Puck Daddy - NHL

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.

Maybe Markus Naslund(notes) is the nicest guy in the world. Maybe he singlehandedly dragged the Vancouver Canucks to respectability.

But that doesn't mean the guy's number should get retired.

Jerseys used to be retired on the merit that the player was an all-time great whose career with a certain franchise was so memorable and littered with indelible moments that can never be forgotten that it would be an insult to his immortal legacy to let just anyone wear the same number.

Now, they'll let just anyone get their shirt raised to the rafters.

(Coming Up: Bobby Ryan(notes) plays pick-up-stick vs. Wild; Atlantic City hockey fail; Jody Shelley(notes) and the pending suspension; terrible Blackhawks stat; Jay Harrison(notes) and BJ Crombeen(notes) in what has to be the spinniest fight in NHL; Jordin Tootoo's(notes) big hit; Clarke MacArthur(notes) is awesome; Boston Bruins' cap headaches; how did Alex Semin avoid suspension?; the weirdest fact about Shane Doan's(notes) career; and Malkin-to-the-Flames.)

With all due respect to Naslund, he is not the kind of guy that should have his number retired. In 12 years with the Canucks, most admittedly in the so-called Dead Puck Era, he became the franchise's leading all-time scorer with 346 goals and 756 points in 884 games. That's 0.86 points a night. If you round up. Hockey Reference says that's just shy of Wilf Paiment!

Not that the Canucks exactly have the greatest history with retiring players' numbers. For a franchise that didn't exist until 1970, having three numbers retired is a bit much. Especially when those players are Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden(notes) and now Naslund. Not quite Hall of Famers there.

Canucks fans have argued to me that when Naslund came to town, the team was garbage, and he helped make them what they are today. I don't know if "perpetual one-and-done playoff team" is exactly the benchmark fans think it is.

Because Naslund, in his 12 years wearing Vancouver silks, led them to the second round of the playoffs exactly twice. What a divine trip to the Promised Land. He broke more than a point a game four whole times. He mailed it in his last three seasons and Canucks fans pretty much hated him.

A similar situation, where a guy "meant a lot to the organization" but not so much its on-ice product, cropped up a few years ago when the Rangers retired Adam Graves' number at the same time as Andy Bathgate's, and that sobbing you saw as Bathgate raised his and Graves' famous No. 9 to the rafters was out of shame that he, as a Hockey Hall of Famer, had to share a number with a guy who had 616 career points for all eternity. Because he had that one really decent season and they won a Cup.

The problem these days is that teams have no perspective any more. None whatsoever. It seems like the second any player that played a somewhat significant amount of time for a team retires, their jersey retirement ceremony is announced the next day. For later that season. Bonus points are awarded if the guy won a Cup with the team.

Glen Wesley's(notes) going to get his number retired in February. (Ed. Note: He already did, silly Lambert.) Mike Vernon got his No. 30 raised to the roof of the Saddledome in 2007. And there's the worst and most embarrassing offender of all, Ray Bourque's No. 77 being retired by the Colorado Avalanche. That one started it all.

This isn't going away, either. In fact, it's only going to get worse as the bar for what exactly constitutes jersey retirement-worthy careers continues to be lowered. It's not a shot at Naslund to say he doesn't deserve it. Most guys don't these days.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Andy Sutton(notes) is trying to find his game. Maybe he should ask an expert where it went.

Atlanta Thrashers: Fredrik Modin(notes) returned to the Thrashers lineup after missing 12 games with a rib injury. Raise your hand if you remembered that he still played in the NHL.

Boston Bruins: Marco Sturm(notes) actually got traded this time! Hooray hooray! Oh except all the Bruins are not very happy. It's a salary cap world, though, and Peter Chiarelli can't manage one. That's why they got nothing for him. "No, nothing," Chiarelli reiterated. "Keep in mind the value of cap space. That's what you have to keep in perspective." Oh okay.

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres believed the faced a big test against the molten Pittsburgh Penguins. They then gave up five goals on just 24 shots. So how'd they do, Mike Weber(notes)? "Obviously, it's a fail."

Calgary Flames: Darryl Sutter gets absolutely eviscerated by George Johnson. Awesome stuff. Click that link.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jay Harrison and BJ Crombeen in what has to be the spinniest fight in the NHL so far this year.

Chicago Blackhawks: Through 30 games, the Blackhawks had the 26th-ranked penalty kill in the league. Did you know this? That's terrible, especially for that group of D.

Colorado Avalanche: Great opportunity to make up some ground for the Avs in the next two months or so: they play 16 of their next 21 at home. That's a lot.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Here's some great, superstitious nonsense from the Jackets. They got those decent third jerseys and lot the first four games they played wearing them. Since then, the schedule of the games they'd wear them for the rest of the year disappeared from the team website, and Saturday's game, which was meant to be a third jersey night, was not one. They've been outscored 18-5 in the new jerseys.

