There’s a pretty decent lineup of notable news from around the hockey world this week. It turns out I’m not the only one noticing the ridiculous amount of injuries piling up, Forsberg’s aborted return, some speculation for Shanahan’s future amongst other bits and pieces from the week.
Forsberg Won’t Be Back
Despite tantalizing fantasy owners (and Vancouver GM Mike Gillis) with hints of an attempted return to the NHL, Peter Forsberg won’t be making the trip back from over the pond. The fact that he’s already day-to-day with with a foot issue and all he’s doing is working out didn’t exactly boost the confidence about his durability upon his return, but the NHL’s undoubtedly a less exciting league without a Forsberg at his finest. I have a hunch he’ll try it one more time next season, but we’ll see. Story link.
NHL Falling Over Itself
One possible starting lineup of players who’ve been out for an extended period of time this year would include Alex Ovechkin, Eric Staal, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Gonchar, Sheldon Souray and Cam Ward. The number of extended injuries to top-level players has been obscene, and while some have coped (Pittsburgh) others have completely capitulated (Carolina). No word on if this year is particularly better or worse than others, but it’s certainly raising questions about the overall safety/luck of today’s game. Which brings me to my next point… Story link.
Players Don’t Trust League Over Headshots
Yahoo’s PuckDaddy blog is usually good for an insightful post or two every couple days, and this week raised the question we’re all wondering about the supposed new headshot rules the NHL is looking to enforce: if headshots already were illegal, why is it taking a new law to make it enforced? Includes some surprisingly quality thoughts from Mike Milbury and other people within the game about the pros/cons of specifying an illegal act to such a degree, which is for the most part unheard of in the vagueness of NHL officiating. On the one hand, if there’s a more specific rule in place, that can theoretically only help there be more calls, but on the other hand, a ref’s definition of “hit to the head” could be a punitive damages or just as much a gray area as any other call in the game is anyway. Which, of course, has everyone doubting if anything’s actually changed. Like a broken record… Story link.
Shanny Goes To Toronto?
Hockey writer-of-record Jim Kelley made some good points about Shanahan’s unique combination of respect for and within the game, passion for hockey and cross-border appeal amongst both league execs and the players, posing him as a potential candidate for NHLPA leadership. Besides the fact that taking the reigns of the PA is akin to leaping into a snake pit without a whip, Kelley makes a good case (although it’s pure speculation at this point). Story link.
Stellar Class of 2010
Sarah Kwak of SI listed a pretty heady potential class for the Hall of Fame in 2010, with her top five choices (for four spots) of Guy Carbonneau, Pavel Bure, Dino Ciccarelli, Adam Oates and Doug Gilmour. I agree with her picks for Gilmour, Oates and Ciccarelli, but I can’t help but feel that, with other players such as Dave Andreychuk and Phil Housley available, that Andreychuk should be a shoe-in in 2010 over Bure or Carbonneau; their time will come, and probably next year at that. The dark horse amongst all this is Eric Lindros, but to me he’s in the same category as Pavel Bure: great players, but not quite Hall worthy unless it’s a weak year and backed up names from before aren’t there at all. Then again, if Neely can make it, anything’s possible. Story link.