Sunday morning homily V

All along, we’ve known that Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin played with en edge. From the tinted Robocop visor on his helmet to the leg kick included in every breakaway, it is easy to see that the Russian was different. Now, after last night’s nasty hit on Buffalo’s Daniel Briere, we know he has a bit of a dirty streak, too.

Ovechkin received a game misconduct after nailing from behind the Sabres' diminutive co-captain near the team’s bench. Though Ovechkin later called it an accident, the Sabres’ Paul Gaustad didn’t see it that way. In the immediate melee, he lit up the punchless Ovechkin like a cheap Christmas tree.

While the NHL determines whether the hit warrants a suspension, it’s my belief Ovechkin should be more worried about other repercussions. Not only did his actions create an impression that he's a cheap-shot artist who won’t defend himself, but he’ll also have a mile-wide target on his back when the Sabres and Capitals meet the day after Christmas in Buffalo.

Vermont’s looking good

Who, in their right mind, is going to pick up John Leclair? Let’s get real here. He’s 37 years old and makes $1.5 million a year. Even if he’s picked up on re-entry waivers, meaning the Penguins would still be on the hook for half of his remaining salary, what kind of return would any team get? In limited ice time this season, the two-time 50-goal scorer has just two goals and seven points.

The Penguins are a team loaded with young talent, so you’d think they would keep Johnny Vermont’s veteran presence to help guide the kids through a building year. Waiving him, though, showed he’s not part of the Pens’ plan.

All too often, we see veteran players stumble from team to team in their final years, reducing themselves to nothing more than a sideshow. Count me among those who hope Leclair has enough confidence in his body of work to know that it’s time to retire.

A big week ahead

With the Sabres and Ducks coming to town this week, conditions exist to add another 40 to 50 autographed pucks to the collection. Thanks to changes in each team’s logo, meaning a new item for every puck-worthy player, and time off from work on game days, I should have ample opportunity to chip away at my new goal of 1,200 pucks.

Better yet, though, is that the Sabres are one of the best road-signing teams in the league. Maxim Afinogenov may be a bit elusive, but most everyone else is a willing signer. The Ducks, with all of their stars, will draw a crowd. Thankfully, though, very few will know who is who.

Addendum: Another 46 pucks, including four from Anaheim's Teemu Selanne, were added to the collection.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home