Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators has, for the most part, achieved Beloved Player status in the National Hockey League: a veteran whose work ethic, results and dedication to the only franchise he’s played for makes him exempt from most criticism.
So imagine, if you will, if Alex Ovechkin or Joe Thornton or Henrik Sedin or another captain who carries less respect than Alfredsson uttered the following when asked if it was feasible his team could win three in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins after Wednesday's 7-3 Game 4 thumping:
Here’s the video:
The full quote, via Erin Nicks of NHL.com, after Alfredsson was asked if it was feasible his team could win three in a row:
"Probably not," Alfredsson said. "[Pittsburgh's] depth and our play right now … it doesn't look too good.
"When you look at what we did, it wasn't good enough. Does that mean [Pittsburgh] was good? Did we make them good? Who really cares? From our point of view, we didn't manage the puck [well], we didn't execute our passes, and subsequently, we got punished in the neutral zone. We turned way too many pucks over and gave them some freebies. It would have been nice to have the lead for a little bit longer, but now we're back on our heels again. We didn't shut them down when it matters."
From the ‘Alfie Does No Wrong’ crowd, the defense of his statement goes like this (in summary of everything I’ve seen since Wednesday night):
“Daniel Alfredsson was speaking from frustration because his team was embarrassed in Game 4. He’s also staring into the abyss of his career’s end – he retrieved the puck at the end of Game 4, claiming it was for his kids. He’s speaking from the heart and, frankly, speaking the truth, and isn’t that what we want from all athletes? His candor is refreshing!”
It’s not really a surprise to see Alfredsson get a pass in many places for these comments. Alfredsson has banked enough goodwill that he could strangle a kitten in a postgame press scrum and the media would laud him for inventing a new form of “extreme petting.”
But they're comments that indicate the Senators are an inferior team to the Penguins.
Comments that effectively raise the white flag on the season after four semifinal games.
Comments that would seem like the antithesis of what you’d want out of a captain.
Again: Had Alex Ovechkin said the Capitals would “probably not” rally to win a series, he would have been called everything from selfish to a cancer of negativity infecting the Washington locker room.
Not Alfie, despite one of the most defeatist quotes ever uttered by an NHL captain in the playoffs.
It’s May 23. Nineteen years ago today, Mark Messier and the New York Rangers were down 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final. He was asked if the team could win Game 6. He said the following.
“I know we're going to go in and win Game 6 and bring it back here (to the Garden) for Game 7 ... We have enough talent and experience to turn the tide. That's exactly what we're going to do in Game 6.... I've put my five Stanley Cup rings, my reputation and my neck on the chopping block, boys. Now save me."
Imagine how history would remember the Rangers and Messier had he answered “Probably Not.”
As Scott Dobby writes:
@wyshynski I guess that puts him out if the Messier Leadership Award race.
— Scott Dobby (@Scott_Dobby) May 23, 2013
Brian Burke was the architect of the USA Hockey team that rode the hot goaltending of Ryan Miller all the way to overtime of the 2010 gold medal match in the Vancouver Olympics.
He was the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs then. Now, he’s out of a GM gig; according to Sportsnet 590 in Toronto, that’s the reason he won’t be back in the same capacity for Team USA in Sochi 2014.
As reported on the “Brady and Lang” show by co-host Greg Brady, Burke will not be asked back as the team’s general manager. As Brady tweeted:
“Burke was told, as suspected, USA Hockey wants a current NHL GM. [Nashville GM David] Poile a strong candidate. Burke definitely wanted the job - obviously he made a huge commitment to after his son's tragic passing. Might be a mistake by USA Hockey.”
Burke’s son Brendan died in a car accident on Feb. 5, 2010; the Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver began on Feb. 13, 2010. Burke worked through his personal tragedy, which served as an inspiration for the American players.
He also made some bold decisions at GM that helped Team USA earn silver: Most notably the addition of Chris Drury to the roster, as the veteran center had become a high-priced punchline for the New York Rangers. Drury was one of the team’s best players in the tournament, and rewrote the legacy of his latter years in the NHL.
The notion that a general manager needs to be currently employed in the NHL to take the reins of Team USA seems a bit odd.
First, because having an individual solely dedicated to building the roster without any distractions would seem like, you know, a good thing. Second, it’s not as if Brian Burke’s been out of the game for several years – and it’s certainly not like he isn’t familiar with many of the returning players for Team USA.
This seems – and one hates to say it – like an excuse not to hire Brian Burke again as GM.
Maybe they just don’t want to have that awkward discussion about Ron Wilson coming back to coach the team …
Who takes over Team USA? As Brady mentioned, Poile must be considered as a strong candidate, given his years of service. Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero could be considered the front-runner, especially if his coach Dan Bylsma ends up behind the bench. Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi was an adviser for Team USA in 2010; he might be somewhat familiar with the team’s starting goalie in Sochi.
Oh yeah: There's been no official announcement about he NHL going to Sochi and blah blah bliggity blah blah of course they're going.
Some notes around the Penguins this morniing- Daniel Alfredsson and Paul MacLean had different viewpoints last night, and are the Pens the most pressured team since the 2002 Red Wings?
A look back at 2010- where the Pens blew a 3rd period lead and went on to lose a multi-overtime game against the Ottawa Senators. Sound familiar?
From local columnists to fans on twitter, Dan Bylsma's critics are taking aim at every little decision made. Why some of these arguments make sense, but asking why the Pens even acquire Jarome Iginla isn't one of them.
How did the Pittsburgh Penguins blow a lead in the last minute of a game where they had a power play? Let's take a look. It's painful, but necessary.
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