Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On the Topic Of World Juniors Promotions and Relegations

After seeing the scores from Day One of the World Junior Championships and seeing the US demolish Denmark 11-3 and Sweden overtake Latvia 9-4 (the latter being closer until the third period)-- it made me wonder how these more unknown or "developing" hockey countries are able to keep getting into the tournament, only to get trounced in the opening rounds and really only focus on not getting relegated.

Ironically enough, the two teams who did get beat badly were the last two teams who were promoted to the top division of the World Juniors. That also made me wonder about how quick of a turnaround the promoted teams have had after being promoted and if they were only to be relegated that next year. Tracking the last ten tournaments-- here's the results:

2002: Out: France; In: Germany
2003: Out: Germany, Belarus; In: Austria, Ukraine
2004: Out: Austria, Ukraine; In: Germany, Belarus
2005: Out: Germany, Belarus; In: Norway, Latvia
2006: Out: Norway, Latvia; In: Germany, Belarus
2007: Out: Germany, Belarus; In: Denmark, Kazakhstan
2008: Out: Denmark, Switzerland; In: Germany, Latvia
2009: Out: Germany, Kazakhstan; In: Austria, Switzerland
2010: Out: Latvia, Austria; In: Germany, Norway
2011: Out: Germany, Norway; In: Denmark, Latvia

As you can see, the turnover in the nations is something that is alarming in the fact that almost as quick as the teams get into the top division of the WJC, they get out just as quickly. The only exception to the point right now is Switzerland, who seems to have found their stride in their junior program and is on their third straight tournament.

I'm all for the ideal of developing nations getting a chance to be displayed and have their chance to go against the top dogs in order to see what they are made of, but at what point do you wonder if the turnover is too much to deal with??

When you look at these results, you have to wonder if there's an actual quick fix-- because the teams who get relegated are often too good for the Division 1A championships. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground which could be alarming or just happenstance of the system. The IIHF can only do so much with the system they have in place without creating another division which will only persist the middling effect. That, or have some sort of rules that if you do get relegated you have to have a time-set before you can actually be promoted to the higher rank or a if you get promoted, a time-set before you get relegated again. Seems simple enough-- but at the same time; just seems like it would create more of a confusing situation.

Also, you have to wonder if the whole idea of less teams could be better, which would never happen because they seem to have the formula down right now with the amount of teams and the scheduling around it. That, and it'd be another situation like we have now where if one of the teams were relegated outside of the "Big Eight" in hockey, they would dominate in the lower division and be right back up again.

For me, it seems like a bad situation where you have teams going out there and getting embarrassed on the world stage like the WJC has become. Plus, it could be off-putting for the kids at home watching this game in their own countries because while they'll have players here and there come out of their country and make it the pros because of individual skill-- the skill as a whole just isn't there and would dampen some spirits in the process.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Mario Brunetta

This week's instalment has quite the interesting route to gain some kind of success. While he did have a chance in the the pros, he plied his trade more over in the Europe-- while helping grow sport in one of the unknown spots of European hockey. This week, the profile of Mario Brunetta.

Brunetta started his career off in the Quebec Midget AAA ranks with the Ste-Foy Gouverneurs starting in the 1982-83 season, playing in 22 that season with a 17-4-1 record and 4-1 in five playoff games, while in the 1983-84 season, Brunetta went 11-23-4 in 39 games, but 8-3 in the playoffs.

Brunetta made the move to the QMJHL in the 1984-85 season with the Quebec Remparts, going 20-18-1 in 45 appearances, then 0-2 in the playoffs. Brunetta was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1985 NHL Draft, but the 1985-86 season moved Brunetta to the Laval Titan, playing in 63 games and finishing with a record of 30-28-1 while going 9-5 in 14 playoff games. Back with Laval in the 1986-87 season, Brunetta compiled a 27-25-4 record in 59 games and an 8-6 record in 14 playoff games.

The 1987-88 season bumped Brunetta to the pro ranks, mainly with the Nordiques, finishing with a 10-12-1 record in 29 games that season, while also spending time in the AHL with the Fredericton Express going 4-1-0 in five games there. The bulk of the 1988-89 season for Brunetta was spent in the AHL with the Halifax Citadels, going 14-14-5 in 36 games while going 1-3-0 in five games with the Nordiques. Brunetta stucks with Halifax for the majority of the 1989-90 season, finishing with a 8-14-2 record in 24 games, but then getting the called from the Nordiques to play in six games with a 1-2-0 record.