Dallas Stars: Folks, before reading this next bit of news, I want you to carefully remove your socks so that they are not forcefully knocked from your feet: Kari Lehtonen(notes) is going to miss tonight's scheduled return to the lineup. Due to INJURY!

Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings will play at the same time as that relocated Vikings-Giants game. But which game will the empty seats show up for?

Edmonton Oilers: Magnus Paajarvi(notes) is catching up in scoring with his fellow Oiler rookies. He's riding a five-game point streak and looking good doing it. Keep it up, kid, and we'll give you back the "-Svensson."

Florida Panthers: Speculation in the Boston Globe today that clubs, including the Bruins, are trying to pry Erik Gudbranson(notes) from the Panthers with a roster player and a swap of first-round picks (I'm assuming the Leafs' and Panthers', rather than Bruins' and Panthers', but that's not made evident here). Good luck!

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings power play is so bad that they got 15 minutes of time on the man advantage against Minnesota and didn't even get a shot on goal in the final four of those. Said offensive mastermind Terry Murray, "You've got to score. You've got to find a way to win those games when you have that opportunity. And it carries over to your power play."

Minnesota Wild: Pierre-Marc Bouchard(notes) sat out over a year with a concussion and has now played five times for Minnesota this year. Since that first one, he's picked up a point in every game. Might wanna put him on your fantasy team soon.

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs called up diminutive (I know!) forward David Desharnais(notes) before last night's game, made him a healthy scratch, and sent him back down on Sunday. How was the food in the press box, kid?

Nashville Predators: Big-time hit by Jordin Tootoo here. Whoa.

New Jersey Devils: Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) has three points in his last two games. Who's not earning that contract now!? Oh, he says it's him. Huh. Well then, as you were, naysayers.

New York Islanders: John Tavares(notes) got in a fight. With Alex Burmistrov(notes). If you wanna call it that.

Real stupid by Tavares. Best player on the team by far, down two goals with 5:01 left.

New York Rangers: Ranger farmhand Tim Kennedy(notes) has been granted permission to seek a trade. With 15 points in the AHL this year, he should be able to find work with an ECHL team no problem.

Ottawa Senators: The Senators aren't going to make the playoffs, says Ottawa columnist. Who couldn't tell that from their roster on, let's say, October 1?

Philadelphia Flyers: Jody Shelley didn't mean to make that hit on Adam McQuiad Saturday. He told McQuaid didn't mean to do it immediately, waited for McQuaid after the second period to tell him that, and offered mea culpas to the media. He's a jerk and he deserves far more than the one-game suspension he will surely get later today for this:

Phoenix Coyotes: Hey, Shane Doan had two goals on Saturday! In 1,064 games, he still doesn't have a hat trick in his career. That's very, very surprising.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Alex Goligoski(notes) scored the game-winner Saturday at Buffalo. That gives him four on the year, and ties a Pittsburgh single-season record for game-winners by a defenseman. Brad Werenka is among the three other leaders. Brad Werenka. 

San Jose Sharks: Doug Wilson doesn't think the fans have really given Antti Niemi a chance to succeed. "When a guy comes from another team that beats you, I don't expect it to be a love affair quickly," he said at a season ticket holder Q&A. I'd have thought it wasn't fan sentiment, but rather the 3.27 GAA and .897 save percentage. What do I know?

St. Louis Blues: Dave Scatchard(notes) was assigned to Peoria of the AHL Sunday. In other news, Dave Scatchard hasn't retired somehow.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Since the start of training camp, the Bolts have traveled more than 55,000 miles and played just 11 home games in the regular season.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Clarke MacArthur doesn't like getting blindsided.

Him taking his helmet off there looked bad as hell.

Vancouver Canucks: Pavel Bure up next for a jersey retirement or something. And why not? He finished eight points ahead of Tony Tanti on the team's all-time scoring list!

Washington Capitals: Alex Semin didn't get suspended for this!

Good work, National Hockey League supplementary discipline setup.

Gold Star Award

Bobby Ryan scored a goal last night using Mikko Koivu's(notes) stick. And for the record, Ryan shoots with the opposite hand. How many times you think something like that's happened in the league?

Minus of the Weekend

There was going to be a game between the Baby Pens and Baby Devils in Atlantic City but it had to be postponed due to a hole being in the ice. More like Boredwalk Empire.

Play of the Weekend

I know you've all seen it already but I'm picking the Omark shootout goal because it made everyone on the Lightning cry, and that's what sports are all about.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

User tpc77 has one idea to give the Pens a boost on offense.

To Pitt:


2011 First (Likely top 5 - 7)

To Calgary:


2011 2nd -3rd or decent prospect or decent roster player (whatever calgary wants)

What Calgary wants is to do this deal immediately.


Buy me Bonestorm or go to hell!

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness rather infrequently over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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