. Interesting since his only teammate that speaks Russian is Federov, so you would assume that he would be making more of an effort than if he had several teammates who spoke his native language, meaning less pressure.

MacLean has said he won't go above two years, but is apparently willing to dole out the cash for those two years anyway, if the "substantially more money" claim about the two-year deal is true.

What bothers me the most about this is MacLean's ho hum attitude:

"I’m not worried about it," Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean said. "We’ll attempt to sign him, but if we don’t, we move on and he goes back to Russia for a year. There’s no doubt we’d like to get him signed, though. We’ll see."

Look, it's obvious that there's still two and a half months before the deadline to sign Zherdev, so it isn't like they're racing the clock in the final minutes of the off-season to sign him. But even so, saying you're not worried is not the smart thing to say when the player that is holding out is supposed to be on one of our top two lines. Like I emphasized in an entry a while ago, the Jackets main problem has been its offense, and there is absolutely no one out there at the moment that I can think of that could be traded for -- or got on the free agent market for that matter -- who would be equal to Zherdev in both output this year, and projected output in the following years due to his young age and room for potential growth.

So to say you're not worried about it ... well, that worries me. Especially the rather disattached "whatever, we'll move on if he doesn't sign with us" attitude. Hardball is a great tactic, but it isn't like the Jackets are in a position to play it, like more successful teams with enough depth to shore up any holes from missing players.
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Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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