January 24, 2011
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire
season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to
one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to
complain about it.
Our memories are a funny thing.
Often, we recall events with a much rosier view of how they
actually happened, and for some reason allow that to inform our decisions and
let our brains choose to believe things our eyes aren't showing it.
Since mid-December, for example, a couple of seconds of heavily-edited video and a half-speed, no-contact game against a bunch of 50-year-olds was all it took for some of the media fanboys to pronounce Mario Lemieux fit for the rigors of an NHL. "He may be 44, but he's still got it!", a cavalcade of morons breathlessly reported.
That's because we see Mario as we want to remember him: the dynamic, do-it-all superforward who carved up defenses and embarrassed goalies, and whose career was cut a couple hundred games short by cancer and injury. And so when he's deking through Pens front office personnel and guys who haven't played hockey at a competitive level in years, and making it look Mario-easy, of course fans are going to fawn all over him.
But imagine Mario Lemieux coming across the blue line against, let's say, Chris Pronger(notes). Does that go anywhere near as well as his two-assist performance against Sylvain Cote? Or do you think maybe Pronger knocks him into Row Q with terrifying ease because he hasn't had to try to get by a 6-foot-4 professional athlete in five years?
And now we're seeing the same thing in Colorado. Peter Forsberg spent the weekend skating prior to and then during Avs practices with the hope of making an NHL comeback that all signs point toward becoming reality sometime in the next few weeks.
For a lot of people, myself included, this has to be considered a sad and sorry occasion. How many times have we suffered through this before? Seems like every year, someone's saying Forsberg's workin' on another miraculous comeback, leaving fans saying, "Really? Awesome. I loved Peter Forsberg like eight years ago!"
Then a week later comes the eventual story that Forsberg had a teary farewell speech because his feet have been replaced with a bunch of crumpled-up Post-It notes.
(Coming Up: Marty Turco(notes) earns our respect with Pierre McGuire mockery; Evgeni Nabokov(notes) vs. the Islanders; blowing up the Senators; the very on-the-radar Ryan Suter(notes); nasty goal from Patrice Bergeron(notes); Mats Zuccarello(notes) pwns the shootout; Jeff Skinner's(notes) all-star game chances; Shawn Horcoff(notes) snarks on home ice; life without Sidney; Stamkos slightly off 50-in-50 pace; the Wolverine-riffic Coyotes superhero; and a terribly costly trade for Nashville.)
Hell, we went through this last year at the Olympics, didn't we? Four games, one assist. And that was if you noticed him at all. Which you only did because every camera focused on him during one of his slow, pitiable shifts that left everyone hoping he'd still have it agreeing the hands and brain were where they always were, but not so much everything else. And it was regrettable for all the reasons you'd think: this was a guy we idealize as one of the most talented and prolific players of the Dead Puck Era, who played the game hard and won a couple Cups and probably stuck around a little longer than he should have.
But Adrian Dater, intrepid unofficial Forsberg biographer/hypeman, says he thinks good ol' Foppa gets a run-out on Feb. 3, at home against the Wild. This is in an actual and official National Hockey League game that counts in the standings and everything.
We've all seen the athlete that stuck around a little too long. It's sad, really. That we're allowing that to continue, and actually cheering it on, is ghastly.
The Avs lean heavily on people's memories of when they were arguably the best team in hockey, boasting a roster rife with future Hall of Famers. Forsberg is among them (and that point is inarguable as far as I'm concerned). But he also hasn't played in the NHL since 2008. And has piled up a whopping 26 professional games, all in Sweden, since then. None of those have come this season. And he's 37.
(And if I were cynical, I'd also say he's probably only being brought back as a ticket-selling sideshow to sell seats to people who stopped going to games in the last few years.)
