Big Wild extension for Koivu is justified, a salute to Sydor, more
Let's play a little game. Think about an NHL team and try to name a player who epitomizes everything the franchise stands for.
The Boston Bruins?
The Red Wings?
The Avs have
Thing is, not every team has that one guy, that stalwart against whom all others are and will be measured. But the Minnesota Wild might. And that's what makes yesterday's signing of captain
Granted, the money sounds
Without going into minutiae that might make Kesler, Zajac or Koivu more preferable, all three are solid centers with outstanding defensive games at the core of their skill sets. They all have solid, if unspectacular, offensive capabilities.
But it's worth noting here that unlike Zajac, who benefits from having
So it was widely assumed that Koivu would come in north of Kesler, probably somewhere in the $5.5 to $6 million range. But to see him reset the economic bar like that was entirely unexpected.
But that doesn't mean this wasn't the right deal for the Wild. And not just because GM
And that model aptly describes Koivu. He's not opposed to scoring, but he'll only seize the opportunity if it arises out of defensive discipline. There are no shortcuts in his game. Whatever's taken is earned. That is what the Wild are about. That's why last season he became the first permanent captain in franchise history. And that's why this was the best deal that Fletcher could have made.
Were there a few extra ladles of gravy poured on top? Maybe...but there will never come a day when the Wild are unhappy that Koivu is wearing their uniform. And now that Fletcher has made this investment, he has to go all in. That means upgrading Koivu's wings. It won't happen overnight, but at least one should be replaced next season. Anything less and Fletcher is sabotaging his own commitment.
That would be something Wild fans could get ticked about.
Even 18 years of honorable NHL service won't earn
The seventh overall pick in 1990 (by the Kings) played almost 1,300 games for six teams and picked up 507 points and 755 penalty minutes. Respectable totals, but not the sort that will be remembered for long after he settles into his new role as an assistant coach with the AHL's Houston Aeros.
Still, Sydor left me one unforgettable moment. It was early in Game 6 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Final, a night that would see the Devils skate the Cup at Reunion Arena in Dalllas. Might have even been Sydor's first shift of the night. Moments after
This is where it got good.
Sydor knew he wasn't going to get a whistle. And with his knee torn, he wasn't making it back to the bench, either. Some players would have just laid there and hoped for the best. Not Sydor. To the amazement of everyone in the crowd, but no one on the ice, he began heading for the net. Unable to skate, or even crawl, he painfully dragged himself by sheer force of will in the hope that his broken body might, at best, get in the way of a Devils shot. It was a play they still talk about in Dallas a decade later and it was, arguably, the single gutsiest moment I've witnessed in nearly two decades of covering the game. See for yourself.
They say you can't teach courage, but if anyone can, it's Sydor. Those kids in Houston will be lucky to have him.
Interesting change of direction by
It says here, though, that this was a solid move. The money was right -- $2 million next season and $2.5 in 2011-12 -- and there's a good chance that Corvo will re-discover the solid chemistry he enjoyed with partner
That said, the move also suggests that a deal might be coming. Rookie
A tip o' the cap to my old -- and I do mean