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Fourth overall pick leaves Russia

Updated: December 3, 2003, 3:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When winger Nikolai Zherdev signed a three-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets in August, no one knew for sure when the Russian left winger would make his National Hockey League debut.

Now they do.

Zherdev, the fourth overall pick in this year's draft, made his NHL debut Tuesday night -- 40 seconds into the Blue Jackets' 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

"I felt very, very welcome. I even saw some signs that said, 'Welcome Nikolai,'" he said ...

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