During the summer of 1990, Brunetta was released by the Nordiques. Without a contract in North America, Brunetta went overseas to Italy to play for HC Asiago, playing in 93 games from the 1990-91 season until the 1992-93 season. Brunetta went onto play for SG Milano Saima for the 1993-94 and 1994-95 season, spanning 29 games. The 1995-96 season had Brunetta play in 40 games for Varese Hockey.

Starting in the 1996-97 season, Brunetta went over to Germany to play for EHC Eisbaren Berlin for three season until the 1998-99 season for 111 games, getting them to the Finals in 1998, but losing in the championship game. Brunetta moved to Sweden for the 1999-2000 season, playing 28 games for Frolunda before he would go back to Germany in the 2000-01 season with ERC Ingolstadt, which would last for two seasons for 86 games, where he would put up seven shutouts in that time. Brunetta moved back to North America to play 10 games for the Quebec Semi-Pro League's Quebec Aces, going 3-4-0 before hanging up his pads.

During his playing tenure, Brunetta played for Italy in international competitions, as he got Italian citizenship when playing overseas. He played in three World Championships for Italy in 1995, 1998, and 2002-- going 1-3-1 in eight games played. He also played for Italy in the 1998 Olympics, losing the only game he played in.

Not the most orthodox career path, but Brunetta found a way to actually get himself into international play when he probably wouldn't have otherwise. While he did get pushed out of the way in Quebec, he didn't give up and probably helped out some of the programs in Italy grow because of his experience in the NHL. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

World Juniors Time Again

While I could go ahead and do a preview, team-by-team, of the 2012 World Junior Championship in Alberta-- I'm not that kind of guy. Plus, the fact you can get them anywhere in a number of places-- not too much my style. This is a tournament could be second to the Olympics when it comes to national pride. Especially for Canada. 

This is a tournament that is always hyped up around the hockey world and really gets a solid focus, unless the World Championships, which gets lost in the NHL Playoffs; thus making it hard for people in North America to have that same pride because their club team could still be in it and the access to the games aren't always there. 

For the players, this is a big chance for them, considering some of them are draft eligible and want to show off their wears to the NHL world in hopes of getting drafted. For some of them, it could be the only time they get to represent their country on such a stage; making them want to give their all for such an event. 

The kids themselves will have to deal with a lot of pressure. The Canadians will be on home ice, and with the team not having won a Gold in two tournaments, losing both of the last two championship games-- Don Hay and his squad will have to worry about not only playing well, but making sure the local media doesn't get to be too much for them. The defending champions in Russia will be playing with heavy hearts due to the Lokomotiv tragedy this summer, losing two of their top players-- but this year, they have a top squad and are primed to repeat. The USA is a team that last won the Gold in Canada and should have a solid squad, despite many of the cut players not enjoying their time or thinking it's fair. You can never forget the Scandinavian contingent of Sweden and Finland would could really throw a wreck in the spokes of a top contender. Plus, you can always have a "Cinderella" of the Czech, Slovaks, Swiss, Latvians, or Danes-- but don't count much on it. 

The fact of the matter is that the holiday tradition is one that always get plenty of attention, whether it's to see the future of the NHL coming up, country pride, or just to have some frantic moments that will give some a break for their NHL teams that may not be doing so well-- it's an event that always seems to bring out the Olympic-like support year after year. This year should be another exciting tournament, so I hope somehow you can find a way to watch. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Ed Staniowski

This week's AGM was a guy who battled for a spot when it came to getting game time and being able to actually get a spot. After his career was done, he took on another battle that was entirely different. This week, the profile of Ed Staniowski.

As a junior, Staniowski played for the Regina Pats in the WHL from the 1971-72 season until the 1974-75 season, being the starter in those days, winning the Memorial Cup with the Pats in the 1973-74 season. Staniowski also played in the 1975 World Junior tournament, going 2-0-0 for Canada, as they would get silver in that tournament. Staniowski was the inaugural CHL Player of the Year in the 1974-75 season and was selected 27th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 1974 NHL Draft.

