Like all members of Canuck Nation, we here at Critically Canuck have suffered a long time. We will not die happily unless the Stanley Cup makes its way to Stanley Park.
Here you'll get the straight goods on our heroes. With both feet on the bandwagon, we will, however, pull no punches. As long time season ticket holders, that's our prerogative.
Expect analytical insight with a strong sense of history. We'll ask the tough questions. And answer them. Enjoy.
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Sometime this weekend, assuming the slumbering Sedins can break out of their early season slump (or more appropriately, Alex Burrows can finally convert some of his chances), Henrik Sedin will surpass fellow Swede and former Canuck captain Markus Naslund as the team’s most effective scorer in their 42 season history.
So on that basis, this week’s wayback features Henrik’s first NHL game.
For Henrik (and brother Daniel) it all started over twelve years ago. They suited up for their first NHL game, looking very much like boys amongst men. A fact that was exaggerated even more by the opposition that night - the Philadelphia Flyers featured (as they near always have) a bruising line-up with the likes of John LeClair, Keith Primeau, Luke Richardson, Kevin Stevens and Rick Tocchet.
The Canucks were entering that season, 2000-01, having missed the playoffs for four years running. It was another dark period in Canuck history. But that was about to end though perhaps not entirely on this night.
That summer, Brian Burke had engineered transactions enabling the Canucks to draft both Henrik (at number three overall) and his brother Daniel (at number two). Say what you will about Burke, he was the perfect man for that job and his draft day coup established the foundation for the most successful period of Canucks’ hockey.
And while there was much optimism heading into that season, there was concern that the Sedins were too young, too soft, too weak to compete at the NHL level. The “sisters” and their endless cycle game just wouldn’t work against the rigors of real men.
The Sedins that night in Philadelphia skated alongside Trent Klatt (one of many wingers who would come to experience the magical Sedin effect as their stats became suddenly inflated) and received third line minutes, but were non-factors as the Canucks got clobbered 6-3.
Just to emphasize how long ago this really was, the Canucks’ keeper that night was Felix “the Cat” Potvin, who was clearly on his way to his ninth life.
But while this game wasn’t symbolic of how things would transpire during the Sedin era, by the end of the season, the youthful team would return to the playoffs once more with the Sedins elevated to second line prominence during a brief playoff run, racking up 7 points between them in 4 playoff games.
And now, with playoff appearances in nine of eleven seasons (soon to be ten of twelve), President’s Trophies, an Art Ross Trophy and the closest brush possible with the Stanley Cup, Henrik is on the verge of adding further to his tremendous legacy in Vancouver.
We wish to thank the Hockey Hall of Fame for finally having the good sense to induct one Pavel Bure, saving us from our annual righteous rant in support of the Russian Rocket, easily the Vancouver Canucks’ most dynamic player ever and, arguably, the most entertaining player of his generation. If you wish to be enlightened further, please consult our archives.
And while his selection is most overdue, in the end, there are no levels of HHOF membership - all players enshrined are on equal footing. And make no mistake, Bure belongs. As a second generation Russian superstar, he was a pioneer for his countrymen at the NHL level, where he was simply the most electrifying player since Guy Lafleur and Bobby Orr. And like Orr, his knees couldn’t endure the full tilt of his playing style - his longevity being perhaps the only legitimate beef against his induction. And while some may question his character upon exiting Vancouver, there are two sides to every story, but Bure’s is rarely told. In the end, he scored and entertained everywhere he went, excelling both professionally and internationally. For a brief moment in time, he was the most captivating player of his sport.
Joining Bure in today’s inductions were Adam Oates, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin. It seems that the HHOF is finally getting over its obsession with Stanley Cup winning players with Sakic being the only of this year’s inductees to have sipped from the cherished cup. And rightfully so, in the modern day 30 team NHL, there will be plenty of elite players who may never become champions. Indeed, in the era of the six team NHL, Cup rings may have meant something, but that notion is now prehistoric. And with the inclusion of Sundin and Bure, it seems that the HHOF is also getting over its bias against European players, which makes perfect sense since it is the “Hockey” Hall of Fame and not the “NHL” Hall of Fame.
