Nik Zherdev may be in a little bit of hot water in his native Russia.
Reports surfaced in a Russian newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomolets, that the Flyers forward allegedly attacked his wife after a quarrel in a restaurant, damaged her car with a metal pole, and threatened her verbally with death.
"According to eyewitnesses, Nikolay picked up a metal pole from the parking lot and began hitting the car with the pole while shouting expletives at his wife. Fearing for her life, his wife rushed to escape, turning in the wrong direction on the highway. The same day, she went to the police," a translated report in the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, a conflicting report in Sovietsky Sport yesterday shot down any alleged foul play involving Zherdev, quoting the restaurant's owner.
"There was nothing remotely similar to what was written on the Internet took place in front of our restaurant," the restaurant's owner told Sovietsky Sport. "This is such nonsense! I specifically asked the entire personnel, including security guards, but no one saw anything."
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren acknowledged the reports yesterday.
"We are aware of the reports but until we have spoken to Nikolay and have more information, we will not comment," Holmgren said in a statement.
Zherdev, 26, was married last summer shortly before signing a 1-year deal with the Flyers. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but expressed interest in returning to the Flyers in an exit interview with Holmgren if they could fit him under the salary cap.
Zherdev netted 16 goals in a little more than 704 minutes of total ice time this season, a staggering amount of production for such little ice time.
He earned $2 million in his first season back in the NHL after the former first-round pick played the previous season in Russia.
Zherdev's aloof personality - and the apparent language barrier - made him one of the Flyers' more quiet players in the locker room.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper said Zherdev is expected to be charged for damaging his wife's car and that authorities are examining the death threats he allegedly issued.
Zherdev's agent, New York-based Puck Agency chief Jay Grossman, did not return a message left by the Daily News yesterday seeking comment or clarification.