Staniowski started his pro-career in the 1975-76 season with the Providence Reds of the AHL for 29 games, finishing with a 15-11-1 record, but got called-up to St. Louis for 11 games and compiling a 5-3-2 record, then going 1-2 in the playoffs. The 1976-77 season had Staniowski spend some time in the Central League, playing for the Kansas City Blues for 17 games (8-9-0) before being recalled to St. Louis, where he would play in 29 games and finish with a 10-16-1 record, before going 0-2 in three playoff appearances. The 1977-78 season had Staniowski start in St. Louis, but after going 1-10-0 in 11 games, he was sent to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the Central League, where he would go 18-13-0 in the regular season and 2-4 in the post-season. The 1978-79 season had Staniowski play in 39 games with St. Louis, but only going 9-25-3 before being shipped back to Salt Lake, where he'd go 2-2-1 in five games. Staniowski also played for Canada in 1979 World Championships, going 1-1-0 in three games. The 1979-80 season saw Staniowski play the majority of time in St. Louis, going 2-11-3 in 22 appearances, while getting sent back to Salt Lake for a 3-1-0 record in four games there. In the 1980-81 season, Staniowski had his best season in St. Louis, going 10-3-3 in 19 games that season, sticking with the big club the entire season.

However, in the summer of 1981, Staniowski was traded from St. Louis to Winnipeg. With the Jets in the 1981-82 season, Staniowski went 20-19-6 in 45 games, then 0-2 in the playoffs. The 1982-83 season saw Staniowski get much less playing time, going 4-8-0 in only 17 games with Winnipeg before being sent to the AHL's Sherbrooke Jets, playing 10 games there, going 1-7-0. The 1983-84 season saw Staniowski play only one game for the Jets, a no-decision.

Staniowski was traded to the Hartford Whalers in November of 1983 for former AGM Mike Veisor. Staniowski would go 6-9-1 in 18 games in that 1983-84 season. Staniowski would play only one game for Hartford in the 1984-85 season (a no-decision), before being sent to the AHL's Binghamton Whalers, where he would go 4-4-2 in ten games. Also, that season saw Staniowski play in nine games with Salt Lake again, going 4-5-0 in those games. After that season, Staniowski hung up the pads.

Immediately after retiring, Staniowski answered the call for his country, but not in a hockey sense. Staniowski joined the Canadian Forces Reserves in 1985 and has made many tours overseas-- including Afghanistan, Africa, Bosnia, and the Middle East. He served as the Senior Advisor to the Armed Forces in Sierra Leone and is now the Director of Primary Reserve training in Kingston, Ontario. Staniowski was going to enroll in the Royal Military College in Kingston before he was drafted by the Blues.

For a guy who braved the shots in the NHL, there's probably nothing more braver for Staniowski than to put himself into the Armed Forces and serve his country like he has been doing for almost three decades. While he may have never left his mark much on the NHL, he has beyond that to people who need it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Need vs. Want for Sidney Crosby

With the news of Sidney Crosby being out indefinitely again due to concussion-like symptoms, many people started to worry about the health of the young superstar. While I don't like him or his team, I definitely worry about his health because I'm not a total bastard. That said, the comparison from someone from Twitter that puts Crosby as the modern-day Lindros is a very worrisome thought.

Of course, you're going to get every pundit under the sun talking about concussions and their toll and the steps the NHL needs to do more when it comes to protecting the players-- next step is bubble-wrap, if I remember correctly. However, there's one thought that bothers me-- Sidney Crosby being out is bad for the NHL. The NHL needs Crosby.

With all due respect, the NHL does not need Sidney Crosby to play to survive. They want him to play because he is the marketing tool for the league, but the NHL does not need Crosby on the ice to promote a product.

That thought and people saying something to that extent is a slap in the fact to the 400-plus other players who will play in the NHL this season. While I understand what people are getting when they say the NHL needs Crosby, especially since he's been the center of everything they put out-- and with good cause of course-- but that's just the fault of the league for doing that. Since they put all their eggs in one basket, they run the risk of having them tumble and break-- for lack of a better analogy.