With Bure’s induction, the Canucks once again find themselves with egg on their face as it relates to their franchise’s first and best superstar. How can the team’s only bonafide Hall of Famer (sorry, Mark Messier and Mats Sundin don’t count) not have his number hanging from the rafters while the likes of career plumber Stan Smyl is so enshrined? Some sources may say that Bure has been offered such an honour (or at least inclusion in the lower tiered Ring of Honour), but has refused. This is entirely possible, but also irrelevant. The hanging of a number from the rafters is much less about awarding the player, but recognizing his impact to the franchise and its fans. Yes, Pavel wasn’t necessarily the model community citizen, but he put the Vancouver franchise on the sporting map, making himself and his team an international brand. Stan Smyl or Trevor Linden or Markus Naslund could never have done that. And if the Canucks had retired his number (even without him attending the ceremony) before he had entered the hall, they would have looked a whole lot better than they do now, where any official acknowledgement of his career will look like after the fact pandering.
The irony of all this, of course, is that Pavel’s induction was announced by Pat Quinn, whom Pavel has now claimed as a father like figure, but was possibly part of the reason for Bure’s requested exit from Vancouver. Meanwhile, here in Vancouver, current President and General Manager Mike Gillis (Bure’s former agent) issued a very brief press release jointly recognizing Bure and Sundin, who played only half a season here in what was easily Gillis’ strangest move…
With last week’s stunning acquisition of young hulking winger Zack Kassian in exchange for prized rookie Cody Hodgson, the Canucks are about to add another chapter to a long running story in Vancouver: the quest for the perfect power forward.
This story has its beginning, of course, with Cam Neely, who would become the prototype for the very term. Except the Canucks didn’t know it. And gave him away for Barry Pederson, a playmaking centre who had been a BC junior hockey star and twice a 100 point scorer for the Boston Bruins. Though at the time of the 1986 trade, he had the use of roughly one arm and was a shadow of his former self - though still good enough to lead the pitiful Canucks in scoring. Meanwhile, Neely became the NHL’s definitive power forward and hockey hall of famer despite a career that was tragically cut short by injury.
Since that devastating and memorable loss, Vancouver has had more misses than hits to replace what Neely was never able to provide in Vancouver, but did so effectively in Boston.
Indeed, since the 1983 draft that produced Neely, the Canucks have burned six first round picks on big men up front. There was one hit, Trevor Linden. And several misses - Rob Murphy, Shawn Antoski, Alek Stojanov and the most lamentable Libor Polasek. And there was Jim Sandlak, who seemed to have the game, but just not the gumption on most nights.
The Canucks, since the Neely disaster, have actually had better success trading away big men than keeping them. Linden became Todd Bertuzzi - who, while a Canuck, was the best power forward in the game. Bertuzzi, the power gone from his game after the Steve Moore incident, became Roberto Luongo. Stojanov, of course, became Markus Naslund. And even Sandlak was good enough for Murray Craven, a key player on the 1994 Final team.
And when the Canucks weren’t drafting big men, they were passing on some they rightly should have nabbed. And while second-guessing draft picks is a ridiculously simple and unfair game, there are a few instances that are notable in their sheer idiocy. Two picks after the Canucks selected J.J. Daigneault, who approached the 1984 draft table on crutches, Calgary selected Gary Roberts. And of course, failing to nab local boy Milan Lucic, who was playing in their own backyard for the WHL Vancouver Giants, before the Bruins got him in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft is a slight that will not be forgotten by many.
In Canuck lore, the broad shoulders of Trevor Linden almost carried the team to its first Stanley Cup. And the dominant play of Todd Bertuzzi helped return the Canucks to an elite team before a tragic ending. And, of course, the loss to Boston in last year’s Final has been blamed, by many, on a lack of toughness on the top lines.
So while the quest for the perfect big man continues with the acquisition of Kassian, none of this legacy should matter. We doubt he’s a Canuck historian. But it will likely matter to the rabid fan base, who have too much misery in memory.
When news of the trade first broke, it seemed to catch most by surprise - even the supposed hockey insiders - which causes one to worry if the Canucks had done their best to auction Hodgson to the highest bidder. But it would seem given the Canucks’ now apparent long running drama with the Hodgson camp, that they likely had this deal in the works for quite some time and had their sights particularly set upon Kassian. So while this trade may be evaluated on the longer term performances of both players, the trade of a blue chip asset in Hodgson only increases the pressure on Kassian to contribute now.
And so it goes. Another big man in Vancouver. With pressure to fulfill a prophecy often promised, but rarely fulfilled.
