I watched in amusement today as the same Championat.ru story I translated this morning about Nikolai Zherdev potentially signing with KHL team Salavat Yulaev Ufa made its way from Russia through the North American press, racing from RDS to TSN like a bad game of telephone until blogs, message boards and Twitter accounts worldwide were chirping “TSN confirms Zherdev to the KHL!”
Unfortunately for New York Rangers fans who were anxious to see the frustrating yet dangerous forward leave the NHL, it turns out that neither the original report from Championat.ru, nor anything written about his departure in the North American press today, is true.
In an interview with Sovietsky Sport, Salavat Yulaev assistant coach Igor Zakharkin emphatically denied the rumor, going one step further to say his club never even considered signing the Ukrainian-born winger. Unaware of the path the original story had taken to reach TSN, he blamed Zherdev’s agent for planting the rumor, calling it a common ploy used by agents to convince NHL teams to sign a player faster.
- Igor Vladimirovich [Zakharkin], the Canadians have already dispatched Zherdev to your team. When do you expect the newcomer?
- Which Canadians?
- TSN – a serious [news] agency…
- Yes, at the suggestion of a player’s agent they jack up his price, so that an NHL club will sign a contract with him a little faster. It’s a known trick in an agent’s arsenal.
- So Zherdev will be on Salavat, or…?
- No. I can tell you responsibly! We didn’t even consider his candidacy. Moreoever, I’ll say that the team’s recruiting has almost been completed.
- Why almost?
- Because we still have two vacancies for foreigners. However, that doesn’t at all mean that we’ll rush out right now to fill them. So consider that the roster is already set.
UPDATE 8:02pm: John Glennon of The Tennessean spoke to Zherdev’s North American agent Rollie Hedges this evening, and Hedges confirmed that Zherdev has not signed anywhere. Glennon also confirmed with Nashville Predators general manager David Poile that he has been in touch with Zherdev’s agent.
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