I told you so :: What do Californians know about hockey?
by JON SWENSON
SAN JOSE, CA. Nothing is more annoying than a pompous writer or fan looking at an event and saying "I told you so". Rules are meant to be broken, even annoying ones.
[Miracle movie and Igor Larionov]
New Yorker magazine interviewed Russian forward Igor Larionov about Miracle, the story of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team. Here was Larionov's reaction to the movie:
At the end of the movie, there was a standing ovation in the theatre, I just left. To be honest, I felt like I’d lost.
My friends played there—Krutov, Makarov, Fetisov, Kasatonov. I wish the guys in Hollywood had spent more time, maybe even just five minutes, to show the Russian side of the story.
This was almost my exact response after leaving the theater. Miracle was a good action movie. It tugged all the right patriotic heartstrings as Kurt Russel delivered the character performance of his career.
Far be it for me to say that Snake Pliskin [Escape from NY] or Jack Burton [Big Trouble in Little China] were not seminal character performances in American film, but Miracle captured a place and time that felt real. Miracle delivered something that was entertaining, compelling... and incomplete.
If the Russian players were portrayed in half the detail as the USA players, Miracle would have been a great movie. As it was, we were left with a few brief black-and-white film clips, and a few action sequences of stiff, scowling "automatons" to describe the Russian unit.
Igor Larionov was not a part of the Russian Olympic team that lost to the USA in 1980. Larionov was a part of the later "KLM line", which many refer to as the greatest line that ever played. I posted more about the KLM line along with a photo here.
Thanks to Off Wing for the link to the New Yorker article. Thanks to Vitali for sending me the complete 1980 roster, and a link to a photo of the KLM line.
[Sharks trade for Curtis Brown]
A few readers asked me how I felt about the Sharks trading Brad Boyes for Buffalo forward Curtis Brown.
I mentioned that if this trade was made before the Sturm injury, it would have been the perfect acquisition. After the Sturm injury, this is a stop-gap addition of a quality forward. Although more was needed, Brown is solid defensively and with more ice time he has the upside of Alyn McCauley. San Jose also should now try to squeeze more goals out of AHL leading scorer Miroslav Zalesak.
My personal choice at the trade deadline would have been Pittsburgh offensive-defenseman Dick Tarnstrom. The Sharks power play has been less than pleasant this season [i.e. horrible]. Tarnstrom would have sped up the transition, allowing San Jose to take advantage more often of its quick forwards on the rush.
Word from the Pittsburgh papers was that Tarnstrom's inexpensive contract [$1,100,000] and offensive output [13G, 29A] kept him on the Penguins roster.
The Sharks-Wild game was pre-empted for international table tennis, but thanks to Tivo I was able to catch the odd 2AM replay. Sharks GM Doug Wilson told Fox Sports Net that Curtis Brown was young, quick, and had a lot of playoff experience. He also said this trade would have been made even if Sturm was not injured.
The Mercury News also reported a Doug Wilson comparision of Curtis Brown to Alyn McCauley.
[Todd Bertuzzi suspension]
I should probably mention my opinion of Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Steve Moore.
The last two times Bertuzzi played San Jose I commented on his dirty play. Intentionally falling on players already on the ice, delivering elbows long after the play, Bertuzzi tries to take every advantage his 6,3 245 pound frame affords him.
That being said, there are a lot of dirty players in the NHL. Smart head coaches dispatch someone early in a game to address this. Whether it be dropping the gloves, or delivering hard checks every time he touches the puck, the message should be sent early and often.
In a sense, this is what Bertuzzi was doing after Steve Moore put a hit to the head of Vancouver's leading scorer Marcus Naslund. The pundits who claim Moore's hit was clean are wrong. Moore lined up Naslund in open ice and followed through on his head.
The way Bertuzzi chose to address this problem was sucker punching Moore from behind, ramming his head into the ice as he fell. I have no problem with Bertuzzi fighting Moore, but do it to his face when he knows what is coming. Moore might have fallen to the ice and covered up, but Bertuzzi still could have delivered his message. I have no problem with that.
Hitting him from behind is gutless.
Suspending Bertuzzi for the rest of the season and the playoffs would be appropriate. Suspending Bertuzzi for a year would even be appropriate. Hopefully it would deliver the message that problems on the ice need to be dealt with face-to-face, like men.
[I told you so]
I apologize for this but: I told you so, I told you so, and yes, in not so many words... I told you so.
Take that drunk Canadian fan from 1991-92 who while perched on a folding chair serving as a club seat at the Cow Palace said "What do Californians know about hockey?".
Jon Swenson is the writer, photographer, and editorial-staff-of-one behind Sharkspage. He picked against the Devils every round on their road to a Stanley Cup in 2003, was published in the Sacramento Bee comparing the Sacramento Surge team name to a toilet bowl cleaner, and reacted bitterly in an article on FoxSports.com to rating comparisons between the NHL and Armadillo Racing.