Monday, September 17, 2007

Zherdev as a center: Is this a good idea?

Maybe I was too focused on football last week to notice that there's talk of moving Zherdev from the wing to the center position. I'm not so sure this is a good idea.

I'm pretty skeptical of putting Zherdev at center. For one, he's notorious for being a puck-hog. The center is typically the 'quarterback' of the offense, controlling the play and looking for the best setup before making a pass or taking a shot. His one-man army style of play may not fly with this added responsibility. Second, Zherdev isn't the most defensive of players. It's common for him to stay near the neutral zone and let his teammates fight it out in the corners. Sure, he got a little better in the latter half of last season, but will it be enough to play center, the most two-sided position in the game? What about his disagreements with Hitch and the CBJ staff? The Dispatch has reported that Zherdev has arrived at training camp in as much of an upbeat attitude as they've ever seen, but what happens when the team loses a few games?

There's no question that the Jackets need a quality center, and I'm willing to more or less have open try-outs for the position, but Zherdev's history certainly comes into question. There will need to be noticable change between the Zherdev of yore and the Zherdev of this season. After all, that toe drag isn't going to help him in the face-off circle.

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Anonymous said...

Kind of a negative view point, no? What is the harm of trying this? If it works it's genius, if not, oh well, no harm done. I give the Jackets credit by looking outside the box and it's not like they have overwhelming depth at Center. My guess is the Hitch and Howson have watched about, oh I don't know, a thousand or so hours of tape more than you and I, so I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt that this is not an wild shot in the dark.

Drew said...

Experiment, it appears... is over. Season starts soon, dude!