During his career, Nikolay Zherdev has been called enigmatic, because he's Ukrainian-Russian. But also because he shows flashes of offensive brilliance but could never put together a star-making season in the NHL. But mostly because he's Ukrainian-Russian.
Here's an example of Zherdev's capabilities, in Atlant's 5-2 win over Spartak in the KHL on Tuesday. It's rather sick, and could be in the Goal of the Year* race for 2012-13.
The former Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers winger steals the puck, turns on the jets, dekes around defenseman Jakub Nakladal with a between-the-legs move and then beats former Carolina Hurricanes goalie Mike Murphy on the backhand. Naaaaaasssssty.
It's a terrific goal by Zherdev and a welcomed change from the last time we featured him here, getting a stick to the crotch and then elbow dropped. Such is the KHL.
* Do we need to mark such honors with an asterisk if the NHL loses a season to a work stoppage, or is that an entirely too nationalistic view of the hockey world?
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