ATLANTA GA - JANUARY 14: Nikolay Zherdev #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers falls down behind the net against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 14 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Despite being a healthy scratch more often than he probably expected this season, Nikolay Zherdev says that he still hasn't regretted signing with the Flyers.
"Even before I signed with Atlant in the KHL last year, I always wanted to stay in the NHL. The negotiations with the Rangers ended up in such a situation that I had to play a year in the KHL. But I always wanted to play in the NHL. That's my goal."
"I saw a lot of good hockey in the KHL. The league has changed considerably compared to the time I played there before. The level is higher."
Zherdev had many offers from the NHL after the year with Atlant, so why did he chose the Flyers?
"My career was in a pretty unclear situation, including some stuff with my agents, too. I liked the Flyers offer, though there were other offers as well."
Zherdev says he doesn't know what other teams were interested in his services, but he has a hunch on what wasn't one of them.
"I didn't really know what teams they were, but definitely not the Rangers!"
"In any case, my agent decided that it would be best to go to Philadelphia."Earlier in the season, when he got benched the first time, Zherdev said that he didn't have any regrets about choosing the Flyers, and now says the same thing.
"No, I don't regret. I play hard to get some ice time. I try to learn from this situation and get the best out of it both for myself and for the team. Sometimes it's easier, sometimes it's harder."
Zherdev is happy to see Sergei Bobrovsky having a successful rookie season.
"He plays with confidence. Everything is possible for him. I think the season has progressed very well for him."
Zherdev isn't surprised that Bobrovsky could earn this many starts already in his first year.
"I don't see any surprises there. Sergei was given the opportunity to prove himself and he's proven to be no worse than Boosh."
"Plus, it's easy to adapt here when everyone helps him."
Zherdev likes the Flyers' chances in the playoffs.
"We have good chances. We will work and fight, especially now when the team is in a small decline. But I think everything will work out eventually."
Becoming a free agent again in the summer, Zherdev isn't sure where he's going to play next season.
"We'll see when the season is over. Everything will depend on me and how the team will perform."
This report was based off of a Russian-language story in the publication Sport Express.