Nikolay Zherdev says he's fitting in on the Flyers better and better.
"I'm getting my rhythm back in general. I also have a better understanding of what they want from me."
"I need to go to the net more. It's not just about shooting more. It's about going to the net, literally."
Zherdev might still have some adjusting to do, but he says he actually had a harder time adjusting to the KHL last year.
"Hockey was quite different. I've lost the way to play the game in Europe. It's more about certain situations that are crucial there. You beat one player and you're wide open. And the game is more tactical there, it's necessary to play defense. I prefer faster hockey."Zherdev says he had to switch Nikolai to Nikolay in order to get a paycheck.
"There was just something wrong with the passport. I had trouble getting my paycheck because it was not assigned to the name I have in the passport. I don't know why was that, but the president of the organization told me that now everything is written the way I have it in my passport."
This season is not the first time Zherdev is wearing #93.
"When I was still playing for CSKA I asked to get #13, but another player had it, so they gave me #93. I don't know why that one, but it was simply outstanding. I wore #13 in the NHL, but here in Philadelphia it belongs to Carcillo. So I took #93 again."
Zherdev openly agrees with coach Peter Laviolette in that he needs to deserve his ice time.
"We both said that. And that it's necessary to work harder."
"Oh well. I sat two games and then everything's gone fine."
Zherdev isn't sure if it was lack of work that put him out of the lineup.
"I don't know. But they explained to me that we must be smart and get rid of the puck quicker and go to the net more. And not in the sense that we're just shoving the puck there, but often simply just beat opponents in foot races and create good scoring chances."
"Of course I wanted to play, but that's in the past now. You can be in fast and out fast, right?"
Zherdev has only one goal set for this season.
"Win the Stanley Cup."
On a personal level, he needs to have a spot in the lineup to achieve anything.
"That's something you deserve."
"And goals. I could have more of them."
Zherdev doesn't think this season is his last chance to become the caliber of an NHL player he was once projected to be when he was picked fourth overall in the 2003 draft.
"Why would it be the last chance?"
Those projections aren't too old either if you ask Zherdev.
"Well, let's not call it ancient history."
"For a long time I played for a team that performed poorly. Nothing can be done about what happened."
"Work is necessary, but we'll see what happens."
Some people have already judged Zherdev as a flop based on the benchings and limited ice time, but Zherdev doesn't want to exaggerate his slow start.
"I wasn't stuck in the press box. I missed only two games. And we had some tough games where we took a lot of penalties, so it meant less ice time for me."
"Now it's been easier for me when we haven't taken so many penalties and the goals are coming."
"And well, it is my job to score goals. I just have to do it more often."
This report was based off of a Russian-language story in the publication Sport-Express.