You’ve got to hand it to the NHL. In a league that has typically based it’s discipline policy on precedent, it seems that in the wake of a never ending run of head injuries, they’ve decided to throw history away and break new ground.
And until some more systemic changes are implemented from the big leagues down to the grass roots to address the risks of play in the “new NHL”, we’ll have to embrace the tough love being handed down despite how confounding it must be to the players.
You see there was a time when you had to come close to killing someone to even be considered for a suspension that would include playoff games. Indeed, today’s suspension of Canucks’ winger Raffi Torres for the final two regular season games and the first two playoff games amounts to a suspension of roughly 10 regular season games in the established currency.
And this punishment seems extraordinary given the play and Torres’ clean record. Remember the last time the Canucks were involved in a situation where a prone player with his head down and body outstretched in pursuit of a loose puck met with the accidental on purpose elbow of an opposing player? Yes, we’re referring to Steve Moore on Markus Naslund - a very similar play that didn’t even draw a minor penalty let alone a multi-game suspension.
In the end, the veteran Torres was doing what he must do - finish his checks. And the victim, rookie Jordan Eberle was doing exactly what he shouldn’t, pursue a loose puck with his head down.
So it follows that you have to feel for Torres and the Canucks. In a mean nothing game on a mean nothing play, they have lost arguably their most reliable grinder when it matters most - their depleted third line now down to simply Jannik Hansen. And while there will be the usual cries of conspiracy from the frantic faithful, what we’re seeing is the swinging pendulum of NHL justice. As they say, timing is everything…
Today we’ll be starting what we hope will be a weekly feature around here (at least during the regular season and playoffs), our “Figures and Facts”.
FIGURE - Fourth line centre Alexandre Bolduc has separated his shoulder for the third time in two seasons. Remarkably, he separated his shoulder this time while taking a face-off.
FACT - Bolduc, at this rate, is making Sami Salo and Rick Rypien look like ironmen. He must be related to another chronic Canuck shoulder separator, Alek Stojanov. There will be no trading Bolduc for the next Markus Naslund, however.
FIGURE - The Canucks have been shut-out in two of their last three games.
FACT - The ride on the bandwagon is getting a little bumpy despite the Canucks still clinging to their first overall status. But what do you expect, after 40 years of more teasing than tantalizing, this is the conditioned response when the going gets tough.
FIGURE - Lifted from today’s Vancouver Province, seven of the Canucks top nine forwards have gone at least 9 games without a goal.
FACT - A cause for panic for some, the Canucks, for the most part, have continued to win despite the lack of scoring from anyone not not named Daniel or Ryan. One thing is certain, it won’t go on for another 9 games (or one).
FIGURE - Cory Scheider’s save percentage in his first 10 starts (of which he lost none in regulation) was a very impressive .925. In his last two starts (both regulation losses) it was a still impressive .917.
FACT - Goal support has more to do with a goalie’s win-loss record than anything else (over 4 goals per game in his first 10 and zero in his last two).
FIGURE - With Bolduc sidelined again, the Canucks are back to having three NHL centres on their active roster.
FACT - This should be Cody Hodgson’s time.
FIGURE - Two defensemen have been injured in the last two games, making a total of three defenders (including the ubiquitous Sami Salo) unavailable for play.
FACT - The hysteria about how to accomodate Salo’s impending (?) return can abate for just a little while.
With long time Canuck captain and all-time points leader Markus Naslund’s number 19 now hanging from the rafters, it is time to address the elephant in the room. Yes, we’re talking about what to do with Pavel Bure.
And we’re not the only ones wondering. Back in the summer when it was announced that the Canucks would be celebrating Naslund with the franchise’s highest honour, Mike Gills was queried on this very idea and he responded by saying they would need to look into it adding something about ensuring that honourees have the “right character”.
Gillis now has this to say, “he’s on our radar.” He added, “part of it is the person and it didn’t end the way people had hoped. But there are two sides to the story. He’s a private person and I don’t think it’s any deviation from the criteria.” From the man who was player agent for both Naslund and Bure, and now the man in charge of the decision making, this is an interesting development.
If anyone needed reminding, Bure was the Canucks’ first, and arguably only (the careers of Daniel and Henrik still being open books) true superstar. He will likely wind up in the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point, and having played the majority of his career here would represent the only member of hockey’s hallowed hall to have done so.
During the Naslund love-in of the last week much has been made about crediting him with “saving” the franchise in the wake of the Mark Messier era. While this smacks of revisionist history more than anything else, the argument that Bure did the same during his day is an easier point to make.
