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07-11-2008, 12:05 PM
  #74
NYR Sting
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I suspect Brighton will be able to fill Zherdev's cultural needs as it does for most Russian players, so as long as the Rangers pony up the cash, I think he'll stay here. The team's financial status and ability to attract other good players should help, too. This is all assuming that he works out to begin with.

But yeah, I expect him to stay here.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn and have lived here my entire life but my parents are both immigrants from Soviet Ukraine. Many of my friends and relatives live on Brighton Beach, and while I myself am VERY Americanized, I am also very familiar with Russian culture.

If they come to play in North America, Russian players all want to play and live in NYC. I've met quite a few, simply by chance, on Brighton, and they all say the same thing.

If they play in the NHL they usually prefer to play in a city with a large Russian population, and if not that, then a cosmopolitan city or one with a European flavor (such as Montreal). They're not exactly interested in playing in Columbus or Nashville. The Rangers, Devils, Islanders, Panthers, Leafs and Habs are basically the teams that Russian guys want to play for most.

Maybe as guys get older and mature more, and get acclimated to North American life, as well as North Americans, they change their tune (Sergei Zubov, who almost bolted when the Pens traded him to the Stars). Playing for a good team also helps. Just look at Gonchar in Pittsburgh.

I think nationalism, specifically the renewed effort by the Russian government to develop nationalism, is having an effect, too. That;s why you might see more and more young guys do this as opposed to just old guys who can't get good deals in the NHL anymore.

Hopefully Zherdev doesn't apply.

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