While he won’t be in the line-up, New York Rangers forward Nikolai Zherdev will have a chance to earn his first World Championship gold medal on Sunday afternoon when the defending champs from Russia face their perennial rivals from Canada in the finals of the 2009 IIHF World Championship. Zherdev, who played three games with what he thought was a bruised hand before x-rays revealed a broken bone, talked about the injury with Alyona Shilova of Championat.ru on Friday morning, hours after the diagnosis ruled him out of the tournament’s remaining games. Their conversation is translated below.
The gold medal game will be broadcast live in the United States on Universal Sports (both on TV and online) beginning at 2:30pm EDT. The bronze medal game between Team USA and Sweden will be shown live online at 10:30am EDT and on tape delay on TV at 6:00pm EDT.
- The World Championship has already ended for you, before it even began…
- Yes, it has. It’s all right, it happens. It’s a pity, of course, that it turned out like this. But there’s nothing you can do.
- The final diagnosis became known only yesterday?
- Yes. Before that I didn’t go for an x-ray. I thought that I could play somehow. But yesterday I decided that it was necessary. It simply became much worse. I got worried. I decided to go and have an x-ray. It turns out that there’s a fracture.
- Was your hand swollen like this yesterday?
- It was still swollen from the first game. Most likely, I broke it on my second shift. The puck got me right there. [It was] a snapshot to the hand.
- And there was no pain after that?
- Of course there was. Immediately after getting hit it hurt. In the first game it was still OK, only at the end did it start to hurt badly, but they anesthetized it and it was OK. And then I played the following match with a [painkilling] shot, and the third too with a shot. The hand became worse and worse.
- And the team doctors didn’t know about it? No one had the idea to take x-rays right away?
- I didn’t want that. I thought that I could still play, that I could hold on till the end (smiles).
- Danis Zaripov said that he was ready to play with an injury, you played…
- Such a situation is normal. I think in some way I have helped the team. Now we’ll be their fans.
- It turns out that because of the injury you weren’t able to play to your strengths?
- Of course. I couldn’t shoot. I couldn’t make plays one on one. I did what I could. What I could, I did. I provided puck support, skated hard. It’s such a pity. It’s not why I came here at all. It’s not why they invited me here at all…
- This is your first World Championship. Do you feel it was at least somewhat successful?
- Yes. It’s been interesting. I hope that next time everything will be different.
- How long will your recovery take?
- Somewhere around three weeks.
- And have you resolved anything with respect to a contract for next season?
- No. We’ll talk when the World Championship ends. [While I'm] here I’ve turned my phone off (laughs).
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