When Bure arrived in Vancouver, the Canucks were in the middle years of the Pat Quinn era and finally on the ascent. With the Russian Rocket on board, the sky was the proverbial limit. Unlike Naslund (or the Sedins for that matter), Pavel was no work in progress. From his opening game, as a Macualy Culkin fresh faced 20 year old in the body of a Greek God, it was clear that this was not just another Canuck highly touted European prospect. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And we were all overjoyed to be along for the ride.
It was Bure’s explosive talent that marked the turning point for the franchise from cottage industry to global entity. In short order, the Canucks were a drawing card on the road (something that continues to this day) and a new stadium was being built (bringing with it another pro sports franchise); you might say that GM Place was the house that Bure built. When it was recently discovered that number one NFL draft pick Sam Bradford, despite being born and bred in football mad Oklahoma, dreamt of playing for the Vancouver Canucks because of his adoration of Pavel Bure, you fully realized the extent of Bure’s influence.
Of course, after two 60 goal seasons, a brush with the Stanley Cup, numerous All-Star recognitions, knee injuries and one final 51 goal campaign, the petals were off the rose. Pavel wanted out. And the adoring faithful were hurt. And it’s this seeming lack of character that is the biggest reason to argue against honouring him with jersey retirement.
But as much as Markus Naslund (and the Sedins for that matter) get due recognition for being honest honourable men, such characterization should be taken in the context of time and place.
By the time Naslund made it to the NHL, it was a reasonably easy adjustment. After all, that trail had been blazed many times over by his countrymen. And with a good grasp of the English language, not to mention, a free society, it was hardly the culture clash that young Russians arriving in North America in the wake of the fall of communism had to endure.
Make no mistake, young men like Alex Mogilny (who pretended he was afraid of flying so he could stay in Buffalo and shag his girlfriend) or Pavel were breaking fresh ground on so many levels, making mistakes along the way. Really, it is any wonder that Russian players are labelled greedy malcontents while the Swedes get tagged as stoically honest?
As Mike Gillis has rightly noted, there are two sides to this story. And while we could explore further, it’s all really “he said, she said” at this point, not that anyone is talking anyway. In the end, it could be said that the Canucks had zero experience in handling Pavel’s potential prima donna antics. It’s no stretch to say that there were missteps by both parties.
What is clear is that Bure was the most remarkable player to play for this team. While his point totals do not rank near Naslund (in part to his injury problems and in part to his request to be traded), his point and goal per game totals are off the charts and will likely never be surpassed. He is as responsible for the development of the Canucks’ brand as any single player. And in the entertainment business, what is more important than that?
The biggest problem facing Mike Gillis right now is what if you threw a party (ring of honour or jersey retirement) and the guest of honour didn’t show? Some have rumoured that Bure has requested to not be recognized or affiliated with any club - a further extension of his shy retiring persona. Indeed, like his boyish lookalike, he’d rather be “Home Alone”.
But really, such honours are not about the player as much as they are about the organization and its fan base and honouring those who are worthy whether they want it or not.
In the end, Gillis knows Pavel as well as anyone. His latest comments have opened the door for some official recognition. And you’d think if anyone can mend the fences between the organization and it’s fallen superstar, it would be Gillis. He should even be able to pronounce his name properly, something he had difficulty with when introducing inaugural retired jersey inductee Stan Smyl (Mike, that’s Smeel, not Shmeel) at Saturday night’s party.
You would think that we will know Pavel’s fate rather soon. With two more ring of honour inductees to be named before season’s end, if he’s not one of them, then perhaps something bigger is in the works down the road. We hope there is.
From the rain tortured slopes of the North Shore mountains, we interrupt our ark building to revisit a topic we covered this past summer; that is this Saturday’s ceremony to officially retire Markus Naslund’s number 19. With this esteemed honour, Naslund will join fellow long time Canuck captains Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl as the only players to have their jerseys hoisted to the rafters.
This induction has been a somewhat divisive proclamation amongst the Canuck faithful, some referring to Saturday’s ceremony as simply “Markus Naslund Sham Night” - the best opportunity for a season ticket holder to dump a regular season seat for a healthy profit.
It is easy to argue that Naslund does not belong in the company of Smyl and Linden simply because as a leader he did not accomplish the post season success that they did. Nor did he embody their workman-like heart and soul; qualities that are typically more likely to win over the adoration of the fan base in this market.
