Get out your Monopoly money, Flyers fans!
Bets will also be accepted in the form of your houses and left testicles, but not your lives because, well, that would just be silly now, wouldn't it?
The (no, not really) wager: Will Nikolai Zherdev be listed on the Philadelphia Flyers roster after the NHL Trade Deadline passes on February 28?
Hobbled by a lower body injury, the Flyers rested Ville Leino for last evening's 4-2 victory over the hapless Florida Panthers.
For anyone assuming the logical replacement for Leino's offensive contributions would be the activation of Nikolai Zherdev, well, you made an ass out of you and me (thanks JERKS!), as Zherdev remained a healthy scratch for last evening's contest in South Florida.
Instead, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette inserted tough guy Dan Carcillo into the lineup for a contest which pitted Philadelphia against a team ranked No. 28 in the NHL for fighting majors this season, with just 13 fights for the Panthers in 2010-11.
Given the way this season has gone for Carcillo, a player who has been scratched for 22 games and counting in 2010-11, it would have seemed impossible for any player to descend deeper into the depths of Laviolette's septic tank—until last night that is.
What has Zherdev drawing latrine duty this time?
In his daily "Meltzer's Musings" column over at Hockey Buzz (required reading for Flyers fans), Bill Meltzer provides some insight:
"I am not surprised that even with Leino out, Nikolay Zherdev remained a healthy scratch. Peter Laviolette had been sending him a message about his increasingly lackadaisical play by cutting his ice time steadily over several games. Rather than heeding the warning, Zherdev continued to dog it. When he took a seat for the rest of the Carolina game after a shift in which his lack of hustle was readily apparent (on one of his final shifts of the game, Zherdev simply stood and watched rather than pursuing a loose puck along the boards), it was pretty clear that he'd gotten himself deep in the doghouse again."
Which begs the question: Are Nikolai Zherdev's days as a Philadelphia Flyer numbered?
My Monopoly bank account, my house in sunny 90210 and the testicle to the left of my left testicle (I have three testicles) all say Nikolai Zherdev is not long for Broad Street.
And no, these are not "sources."
Keep in mind, as a player acquired by Philadelphia via free agency, anything the Flyers would receive in a potential deal for their enigmatic Russian sniper would go into the books as a positive transaction—a deal where the Flyers bought low and sold high.
After all, when the only thing you lose in a deal is $2 million in Comcast money, anything returning in the form of a draft choice, prospect, roster player or even a place to park the salary cap hit of another player in advance of next season would be viewed as a win for Philadelphia, who lose nothing other than cash and a player the head coach refuses to provide with adequate playing time.
In retrospect, if Zherdev is moved at the trade deadline, I don't think anyone paying attention to the Flyers this season will be surprised when the news comes.
But when the Dan Carcillo gets the nod over any other forward on the Flyers roster, it's time to start placing your bets on Zherdev's departure ahead of the trade deadline.
(Please refrain from sending me your funny money, deeds to your homes, testicles, or other body parts you decide you can live without. All mention of betting in this article were, of course, examples of hyperbole. Silly.)
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