So why didn’t Nikolai Zherdev come out when he was named the game’s second star last night?
It was not a communication issue, as some have speculated. Instead, it was a case of the young wing deciding he didn’t deserve the recognition after a game in which he was benched, and so he decided not to come out.
Maybe that was fairly short-sighted, but it does underscore the many problems with the three star voting, which I’ve lamented in this space before.
The basic gist: as writers, we are given the three star ballots early in the third period, and are usually asked for them back with around seven minutes to play. That’s sometimes OK, but when the score is tied at 1-1 and it’s obvious that the real star of the game has yet to present himself, many of us, myself included, simply write “GWG” for game-winning goal.
Again, most nights that’s not a problem, but it is when there is no real game-winning goal scorer and instead only a guy who scored the only goal in the shootout. And it gets even more complicated when the guy who scored that goal is a guy who had an otherwise uninspired game and was benched for several minutes in the third period.
Long story short: given the time to really think about it, most voters wouldn’t have voted for Zherdev. The player sensed that, and decided not to come out.
Again, maybe that’s short-sighted. But at least he had a reason.
No skating at all today for Scott Gomez. He is definitely out for tomorrow’s game against the Canucks, and unless he can get back on the ice in the next day or two, Saturday in Ottawa is unlikely as well.
“He’d have to get a couple of skates in now, there’s no question,” Tom Renney said.
As for the Canucks, the spotlight now turns to Markus Naslund, who spent the previous 12 seasons in Vancouver.
“I envisioned myself retiring as a Canuck, but things happen,” Naslund said. “More and more as I was uncertain about the future at the end of last year, it was more likely that I was not going to be there. But this situation presented itself and it was an easy choice.”
As with Redden, the transition to New York for Naslund is jarring when considering just how much less attention he receives. There are demands from media and fans just as there was in Vancouver. But it’s still different from being the captain of the only hockey team in a hockey-mad city.
“It’s a big difference, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s been relaxing in many ways. Coming to the rink is the same. You’ve got a full house that’s going to be loud and excited. That’s no different. But outside of hockey you don’t get recognized as much, which is kind of nice.”