But after Pavel Bure, he was the Canucks next bonafide superstar, or at least, perennial all-star. For a good number of seasons, he was the best left winger in hockey during the height of the dead puck era. By winning a Lester Pearson award, he was clearly respected by his playing colleagues throughout the league.
Perhaps most importantly to those making the induction decision, he was a classy fellow who put his community obligations first and foremost. He was a genuinely nice guy it seemed; so much so that he was able to befriend the certifiably gruff Todd Bertuzzi.
We say that retiring Markus’ number is lowering the bar. With induction being limited to only Smyl and Linden to date (as opposed to skill players like Bure or, even, Thomas Gradin), a premium has been historically placed on leadership and playoff success.
As we all know, Naslund’s teams were perennial playoff busts. And his fans will argue that Markus can’t be held responsible for the fact that his goal-keeper couldn’t stop a beach ball when it mattered most. And that’s fair.
But here’s the thing; leaders lead. Or at least good ones do. Markus did not. In fact, when it came to crunch time, Naslund, being the intelligent and sensitive man that he was, wilted under the pressure. How do we know this? How can we prove this? Well, since Naslund was not a physical player nor an old school holler guy, his opportunity to lead was through his goal scoring talent. So what do you remember?
When you think of clutch goal scoring in Canuck history, you think of Pavel Bure, Geoff Courtnall, Greg Adams, Brendan Morrison, Trevor Linden, Mattias Ohlund and Daniel Sedin. Naslund does not even enter the discussion.
In fact, what you remember about Naslund, the goal scorer, is wrist shots from the sideboards on the power play. You remember him forgetting the puck at centre ice during a shootout. You remember his coach being so afraid to use the team’s highest scoring player ever that he typically found his ass nailed to the bench during the tie-breaking session. Can you imagine that happening to Trevor Linden, who despite a declining skill set, was still such a valuable clutch player that he became a most successful shootout specialist in his latter years?
Forget for a moment about what we might remember, what do the stats tell us? Well, the stats tell us that Naslund lit it up against inferior opponents. On a point-per-game basis, the teams he was most successful against were Atlanta, Columbus, Toronto, Anaheim, Edmonton and Nashville - hardly a collection of the league’s elite. And his post season line? A paltry 33 points in 45 games and a minus 9.
Really, what was Markus Naslund’s defining moment? For too many, it was the “we choked” apology speech after a stretch drive collapse that cost them a division title. Or no less memorably, the Steve Moore elbow to the head that cued best friend Todd Bertuzzi’s side show that still lingers over this franchise and this great game to this day.
When you get right down to it, Naslund was not a heroic figure that deserves celebration, but more likely a tragic figure that draws our sympathy.
And in the sorry history of this franchise, perhaps that’s enough. But what it really means is that the bar it now lowered to include skillful players with great regular seasons, and nothing more.
And if it is, then what about Pavel Bure? Our first, and arguably only, superstar (not to mention, likely Hockey Hall of Famer). And then surely what about the twins? Another season or two of regular season dominance followed by playoff failure should be enough to enshrine them, too? And before you know it, our rafters will look like Molson Centre but missing the most important piece - a single Stanley Cup playoff banner.
As a side note, we find it interesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs have yet to retire Mats Sundin’s number. It’s a pretty easy argument to make that he mattered more to Leaf Nation than Naslund ever did to ours.
In the end, we can passively accept the Naslund induction on the very simple premise that this franchise has had so little to honour, though it only means that our campaigning for Pavel Bure will continue in earnest. Can you guess the topic of our next blog entry?
As part of the Canucks’ 40th anniversary celebrations, there will be four inductees into what is being referred to as the “Ring of Honour”, which is meant to honour those who fall short of jersey retirement (limited so far to Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden and, shortly, Markus Naslund).
So far two players have already been inducted: original Captain Canuck, Orland Kurtenbach and Captain Kirk (the most successful Canuck goalie to date), Kirk McLean. It’s difficult to find fault with either of these selections, who clearly fall short of jersey retirement status but were both integral players in Canuck history.
Kurtenbach had a reputation as one of the genuinely toughest guys of his generation and led an expansion crew, that at the very least, was tough to play against. And while he played only a mostly injury plagued four seasons with Vancouver and despite not having an official capacity with the team since a brief coaching stint in the late 70’s, he has often been an ambassador for the team.