This nostalgia porn has to stop. We don't need remakes of movies we loved as kids, we don't need rereleases of old Nintendo games, and we sure as hell don't need Peter Forsberg sullying his wonderful legacy.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: I bet you haven't heard Saku Koivu(notes) played his first game in Montreal since he went to Anaheim. He did, and he also picked up an assist. It was a very emotional night for him, as you can imagine.
Atlanta Thrashers: Don't look now, but Nik Antropov(notes) is heating up a bit. His goal against the Rangers Saturday was his fourth point in the last four games, even as he's still dealing with the effects of an offseason surgery.
Boston Bruins: Nasty goal from Patrice Bergeron. From one knee, through traffic.
Buffalo Sabres: As Tyler Myers(notes) go, so go the Sabres. "In the 20 wins he's played in, he has four goals, 11 points and a plus-10 rating. In 25 losses, he has one goal, seven points and a ghastly minus-24 rating." Yikes.
Carolina Hurricanes: They're already bangin' the drum to have Jeff Skinner replace one of the injured players in the All-Star Game proper. Because that's what a ninth-place team needs: three representatives in an All-Star Game.
Chicago Blackhawks: Not even Marty Turco likes Pierre McGuire.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Well would you lookit that -- the Blue Jackets have earned points in their last five games and are four points out of a playoff spot in the West. Hell, Calgary's in 14th and they're only five points out. What a mess. The bottom 10 teams in the West are all terrible.
Nashville Predators: "The phrase "under-the-radar" and the name "Ryan Suter" go hand in hand." Really? Who lets Ryan Suter go under the radar? Dude's a very good all-around defenseman. In that very article, legendary USA Today writer Kevin Allen said he was Nashville's Nicklas Lidstrom(notes). How much less underrated can someone be?
New Jersey Devils: Jacques Lemaire was mad after the Devs handed a 5-2 beating to the Panthers. Mad! He said there were "too many things" he was upset about to list. This is the mark of a good coach right here.
New York Islanders: Evgeni Nabokov on not reporting to the Islanders: "Right now, that's right. I was surprised they picked me up. I was like, 'Wow, what's the point?'" Because playing for a crap team in the NHL is way worse than playing for a last-place team in the KHL, or not playing at all.
He's 3 for 3 in his career. Great stuff.
Ottawa Senators: The Ottawa Senators are officially blowing it up. About god damn time. Oh but wait! "If playoff-bound teams are interested in the likes of forward Alexei Kovalev or defenceman Sergei Gonchar(notes), two unhappy and underperforming expensive veterans, deals could be forthcoming." So you're telling me deals will not be forthcoming?
Philadelphia Flyers: Danny Carcillo isn't someone you should mess with.
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks have run through a couple backup goalies in the last few days, neither of whom you have any reason to really know about. The first was that kid on a tryout from UBC who just happened to be one of the few netminders in town. The second is an 18-year-old from the OHL. Every other goaltender in the organization was either hurt or playing for Saturday's game.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos(notes) has regained the NHL scoring lead, popping in his 38th in an easy 7-1 win over Atlanta. Hey remember all that 50-in-50 talk? Yeah, that was his 50th game. Only off by 24 percent!
Vancouver Canucks: Sergei Shirokov(notes) played some okay hockey during his brief callup, but with three other forwards returning from injury and Kevin Bieksa with a swollen eye (see above), this might've been more of a salary cap consideration than anything else.
Washington Capitals: Ovie hattie on Saturday. The possible reason for his success? Not trying to do too much. Just going to the hard areas and getting stick on puck. That's how you break up a slump. Watch this breakout second half.
Gold Star Award
Minus of the Weekend >
Play of the Weekend
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User "andrepeterson" doesn't understand Nashville's financial situation.
Yup, that's over $9.5 million they take on.
This Weekend's Worst Guardian
A tie between the Coyote and the Avalanche.
I can't tell which one is more blatantly ripping off Wolverine/Mr. Freeze.
Also, why is the Coyote hanging out with a dinosaur?
No, Mother, it's just the Northern Lights!