The NHL is kind of like the WWE. It's not just the gimmicks they pull out or the story lines created, it's the fact they can create stars if the players are given the right chance. Yes, skill will definitely get you noticed, but if you're not on the right team or have the right story or in the right area-- the NHL and their partners may not promote you-- which is their right. They need to sell tickets, they need to sell merchandise, so the even share cannot be there. There's plenty of guys with skill out in the league

If you didn't look it up, would you remember that Brian Elliott is tied for the lead in shutouts?? Heck, if you didn't look it up, would you know that Steven Stamkos is top-five in points and goals?? If anything, the Crosby injury allows the other players in the league to actually step up and showcase their skill and get their team that press, to get them those sales, to get them noticed and maybe make them better by adding players who want to be in the new hot-spot for the NHL. However, if the NHL and the other media doesn't push the players because it's not a "sexy" story-- that's a disservice to the fans, especially those who are trying to get into the game through TV games, yet only see maybe a dozen different teams through the year, if they're lucky.

Fact of the matter is this, Sidney Crosby is the pinnacle player and will continue to be when he gets back, whenever that may be. He has the credentials and hardware to always be at the top of mountain because he earned it through his actual skill and being exposed to the masses. Wouldn't it be great if someone else could actually get noticed for their skill and get exposed to the masses because Crosby's injured?? It's a bittersweet thought, but the more players and teams that are known to the fans means better health for the league as a whole.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Frederic Chabot

With an unorthodox way into the NHL, this week's AGM is a guy who travelled through two major junior leagues before he was signed by a NHL team. While he did have a great career in the IHL and overseas; he got into organizations who didn't need the goaltending or didn't have the space for him to fit into. This week's AGM is Frederic Chabot.

Chabot started off in Midget AAA in Quebec with Trois-Rivieres Selects, playing in 34 games with a 25-9-0 record before moving onto the QMJHL in the 1986-87 season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, playing in 62 games that season with a 31-30-0 record, then 2-6 in eight playoff appearances. The 1987-88 was a better on while in Drummondville, with Chabot going 27-24-4 in 58 games, but a 10-6 record in 16 playoff games; though they lost to the Hull Olympiques in the Finals. Chabot also went 0-3 in the three Memorial Cup games that Drummondville played in.

As an "over-aged" player, Drummondville waived Chabot and he landed in the WHL for the 1988-89 season, playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors, but ending his season there with the Prince Albert Raiders.

As his junior career ended, Chabot went to the IHL to play with the Fort Wayne Komets for the 1989-90 season, playing in 23 games with a 6-13-3 record. However, midway through the season, Chabot signed with the Montreal Canadiens, where they would place him in the AHL with the Sherbrooke Canadiens, going 1-1-0 in two games.

Chabot was back in the AHL for the bulk of the 1990-91 season, playing with the Fredericton Canadiens, going 9-15-5 in 35 games; also getting called up by Montreal for three games, going 0-0-1 in those appearances. Chabot was back with Fredericton in the 1991-92 season, compiling a 17-9-4 record in 30 games; then a 3-4 record in seven playoff games. Chabot also spent 24 games in the ECHL with the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds, finishing with a 15-7-2 record. The 1992-93 season had Chabot play in 45 games for Fredericton and finishing with a 22-17-4 record, then a 1-3 playoff record. Chabot racked up the travel miles for himself in the 1993-94 season, playing for Fredericton for three games (0-1-1), then moving to the IHL's Las Vegas Thunder for two games (1-1-0) and Montreal for one (0-1-0).

Chabot was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers for cash, playing in four games for the Flyers and going 0-1-1. He would spent the bulk of his time with the AHL's Hershey Bears, finishing with a 13-5-6 record in 28 games, then 7-4 in 11 playoff games. Chabot was awarded the Baz Bastien Award for AHL's Outstanding Goaltender.

Chabot signed with the Florida Panthers before the 1994-95 season, but he would play in the IHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones, posting a 25-12-7 record in 48 games, then 3-2 in five playoff games. Back in Cincinnati for the 1995-96 season, Chabot had a 23-9-4 record in his 38 games, then going 9-5 in 14 playoff games. The 1996-97 season saw Chabot play with the Houston Aeros of the IHL, going 39-26-7 in 72 games before going 8-5 in 13 playoff games. That season, Chabot was awarded the James Gatschene Memorial Trophy for IHL MVP.

