New York Rangers forward Nikolai Zherdev’s first ever World Championship has come to an early end. According to the official site of the Russian Hockey Federation, the right winger has been ruled out of Team Russia’s remaining two games after suffering what is rumored to be a broken hand. Zherdev sustained the injury to his left hand in his first game of the tournament, last Saturday’s qualification round match-up against the USA. The 24-year old forward played two more games for his country, earning a single assist and finishing a +2, but has been unable to participate fully in practices since that first game and and has been frequently spotted away from the rink with his hand wrapped in a bag of ice.
Both of Friday’s semifinal matches are meant to be broadcast live (to USA viewers only) on the Universal Sports web site. Russia faces the USA beginning at 10:15AM EDT, while Canada will meet Sweden at 2:15PM EDT. The games will be shown on tape delay on Universal Sports (TV) at 6PM and 9PM respectively.
UPDATE 05/08/09 7:23AM: In an interview with Gazeta.ru, Zherdev has confirmed that his hand is indeed broken. “I have a broken bone in my left hand,” he told them. “I’m very upset – I very much wanted to finish the championship. Now I’ll support the guys.” According to Zherdev, the injury was sustained during his first game in Bern, on his second shift, and will require two weeks to heal.
UPDATE 2: The full translated text of the interview is below. More from Zherdev on the injury is available here.
“I have a broken bone in my left hand. I’m very upset,” Nikolai told a Gazeta.ru correspondent. “I very much wanted to finish the championship. Now Iâ€™ll support the guys.”
- You’ll remain with the team?
- Do you remember the moment when you suffered the injury?
- Yes. In the first match, on the second shift. It’s very disappointing.
- The game against the Americans is next. What do you think about this contest?
- We don’t need to change anything in our game and simply must play the way we did in the first game.
- What have the doctors said? How long will your recovery take?
- Two weeks.
- Let’s return to the NHL. How would you evaluate the past season?
- I think this season wasn’t bad.
- The struggle for a place in the playoffs was serious. How did your team manage to win eighth place?
- We began the season very well, collected points. Then we relaxed a little, our game began to slump. Then there were hard, difficult games. But we won important victories and managed to make the playoffs.
- Did the coach counsel you in any way before the trip to the World Championship?
- No. He simply said – ‘until next season’.
- Why weren’t the Rangers able to beat Washington in the playoffs?
- I don’t know, it’s difficult to answer that. It seems to me, that we simply couldn’t score when we needed to.
- And Varlamov’s play didn’t allow it…
- Yes, in the games against us he played simply marvelously.
- Your contract with the Rangers has ended, is there any news concerning a new contract?
- For the time being, I’m here, at the World Championship. I’m on the national team. When the tournament is over, then it will be possible to think about the contract. Now’s not the time for that.
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