Russian Report: Zherdev Attacked Wife's Car Updated w conflicting witness account

Russian Report: Zherdev Attacked Wife's Car Updated w conflicting witness account

According to a report in a Russian newspaper, which was uncovered and relayed by Teemu of BroadStreetHockey this morning, Nikolay Zherdev is said to have had an argument with his wife at a restaurant, after which he attacked her car, hitting it with a pole and shouting some serious threats as she tried to drive away. If the reports are correct, it sounds like a very scary incident for his wife, who is said to have begun driving the wrong way on the road trying to flee.

At this time, we have not seen any additional reports confirming the original story as stated and translated from the Russian paper. As such, we're only posting that the report exists. If they prove to be true and Zherdev faces charges (his wife is said to have gone to the police over the incident), that's bad news for Zherdev's already shaky reputation in North America. [UPDATE: Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy has linked to another Russian paper's report that includes the restaurant manager saying no such events took place. Again, we're not saying what did or didn't happen, only what is being reported in the Russian papers and relayed to the English outlets.]

After a successful statistical season in Philadelphia, Zherdev was likely already facing long odds to return. Despite his commendable production in limited games and minutes, he was often a healthy scratch and seemingly not a favorite of coach Peter Laviolette. Zherdev had already been cast out of Columbus and Manhattan, his previous two NHL homes.

It's a shame too. Even before today's report, Zherdev's story is one of wasted potential. There are few players more gifted and dangerous when given any space with the puck, as we saw quite a few times this season as he broke in all alone and you just knew he'd pot it. He isn't a selfish player offensively either, with a great passing touch to complement the fact that all eyes are on him when he has the puck in the offensive zone.

His defensive woes get him in trouble with coaches, a mix of an inability to execute his assignment with at times a lack of effort to do so. To many coaches, Zherdev is a top-line winger. But to others, he's a liability and a bad example to others. It's not often you see a guy with 40-goal potential getting 10 minutes of ice time with the fourth line, but that's exactly what we saw for some of the games in which he did dress this season.

To reiterate, these reports are preliminary and based on a translation of a Russian newspaper's account of eyewitness and police statements. There is a lot of room for new details to emerge with future reports and statements by all parties involved.

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

The Phillies made a couple quiet additions as the winter meetings ended, signing veteran outfielder Daniel Nava and lefty reliever Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts.

Nava, 34 in February, is a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and first base. He came up with the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in Boston in 2010 as a 27-year-old rookie. Some Phillies fans will remember him for hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major-league plate appearance.

Nava had a few decent years in Boston, the best of which was 2013, when he had 536 plate appearances and hit .303/.385/.445 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs. 

Nava's numbers and opportunities have dropped every year since. He was designated for assignment by Boston in 2015, latched on with the Rays, signed the next year with the Angels and was traded late in the season to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons, Nava has hit just .208, albeit with an on-base percentage 99 points higher because of his 30 walks and 10 hit by pitches.

Burnett, 34, has spent five of the last seven seasons in the Nationals' bullpen. He had a 2.85 ERA in 283 appearances from 2009-12 and parlayed that success into a two-year, $7.25 million contract with the Angels. However, he barely pitched in 2013 and 2014 for the Halos because of an elbow tear. He returned to the Nats last season and allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings.

Burnett, perhaps more so than Nava, has a chance to fill a role with the Phillies if he can stay healthy. He's shown he can get outs at the highest level, posting a 2.38 ERA in 2012 with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.14 ERA with 8.9 K/9 in 2010. That was a long time ago now, and Burnett's fastball has dipped from averaging 90-91 mph to 88.

According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Burnett will receive a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team and can earn another $1.75 million in incentives based on his number of appearances.

Burnett has an opt-out date of March 26, meaning he can become a free agent a week before the regular season begins if it looks to him like he isn't in the Phils' plans.

Nava's chances at cracking the opening-day roster seem longer because the Phillies are expected to make more depth signings between now and the start of camp. They've prioritized finding some offense in the corner outfield and that could come in the form of more minor-league deals, a guaranteed contract or trade. One potential fit I examined last week was Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, a hitter more proven than Nava (see story).

These minor-league deals were commonplace for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak last offseason, when the only free agent he signed to a major-league deal was reliever David Hernandez. 

Last season, three players who were signed to minor-league deals with invites to spring training made the team on opening day: outfielder Cedric Hunter, utilityman Emmanuel Burriss and reliever James Russell.

Others, such as former closers Edward Mujica, Ernesto Frieri and Andrew Bailey, failed to make the team out of camp. Bailey eventually earned a call-up; the other two didn't.

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixers point guard and Meek Mill collaborator Lou Williams is enjoying quite the run off the bench for the Lakers recently.

Over Los Angeles' last four games, Williams has posted totals of 40, 38, 24, and 35 points. 

The six-man is averaging 34.5 points per game over the stretch, and his 137 points are the most off the bench in a four-game span by any player since 1970-71, when stats were first recorded, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN. Williams is now averaging 19.3 points this season, which is 4.4 more than his highest average with the Sixers.

Williams isn’t the only player who used to play for the Sixers that is playing well for the Lakers this year. Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who also comes off the bench, is averaging 13.3 points per game. Just a few weeks ago, Swaggy P stole a pass intended for Lou Williams, and then proceeded to hit a game winner against the Thunder. Swaggy P, however, is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but is getting closer to a return.

"Lou Will" was also talked about last April during Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, when he was beefing on Twitter with another former Philadelphia athlete, LeSean McCoy.