The Los Angeles Kings signed Chabot for the 1997-98 season, but only played 12 games for them, finishing with a 3-3-2 record. Chabot spent the rest of the year with Houston again, finishing with a 12-7-2 record and 1-3 playoff record that season.

The summer of 1998 was confusing for Chabot-- who was claimed by the Nashville Predators in the Expansion Draft; then picked off waivers by the Kings again, finally picked up off waivers again by the Montreal Canadiens. Chabot spent 11 games with Montreal in the 1998-99 season, finishing with a 1-3-0 record in Montreal, but most of his time would be back in Houston; going 16-4-1 in 22 games there. In the 1999-2000 season, Chabot was back in Houston, playing in 62 games and finished with a 36-19-7 record and going 6-5 in 11 playoff games. Chabot racked up the awards, winning the Gatschene Trophy for MVP again, sharing with Nikolai Khabibulin, while also winning the James Norris Trophy for fewest goals against. Chabot was back in Houston in the 2000-01 season, finishing with a 23-16-5 in 47 games, then going 3-4 in the playoffs.

Starting in the 2001-02 season, Chabot moved it over season-- playing for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers from 2001 until 2004. In the 2004-05 season, Chabot moved to Austria to play with the Vienna Capitals before going back to Germany for the 2005-06 season, this time with Alder Mannheim. After that season, Chabot hung up the pads for good.

Chabot would go far from hockey, as he stayed in Europe to be the goaltending coach for AIK Stockholm (Sweden) in 2006, then over to Germany to coach for the Berlin Ice Bears, before returning to North America to be the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers. Chabot has also had ties with Hockey Canada's World Junior Program.

While he did get bounced around a lot and mostly made relief duties, the time he spent in the minors allowed him to garner knowledge to pass around to the youth players coming up through the ranks and now onto the new generation of goalies in Edmonton.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Salvation in Realignment??

The picture above is what everyone is raving about today. During the Board of Governor's meeting, 26 of the 30 teams approved of the idea, with only NHLPA agreement needed for ratification. The jist is that it's four different "conferences" (let's just call them divisions....or "confervision")-- two with eight, two with seven-- and then the top four will go to the playoffs, then move on from there.

While it's great news for people who love divisional playoffs (me especially), it could be interesting for some teams when it comes to this whole thing saving some franchises. Columbus and Phoenix do get a bit of a reprieve, but now it just seems that the one "confervision" that will be interesting to see if two of them will survive in the next five/ten years.

When it comes to the old Northeast Division plus the Florida teams will be the most interesting set to look at-- especially with the future of the Florida Panthers. However, it would prime them to move to Quebec City, leaving Tampa in the lurch hoping for another realignment. You can imagine that the Lightning and Panthers were two of the four teams to not approve of this, and rightfully so-- the closest team in there "confervision" to each outside of the state of Florida is Boston (1,237 miles from Miami, 1,183 from Tampa); which is.....quite the haul for the home-and-home scheduling that seems to be formatted.

The Bolts are on good footing with their new ownership group restructuring themselves perfectly from the Oren Koules/Len Barrie bedlam that happened, so I don't think they'll have issues with the travel costs. The Panthers on the other hand, I feel a little sketchy about. Sure, they've been doing well this year, but still 21st in attendance with just over 15,000 people going to their home games, which is right around their average. There's been questions about their stability for a while, even with them being bought in 2009, but it's not as widely reported as other teams like the Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers.

Sure, there's some teams that this realignment helps, which is great-- that means hopefully less issues of which team is in peril this week and snap moves in the summer like we saw this past summer. Yet, you're always going to have the questions-- particularly when you have teams more than 1,000 miles from their nearest competition outside of their own state.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Goran Hogosta

This week's AGM is a guy who didn't get much of a chance or recognition for what he did in the NHL. However, when it comes to his homeland, he was much more well-known and appreciated. Even with all of that, he did make his mark in the NHL landscape for what he did. This week, the profile of Goran Hogosta.

For his junior year, Hogosta played with HC Tunabro in his home country of Sweden. He played there from the 1971-72 season until the 1973-74 season in a total of 31 games. While in that time of playing for a junior club, he was elected to the Swedish National Team for the European Junior Championships for the 1972 and 1973 tournaments, where Sweden would capture silver in both with Hogosta getting top goaltender honors in the 1973 tournament.

