directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: TSN's Bob McKenzie weights on Zherdev...and Boll, Russell and Mason!

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Monday, October 1, 2007

TSN's Bob McKenzie weights on Zherdev...and Boll, Russell and Mason!

First he weighs in on Nikolai Zherdev's trade value:

For all the talk about the possibility of Nikolai Zherdev (pictured left) getting traded, the real question is, who would want him? I am not saying Zherdev is beyond hope but we are talking about a player who was despised by his teammates last season. The good news, so far, is that Zherdev has been working hard off the ice to be a better teammate and it's been duly noted his off-ice demeanor has been better than it was. Now, the bad news. Zherdev has played very poorly on the ice, although he was a bit better in his last couple of outings. The truth is, there is no market for this guy right now. That's not to say that won't change but the Blue Jackets are not aggressively shopping Zherdev right now because there's no market and they know it.

....and then turns his attention to Boll, Russell and Mason:

Jared Boll is going to be an interesting rookie to keep an eye this season. The Plymouth Whaler grad is a fourth-line left winger who fulfills the role of energy player and tough guy. He's not a heavyweight per se, but he has a good attitude, works hard and has an innate understanding of when his team needs him to do something to create a spark or generate momentum, like when he leveled Carolina Rod Brind'Amour with a hit on the weekend. Count on Boll to be in the middle of everything for Columbus this season and to quickly generate a reputation as an unpopular player with everyone in the league but his teammates…

Kris Russell has made the grade on the Blue Jacket blueline. He dominated for them early – he was arguably their best defenceman early in camp - but in the last couple of pre-season games, the going became a little more difficult for the diminutive puck mover with outstanding hockey sense. He will play for them, but it remains to be seen whether he'll find his time and space limited as the level of the games goes up…

Underage goalie Steve Mason will spend at least another week or two with the Jackets before a decision is made on whether to send him back to London of the OHL. Mason excelled in camp - a 1.78 GAA and .913 save percentage in three games played (135 minutes) – and because the veteran goalies (Fredrik Norrena and Pascal Leclaire) are coming off injuries and inconsistency, Mason is being kept around as insurance and to get a better read on his pro ability. It would be a surprise if Mason isn't sent back to London within the month, but that will be determined by the play of all three Columbus goalies.

Tell ya what, not much in this league gets past Bob McKenzie (pictured right) - even for a team way under the rador in the Jackets. He is by far one of my favorite hockey journalist out there. A true master of his craft.

I will say though that I somewhat disagree with his assesment of Zherdev. A few teams get off to a slow start and have difficulty finding the net may get a little desperate and come knocking on the Jackets' door with a good offer for #13.

GM's are a largely egotistical bunch and a lot think "I can turn him around".

Can read more from McKenzie's blog here.



jeff e. said...

Wow! It sounds like he actually did some research on the Jackets rather than the usual, generic drivel that's written about the team.

Skraut said...

I actually find Doug McKenzie funnier...