Sunday, September 11, 2005

 

Farewell to Three Wise D-Men

Three great defensemen, all hall of fame bound, have zipped up the hockey bag for the last time. Al Macinnis, Scott Stevens, and James Patrick.

Macinnis was known as the guy that could make every goalie cringe. (that's what happens when you split a goalies mask with your shot, as he did to Mike Liut) The reputation that he carried of having the hardest shot in the NHL was mentioned by every announcer every time he stepped on the ice. In 1989 he not only won a cup with Calgary, but he won the Conn Smythe for MVP of the play-offs. He is a rare player who actually is claimed by two teams. Calgary and St. Louis. You hate to think that you won't see that shot again. Unless you are a goalie of course.

Stevens…well, growing up in Philadelphia of course I have seen too much of Scott Stevens. The Lindros hit is all that needs to be said about that. Scott caused me years of anguish. It is hard to remember him as a Capital, but he was for many years, before his brief stint in St. Louis. He ended up in NJ after an arbitration case awarded him to the Devils following the Blues signing of Shanahan. At the time Shanahan was the big name, and Brendan has had an amazing career. But that arbitrator helped turn the Devils from as Gretzky put it, “A Mickey Mouse Franchise” into a mini Dynasty. Stevens may have been the most intimidating player on the ice in the decade of the 90's. And (almost) every one of those bone-crunching hits was clean. He just had an amazing ability to time his weight distribution and completely level his opponent.

James Patrick is the picture of class, and the kind of player the NHL needs more of today. An intelligent, well-spoken ambassador to the game, who spent over twenty years in the NHL. Most will think of him as a Ranger, but he also made huge impacts in Calgary and Buffalo. You always hear his name equated with class at every turn. And due to his experience and communicative abilities he was always the first guy to bring a young guy along. I don't know his future plans, but I can only hope he intends to stay in hockey for a long, long time. We need him.

As for some rumors for you today….

It is looking more and more like the Thrashers will sign Kovalchuk soon, and follow that up with Peter Bondra…



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