McLean, of course, was one of the key players (arguably the most valuable player) of the famed ‘94 near Cup squad. But while this moment in time certainly stands as his high water mark, he was a consistently strong netminder, and really, the first Canuck goalie to achieve a long run of high calibre backstopping.
So that brings us to the question on the minds of the long term faithful, who else should be rightly honoured? As stated, there will be two more inductees this season and those within the organization who know have been sworn to secrecy.
The elephant in the room, of course, is Pavel Bure. How his number is not being retired before the likes of Markus Naslund, is simply stated, a typically Canuck conundrum - an issue we covered in great detail here this summer. He will almost certainly be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in due course and be the only true Canuck representative in hockey’s hallowed shrine.
On this basis alone, you’d think one day his number will hang from the rafters at Rogers Arena, after he’s paid whatever penance the club sees fit for holding his breath until he was shipped out of town. So it follows that he’s above and beyond the “Ring of Honour”. Or at least, he should be.
But putting aside the Russian Rocket for now, who else is worthy in the “Ring of Honour”?
Well, if it were up to us (as it should be), we would allocate this year’s two other inductee spots to Harold Snepsts and Thomas Gradin.
Our man Harold logged the most games of any Canuck defender ever and was as tough as they came. And damn it, we’re prepared to forget about the pass to Mike Bossy with two seconds remaining in overtime in Game 1 of the ‘82 Stanley Cup Final. Indeed, despite that blunder, Harrrrrr-ollllllllld was arguably the biggest fan favourite in this town and always a menacing presence on the back end, something that today’s squad is often lacking. And it certainly helps that he has recently returned to the Canuck operation as part of the scouting crew.
When Thomas Gradin arrived in Vancouver as the best of the Swedish contingent that Jake Milford was pioneering in the NHL, his world class skill was immediately obvious; mostly because we’d never seen anything like it from a guy in a Canuck uniform. In the end, when he left Vancouver, he was the franchise point leader and had made plumber Stan Smyl a point per game player. Like Snepsts, he has been a member of the Canucks’ scouting crew for a few seasons and is solely responsible for the drafting of Alex Edler (who happens to sport Gradin’s number 23).
So what’s your take? In the end, it’s your “Ring of Honour”.
Of course, we mean this in a mostly tongue in cheek fashion, but with Jeff Tambellini’s demotion today to Winnipeg despite scoring twice in his limited time with the Sedins you have to wonder.
The first winger to achieve decent chemistry back when the twins were just fuzzy faced boys was Trent Klatt. After said success, Klatt had a personal chauffeur, Brian Burke, drive him to the airport as he chased more money and respect in LA only to have his career end one year later.
After Klatt, came Magnus Arvedson. Coming from Ottawa as a two way winger capable of 15 to 20 goals per season, Arvedson was supposed to be a perfect fit to join his Swedish brethren, but it never worked and he (while ending his NHL career that season) was replaced quickly by Jason King. King came from nowhere (we mean Newfoundland) and after scoring early and often with the Sedins was back in the AHL before the season was over and has since played a grand total of 4 NHL games.
And, of course, no one can forget everyone’s favourite Sedin brother, Anson Carter, who racked up an incredible season only to think that he was solely responsible for it chasing better money out of town and in less than one season was out of the NHL.
After Carter, the winger to get the most Sedin ice time was one Markus Naslund. During his mostly two years with twins he racked up paltry goal and assist totals compared to what he had done in the previous 5 seasons. And, of course, the supposed Canuck icon left town shortly thereafer for one final mediocre season in New York.
The next chosen child was Steve Bernier, who arrived in town as a still highly prized prospect. The big man with the right hand shot that would so easily pull an “Anson Carter” did not. In fact, the experiment was short lived. And after 2 seasons here, mostly as a third liner, he was shipped to hockey purgatory in Florida.
And you might remember Sergei Shirokov, last season’s training camp darling who began the season as the designated right hand power play shooter with the Sedins. 6 games and no points later, he, too, was off to Winnipeg and hasn’t been seen since.
But what about Alex Burrows? With the Sedins at his side, he’s evolved from grinding winger to sniping sister right? Yes, but after being an ironman since his arrival here 5 seasons ago he has now had to battle through a shoulder problem, making his return tonight while Tambellini makes his way to the Moose.
Let’s hope that Burrows is the exception to what has been a mostly miserable rule.