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07-11-2008, 09:33 AM
  #76
Nordique
I ain't even mad
 
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ohio
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I wanted to add this lengthy statement by Ken Hitchcock about Nik Zherdev to the mix. This imo is a great summary of Zherdev's character and game. A little background, prior to last season, Nik was perceived as a selfish, no cooperative player....whether true or not, he was not part of the team until last season and thats where this quote picks up.


Quote:

"'He's connected to the group,' said Hitchcock. 'He's starting to enjoy the elements of hockey that we as North Americans take for granted -- team first, value in being a teammate, enjoying other peoples' company and playing for the crest.'

'If you're not a good teammate, in the heat of battle it always comes out,' added Hitchcock. 'And it did with Niky. It came out the wrong way and now he's starting to dig in for other people and not just for himself. He's an interesting guy.'

'He's kind of a reluctant scorer and it almost embarrasses him at times," said Hitchcock.' He fools around in shootouts and then when you put five bucks on the line, he goes 4-for-5.

'He's a gifted guy, but he doesn't think like a scorer. He thinks like a playmaker and that's the misnomer that people have about him. They think because he got 27 goals one year (2005-06) that he's a scorer. He can score, but he thinks like a playmaker.

'I would say he'll be -- within a year, if he keeps going -- an elite guy and top-25 forward in the league, for sure,' said Hitchcock" (Hitchcock, January 2008).
.

So there ya go. If you can integrate him into the team, make him feel engaged and connected, you've got a bonified elite player imo.

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