Thursday, February 15, 2007

Number 21

Years ago, when I first became interested in hockey, mainly through video games with my friends, I chose the Colorado Avalanche as my team in the game as we all gravitated towards the top teams. (Dallas, Detriot, San Jose, Philadelphia, etc.) In an environment where everyone's picking the top teams and with the Predators in their second year of existence, sucking harder than a vaccuum cleaner with a clean filter, I felt vindicated in my choice. The Aves were loaded with stars back in those days, Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Rob Blake, Adam Foote, & of course Peter Forsberg.

Today, amazingly, Peter Forsberg was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Nashville Predators. The rumors had been around for a few days, and then today at 4:30 I saw a report on hockeybuzz that said a deal may be imminant. I glued myself to the computer, for better or worse, for the next few hours. Reports kept trickling in. Forsberg was quoted as saying something would happen before Monday. He then took part in warm-ups before the Flyers game against the Leafs, but didn't come back out. Then reports that the deal was agreed to, but not yet final. Upshall, Parent, 1st and 3rd rounders for Forsberg.


I've read a lot of reports that the Predators gave up a lot for a "rental" player who's "one big hit" away from not playing anymore this year. Well, here's my rebuttal:

Firstly, Upshall was on the team this year out of training camp. Sixty games later, he's only played 14. He wasn't playing in any of the top 3 lines, and the Preds had no space for him. Parent is going to be a good player one day. Maybe even next year. But it was a longshot for him to make the Preds. With Hamhuis, Suter, & Weber the Preds defense is already pretty young. Zidlicky has 3 years left on his deal, and Timonen is the Captain. Additionally with Kevin Klien and Cody Franson still in the minors, good young defensemen aren't exactly in short supply in Nashville. The draft picks could be a problem. However, the Preds will likely be drafting late in the first, in a draft that is considering shallow, so losing a late first is closer to losing a 2nd, and the 3rd akin to a fourth. Still, losing the draft picks could slow the Preds future, but their prospects already in the system should be enough to support the team for a while.

Secondly, Forsberg has been battling injuries lately, that's no secret. However, he's been fine recently, and his injuries aren't of the sort that will be brought on by a hard check. Of course, any player, at any time, can be injured on the ice by a stray puck or stick, or an especially hard hit, so that as an argument doesn't mean much to me. I do worry about his ankels, but from what I understand, his new skates (picked up over the All-Star break) are comfortable. At least comfortable enough.

Even if Forsberg does get injured, the Predators of this year don't lose much. And if Forsberg is healthy, and if he's inspired at all for another chance at the Cup, he can be the best player in the world once more. (And the Predators were already at the top of the NHL Standings, and the second highest scoring team.)

Additionally, adding Forsberg should help electrify a city, perhaps finally making the businesses in town realize what they have in the Predators. However, since the Preds are now the clear front runners for the Cup, and anything less than a Finals appearance will be considered a dissapointment by most.




H-O-L-Y Hell. How do you defend those top three lines? I dunno. I guess we'll see. :)


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