So this may be it. After the NHLPA teased us with the news that they were close to a deal to play hockey again, the NHL threw the cold water of voicemails on that announcement just a few hours later. The upshot?
I think we’re done here. I’ve said before I believe the owners are crazy enough to torpedo another season and that Donald Fehr and company aren’t going to just roll over for their demands. There seemed to be some optimism around Fehr and Commissioner Buttman being bounced from the negotiating table early last week, only for it to turn out that Sidney Crosby was not the brilliant tactician we thought he was.
And so we soldier on, with the only NHL hockey I was able to find in the last two days.
The Hockeenight recap of the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Washington Capitals from December 26th, 1996.
Some historical perspective. This is the game in which Sergei Fedorov scored 5 goals for the Wings, powering them to a 5-4 OT win over the Caps. The Wings were on their way to the first Stanley Cup since the 1954-55 season. They would win 3 in six seasons with Scotty Bowman at the helm of the team, then Mike Babcock would tack one on 5 years later and pretend that this made them a dynasty and that Babcock was the greatest thing since sliced bread, even though he now has as many Cups as Joel Quenneville who is dumb.
The Caps are in the midst of a putrid season, finishing the year with 75 points and out of the playoffs, resulting in the firing of head coach Jim “Have Another Donut You Fat Pig” Schoenfeld. At this point they are essentially a one man show: Peter Bondra scored 46 goals and 77 points in the 96-97 season with no one else on the team reaching 20 goals and Bondra finishing with 31 more points then the team’s next leading scorer, Dale Hunter (!).
Bondra of course is well known to Hawks fans who were paying attention in 2006-7 and saw him come back to play 37 games in order to drag himself across the 500 goal mark. In fact, there’s an amazing amount of guys who had cups of coffee with the Hawks playing in this game: Joe Reekie, Mike Eagles, Bondra, Phil Housley, Andre Nikolishin, Chris Simon and Greg Johnson. I believe they collectively played 108 games for Chicago.
Anyway, on to the game: a relatively fun and wide open affair, with lots of scoring chances and two mediocre goaltenders in Chris Osgood (HOF!) and Jim Carey. Seriously, remember Jim Carey? He was just coming off winning the Vezina Trophy. That’s right, Jim Carey won the Vezina. Later on in this season he was traded to the Bruins with Anson Carter and Jason Allison for Adam Oates, Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet. At the time, this was considered a very big deal.
Also, as a side note, because I really don’t care about this game and am just filling space, I have an irrational hatred for Jason Allison. The reason I hate him is that in 1998 he was a promising young forward and late one night it went across the ESPN crawl (these were the days when ESPN covered hockey) that the Hawks had acquired J. Allison in a trade. Of course, this turned out to be Jaime Allison who was absolute horseshit, meaning the Blackhawks managed to thrill us by accomplishing what was hereto thought to be impossible: the Hawks managed to trade away Jeff Shantz and Steve Dubinsky and still get the worse end of the deal. So, because of this, I hate Jason Allison.
Ah screw it.
Peter Bondra – Fedorov outscores him 5-2, but Bondra’s the guy you really notice out there. He was still at the height of his powers, and it seems like every time he touches the puck he makes something happen.
Fedorov – Well, duh. I will say this has to be the quietest 5 goal game in history. That’s not a knock on Fedorov, it’s that none of these goals are of the highlight reel variety. Sergei scores by getting to the right place on the ice and getting off a comically accurate wrist shot.
The Russian Five: Blinded by hatred in my younger days, I probably didn’t truly appreciate just how great these guys were. On two of Fedorov’s goals, he’s simply standing next to the net by himself, while the Caps are chasing Konstantinov and Larionov all over the ice. Fedorov’s mates draw all the defenders, then just slip the puck across to him on the weak side for easy tap-ins.
Throughout this game, the NHL Network kept up running its news crawl at the bottom of the screen. The problem? Well, the only piece of news it had to report during the entire two hours was: “NHLPA PROPOSAL REJECTED: NO TALKS SCHEDULED”
Talk about depressing.
Dale Hunter. Dale really missed his post-hockey calling. He looks like he should be playing some sort of Kentucky meth kingpin on Justified.