In the 1974-75 season until the 1976-77 season, Hogosta played for Leksands IF in the Swedish League for 90 games, helping them boost up to the elite level of the Swedish ladder. Also in that time, Hogosta played in three World European Championships for Sweden, winning a silver and two bronze medals while going 12-5-0 combined in all three tournaments; being named top goaltender in the 1977 tournament and on the All-Star Team of that tournament, as well. Hogosta along with Hardy Astrom participated in the first Canada Cup tournament, where he would win one game in one appearance.

In the summer of 1977, Hogosta was signed by the New York Islanders and would make the team out of training camp. On November 1st, 1977-- Hogosta became the first European born and European trained goalie to play in the NHL, though he only played for nine minutes. Hogosta spent the bulk of the 1977-78 season in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, where he would play 23 games with a 6-13-2 record. Hogosta also spent time that season with the Central League's Fort Worth Texans, going 3-2-0 in five games. The 1978-79 season had Hogosta back with Fort Worth, playing in 61 games and going 25-29-4 in those games, then 1-2 in three playoff games.

In August 1979, Hogosta was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for Richard Brodeur. Hogosta played with the Nordiques for 21 games in the 1979-80 season going 5-12-3, while playing in 17 games with the Syracuse Firebirds and finishing with a 4-9-4 record there.

After that season, Hogosta went back to Sweden to play with Vastra Frolunda HC from the 1980-81 season until the 1983-84 season for a total of 116 games before he would retire at the end of 1984. Hogosta would make a short comeback in the 1986-87 season with Leksands IF for four games before retiring for good.

He may not be notable for much, but Hogosta was the man who paved the way for the European goaltenders of today. He didn't stay around for North America for long, but what he did in Sweden helped him cement his legacy in his home country by playing for them many times over and putting on a great display each time.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

On the Topic Of Loyalty and Trade Rumors

Despite having a No-Movement Clause in his contract, rumors of Jarome Iginla being traded out of Calgary continue to be a hot topic the hockey world. While Iginla and GM Jay Feaster said that there's no trade imminent or even being considered-- these things still pop-up.

The biggest argument seems to be the desire for others around the league to see Iginla raise the Stanley Cup in almost a Ray Bourque-esque fashion. Yet, there's a guy across the country that had some questions about his future with the team he's been with his whole career; but it seems that he's been forgotten about when it comes down to it. That person is Daniel Alfredsson.

When you look at the two, there's a lot of similarities between the two:
  • Both played with the same team their whole career
  • Both the face of their franchise
  • Both long-term captains
  • Both right wingers
  • Both helped their team to the Stanley Cup Finals
  • Both won Gold Medals (though Iginla has two)
Though, as Spector's Hockey's Lyle Richardson pointed out on the November 30th FOHS, Iginla seems a little more of a desirable acquisition because of his playing style. He's a gritter player than Alfredsson, willing to go to the dirty areas for a puck, as well as stick up for himself when play gets rough.

Yet, at the same time-- you'd think that Alfredsson's offensive upside is what's needed when it boils down to needs-- especially with their ages coming into effect. Coming into the season, Alfredsson had a 0.97 points-per-game average, while Iginla had only a 0.91 average. Albeit, Alfredsson is older and has played less due to injury, but he knows how to put points on the board when he is healthy. Iginla's age is definitely another nod to his upside for teams looking to put something together that will apparently never happen. That said-- while he's a 35+ contract, Alfredsson doesn't have a No-Movement Clause in his contract; so if he wants to go-- he can be shipped out, but you know the Senators will respect his wishes if he wants to stay or not due to his tenure.

In the end though, neither of these guys are likely to be traded this season. Next season, maybe a different story for Alfredsson, but Iginla controls his own destiny. Plus, as Lyle said during the show, too-- not every player wants to have the Bourque moment and could be fine without winning the Cup, legacy be damned. Most fans and some GMs just like the return and if they don't get the return-- they resent the player and deem them to be selfish. The player is screwed if he wants out, screwed if he wants to stay.

The fact of the matter is that while Iginla is getting all the publicity; it's interesting to see Alfredsson pretty much getting pushed to the side, though they do have parallel careers in length and decent enough upsides-- though Iginla has the grit X-factor going for him. Just food for thought.