Thu May 19 12:13pm EDT
He's an unrestricted free agent this offseason … an offseason that has started with Zherdev getting arrested in Russia for a violent incident with his wife, according to the newspaper MK.
From MK.ru, a non-Google translation of the arrest article:
"After a fight with his spouse, the 27 year old hockey player smashed her car with a metal rod and threatened the woman. As MK [the newspaper] found out, the conflict took place around 12:30 at the "Osteria di camagnia" restaurant on the Rubleve-Uspenskoe highway.
"The star couple had breakfast with a company of friends. Unexpectedly a fight broke out between Nikolai and his wife. The woman decided to leave the building. She went to the parking lot of the restaurant, sat in her Bentley Continental and drove to the roadway. However, in a few meters from the café the car had to stop due to a traffic jam. Then Nikolai jumped out of the doors of "Osteria," he caught up with his spouse and tried to open the doors of the car, although they were locked. According to the witnesses, the athlete took a metal rod from the parking lot (it was not secured) and started hitting the expensive auto, shouting out threats towards his wife. The scared woman was in a hurry to escape, by making a U-turn. On the same day Evgeniya [Zherdev's wife] went to the police.
"As MK were told by the Odintsovo police precinct, the woman informed that her husband threatened her with physical force and, apart from that, caused serious damage to her car. Right now the smashed Bentley is being examined by experts — it is possible that after the examination of the damage, Zherdev will be charged under an article of the Russian Criminal Code 'causing intentional damage to another's property.'
"Apart from that, the police are investigating [his wife's] complaint about the threat of murder. However, in the opinion of the officers of the law, there are not enough grounds to hold the hockey player responsible for this charge, because the athlete apparently doesn't have reasons to wish death to his wife."
Sovietsky Sport, however, interviewed the manager of Osteria di campagnia who disputed the MK report:
"There was nothing remotely similar to what was written on the Internet took place in front of our restaurant. This is such nonsense! I specifically asked the entire personnel, including security guards, but no one saw anything. Besides, we are located on the second floor of the building, there are two beauty salons, a flower store, a bank as our neighbors…"
The death threat angle has gotten the most attention back in North America, obviously. But clearly it's a story with much left to be known.