directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Columbus forked over 650k to get Zherdev out of Russia

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Columbus forked over 650k to get Zherdev out of Russia

That is just one of the nuggets our good ole buddy Doug Maclean shared about Nikky Z on The Fan 590 out of Toronto today.

Some others:

* MacLean ordered his staff to take down a picture of Todd Marchant and throw it out during the lockout. If you recall Marchant was a PA mouthpiece and was running his mouth pretty good at the time.

* Zherdev is the most talented guy with the puck he's ever seen.

* Brought in Sergei Fedorov to help mentor Z. One month into it Fedorov told Maclean the kid wouldn't listen to a thing he had to say.

* Fedorov is the best Russian to ever play the game.

* Ken Holland (Wings GM) said you never sink alot of money into defending defensemen. You sink it into defensemen who can put up points. That was in response to Maclean being asked about Burke's makeover of the Leafs and the signings of Komisarek and Beauchemin.

* Says he should have put more weight into Z's response to a draft interview question in which Maclean and co. asked him what kind of car he drove. His response was a Mercedes. He was 17 at the time.

* Said the Z stuff help lead to him getting fired.

You can listen to the entire thing here.

I think there is a quite a bit of revisionist history (i.e. BS) in a lot of Maclean's comments but still an entertaining listen none the less.

Thanks to Lori Schmidt's twitter for the heads up on this interview. If you have twitter definitely follow Lori - she shares a lot of local sports info throughout the day including quite a bit of hockey.



Max said...

Hey LTL, just to recap, what does this mean? "One month into it Fedorov told MacLean the kid one listen to a thing he has to day."

Maclean is full of himself. All his bad contracts is what got him fired. Glad no one else has gambled on him.

eplagge said...

He wouldn't listen to a thing Fedorov had to say...

the Jester said...

I love to Fedorov comment. And I especially love Dougie-bashing!!

eplagge said...

Just listened to it... very interesting... Doug basically admitted that he thinks (an I agree).. that Zherdev's skillset was something really unique... skill wise Z's hands are amazing... but he has absolutely no love/heart for the game...

LTL said...


That just means I typed way too fast and didn't proof read :)

I'll correct it but eplagge diciphered it properly for me!


Stephen said...

Doug should have traded Z after Federov confirmed Z's attitude.

snappy said...

Here's an interesting question for you bloggers to ponder now during the "slow season". Do you think, given the same circumstances THEN (no 20/20 hindsight here) that Howson would have selected zherdev? Do you think SH would have seen through Z's skill and have been very concerned about his attitude and work ethic? Howson seems to be a very good judge of character based on his hiring pattern as the CBJ GM. I would be interested in your comments, bloggers.

JAL said...

I think the question of what Howson would have done or not done is a tough one. Remember that Jim Clark was the one primarily involved in getting Z over here. Now, to what extent Dougie Mac pushed him in the back, we will never know.

Keep in mind that the behavior we saw here may not have been as evident when we were scouting him. Kids (and he was a kid) behave differently at home than they do away from home. While he was undoubtedly a bit full of himself, that is hardly a unique characteristic for a young hockey star being courted by every professional league in the world. So it would be really hard to say that we could have foreseen the problems.

I will say this -- I think Howson would have downplayed the whole thing until it was a done deal, and would have done a lot more homework up front. If that satisfied him, I think he would have pulled the trigger. I'm not convinced, however, that Doug & Crew did all of their homework.

A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

Hard to judge but if you look at the up front work put in on Nikita Filatov you'd think Howson and co. would have done their homework on Z.

Now of course Filatov is still a work in progress and things could eventually turn sour but two things we do know about him that differentiates him from Z:

1. He already knew English which showed a different level of commitment from the get go.

2. He lived up to his verbal promises that A. he wasn't under contract to anyone and B. that he was willing to come to North America and play in major junior or the AHL.

We've all also heard the rumblings that Maclean made the final choice on Zherdev instead of taking Don Boyd's recommendation of Dion Phaneuf.

How much truth there is to that I don't know.

My personal opinion is that if Howson were in charge for that draft Zherdev never sniffs the union blue. I just think he would have set off too many red flags for Howson's comfort level for what many consider one of the best drafts of all time.


snappy said...

Good points all, JAL and LTL.

It certainly is unfair to second guess decisions made by others when one has several years of information not available at the time. Zherdev might also have overshadowed Nash if .... (Geez, it was hard to write that!!) Listening to Doug's radio podcast a couple of times, it is evident that DM liked Z's skill set a lot and still likes the guy but laments Nikky's lack of "love" for the game. Making personnel decisions isn't easy. Now what's with this changing the locks on Z's apartment seven times!!?? Maybe Nik was too distracted to play hockey to his full potential here! Thanks, guys for your comments. Still fun to muse......

eplagge said...

Howsen would have appreciated his skillset BUT.. he would have seen the red flags and would probably have been very cautious.. I could see Howsen drafting a player who might have 5% less skill but a lot better character.. If the next guy in line was significantly less skilled he would have drafted Z...

viqsi said...

The "next guy in line" - at least in draft order - was Thomas Vanek. I wouldn't call him less skilled.