directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: More on Nash & Zherdev from 1460 The Fan

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More on Nash & Zherdev from 1460 The Fan

As mentioned in a previous post Nash had an interview this evening on 1460 The Fan ( - below are some of the excerpts from that interview:

Hooley: Hitchcock saying he'll play Z at center and wonders why:
Plays a Hitch soundbite from earlier where he answers that question: Unique thing about Z and Vybes...they are not big players...but very effective at lugging the puck through the middle of the ice and making plays.

Hooley starts replay of interview from this morning with Nash.

Hooley: What do you think about playing with Z at center?
Nash: Hadn't heard about Z at center... Hitch is professional..he's won at every level...I have a 100% trust in coach.

Hooley: I'm not expert in hockey but everything that I've seen and heard is that Z is basically a puck hog...isn't a center supposed to primarily dish the puck and score some as well?
Nash: Yep, that's the basic definition of a centerman. Said times when Z has set him up when I failed to score. Matter of Z buying into what Hitch is trying teach him. If we get the 3 of us at the top of our games we could be a very solid line.

Hooley: Hitch analyzed video said Z was in the center of the ice a lot with puck. Hitch said that he had set up you alot.
Nash: Its a matter of Z buying in and trusting myself and Vybes and moving it.

Hooley: What's the vybe around the club?
Nash: Everythings good...excited to get things started tomorrow.

Hooley: There was a story about you in the paper about conditioning and leadership. How do feel about the rigors of the season and being in shape?
Nash: I came into the league at 18 and didn't understand how to train my body. Now I understand after being around how to train my body to make it through a 7 month season. Everyone now trains through the summer to get that extra step.

Hooley: What do you do in the offseason? How do you train?
Nash: Its a bit different than football players. Olympic training, name we do it...and then go out on the ice afterwards.

Hooley: Core strength is huge in hockey right? Got a six pack coming into cap?
Nash: (laughs) Got a 4 pack working on 6. Core injuries are a big injury in hockey. Hip flexors, etc.

Hooley: How do you go into camp knowing it will by physical but need to stay injury free?
Nash: Difference between physical camp and a smart camp. Here to get into hockey shape. We'll get the rundown at the meeting tonight from the management and coaches. You certainly don't want to get injured in camp when it could be avoidable.

Hooley: To early to be playing a exhibition game?
Nash: I think its early considering we play two games into it. Not sure how its gonna be Sunday but my initial feeling is its a bit early.

Hooley: How do you answer people when they ask if the Jackets are gonna make the playoffs? With MacLean out of the picture it seems to be a regrouping of the club.
Nash: Last two years we've been telling people we are gonna make it and looking ahead of ourselves. I think it something we need to take game by game, day by day, period by period....We appreciate the fans and they are behind us but we need to look short term and go from there. Atlanta Thrashers were never picked and they just made it.

So there you have it. Obviously the big topic of the day is the trial of Zherdev at center. Its was obvious, at least to me, that Nash is surprised with the move but has put his trust in Hitch.
The way I see it, what better place to try this stuff than in exibition? We are weak down the middle, that's no secret, so lets experiment a little bit the first game or two and see if anything clicks. At the end of the day if it doesn't work we aren't out anything as there are 7 more exibition games to look for more chemistry.

Regardless, this will be a fun story to follow at the first game on Sunday and I'll be there to let you know how it unfolds.

TSN now picking up the Zherdev at center story:

''We're going to experiment with a line for the first week to 10 days of training camp that no one's seen before,'' Ken Hitchcock said Thursday, on the eve of his first full season as the Blue Jackets coach. ''It's not going to be cast in stone, but we've talked to the three players involved and we want to see how this looks on the ice.''

This is stunning news in hockey circles. MacLean continually denigrated Zherdev, intimating that the young, fast offensive star was selfish, one-dimensional and not a good teammate.

Now Hitchcock, along with Scott Howson, who took over as GM when MacLean was fired after last season, are putting Zherdev in the heart of the lineup.

Read more here.


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