Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tale of Two Comebacks

Monday was the biggest day for players coming back to the NHL. First, it was the announcement of Peter Forsberg trying to do it all again with the Colorado Avalanche in a Brett Favre kind of fashion. The second was Ray Emery coming back after signing with the Anaheim Ducks. Both stories have to do with guys coming back from career-threatening injuries, but why does Emery's signing make people feel better than the Forsberg one??

The obvious answer is that Forsberg has done this before and will probably do it again until someone tells him....enough. But it's a story where there's a guy who is a champion and still wants to get out there and prove that he's got something left. The winning spirit is something to be admired, but if he flops again (not like diving) will even the Avalanche give him a chance again?? It's a matter of time before the teams just forget about the past accomplishments and have to cut anchor and go away.

With Emery, though-- it's a story of an up-and-down guy. He came through the ranks of the Ottawa Senators organization, he led them to a Cup Final. Then, once he got the extension from the team-- things went south and the team bought him out. He went to Russia, played decent-- but got into a trouble off the ice, which soured him in Russia. He was able to get back with the Flyers before he went down to a serious injury-- threatening his career....only at age 28.

When I look at it, the fact remains that we always feel bad for guy's who have their career's cut short by injury and not care about guys who are older coming back, mostly because they have actually achieved all they wanted. Granted, Forsberg has been through this rodeo before and he's someone who people are tired of hearing about because the prolonged process he has put everyone through; but it shouldn't discount his plight. He's Cinderella, trying to find the boot that fits him so he can play again. And if he can become effective again, I think it's a good story in the end and makes his plight all the better, because he could actually do what he set out to.

With Emery, it's a good story for him coming back from a serious injury, but at the same time...I don't know if I'm completely sold on it just yet. He'll definitely help the depth of the Ducks, but is there going to be a time where he blows up and becomes more a distraction than what's needed?? The Ducks are bouncing back nicely from early season struggles and if he were to disrupt something there-- is it really that good a story?? Maybe this injury has opened his eyes on dealing with difficult professional situations, but if not-- it could be interesting to see how it is.

In any case, Emery starts on his road back with the Ducks AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, while Forsberg seems to be plying his time and will return straight to the Avs line-up, seeing as he has a no-trade and no-movement clause in the pro-rated deal. Will either of these stories have a happy ending or will the script stay the same?? If nothing else, it'll be a fun sub-plot to look at as the season winds down.

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