Archive for the ‘Joe Sakic’ Category

The Joe Sakic Collection

July 9, 2009

Aside from maybe some Red Wings fans here and there, it’s probably safe to say that the hockey world was universally bummed out to hear that Joe Sakic announced his retirement from the NHL.

There are some fragmented sub-stories here.

We’ve always sort of wondered where hockey fans stand on the “who would you choose” debate (that only exists in our heads) between Peter Forsberg (the dynamic, fragile bruiser) and Joe Sakic (a player who – until his last two seasons – was unique both for his talents and his reliability).

With the trade of Ryan Smyth, the drafting of Matt Duchene and Sakic’s retirement, the Avs seem like they’re finally beginning an overdue rebuilding process.

But those are stories for another day. Although we greatly admired Sakic, it makes sense to leave his career obituary to the experts. But we will say this: even hampered with injuries, Sakic still was a considerably productive player. It wasn’t long ago that he produced his last 100-point season. Perhaps it was best that Sakic decided to leave with his head held high. At the same time, few would have begrudged him if he decided on a swan song season.

Anyway, that’s all WE have to say about Sakic but let’s take a look around the blogosphere to see reflections on the man with one of the most lethal wrist shots in NHL history:

  • “I know that this is the right time, that it would be wrong to ask Sakic to endure what would no doubt be a difficult season next year. Yet I still feel like a teenage girl who has broken up with her boyfriend right before the prom; I just want to lock myself in my room tonight with a bowl of ice cream, fighting back the tears as I clutch his picture in my hands.”

David from Mile High Hockey

  • “There are two types of heroes that are typical of stories told in frontier towns. One western hero is the the brash, cocky son-of-a-bitch who takes on the establishment and all that get in his/her way, like Billy the Kid or Molly Brown (the Avs would fill this hero role later with Patrick Roy). Then there’s the noble lawman, the Teddy Rooseveltian hero who speaks softly and carries a big stick. No one speaks more softly than Joe Sakic, and no one carried a bigger stick.”

Jibblescribbits

  • And, finally, Bangin Panger provides a little comic relief (hopefully this won’t be too big a part of Burnaby Joe’s legacy, though):

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Send us your weepy/awesome/introspective/favorite Joe Sakic retirement posts!

July 8, 2009

We’re going to be away until the early afternoon today, so please send us your favorite Joe Sakic retirement-related blog posts. In fact, if you have an older but intriguing look at Sakic that would probably work too. Don’t feel shy about self promotion.

Feel free to get in touch with us a number of ways:

E-mail: jamestobrien@hotmail.com

In the comments

Or via Twitter: http://twitter.com/cyclelikesedins

Make it happen, kids.

David of Mile High Hockey on the Avalanche’s upcoming draft

June 15, 2009

Soooo the playoffs are officially over. We got a little ahead of ourselves by posting the contributions for the New York Islanders (from Dominik at Light House Hockey) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (from Raw Charge), but now that it’s appropriate we’re moving on to a team that used to never be in this position. That would be the Colorado Avalanche.

For the Avs, we asked David of Mile High Hockey to provide perspective on the Colorado Sakics. In case you haven’t been following things, it appears the Avs cleaned house … well, except for canning the one guy they really should have (Pierre Lacroix). As you will see from the MHH folks, it’s not really a time of high morale for the Avs.

But don’t be too negative, Colorado fans. They might actually do well with their third pick and that Paul Stastny fellow looks like a keeper (albeit a kind of expensive one).

ANYWAY, enjoy David’s contributions and be sure to follow the rapidly changing Avalanche franchise at Mile High Hockey. Thanks David!

1. So most (if not all) of the hype goes into the Tavares-Hedman debate. Do you feel like the Avs pulled the shortest straw in the draft lottery?

MHH: Honestly, no. The eight fans that the Avalanche have left are quite excited about Matt Duchene. We’ve sold ourselves so well on him that we’ve actually become a little delusional; there would be some pangs of disappointment if we went #2, sticking us with Tavares or Hedman.

2. With all the front office upheaval going on in Colorado, how confident are you that the Avalanche will be able to make the right choice with the #3 pick?

MHH: I’m terrified, frankly. I’m not all that worried that the Avalanche will screw up our first top-5 pick in 17 years. I am extremely worried that the Avalanche will trade the pick for some overprice, over-the-hill veteran.

3. Describe some of your favorite Avs’ (and/or Nordiques?) draft memories. Is there a pick that stands out as the best one they’ve made? Are there any steals that come to mind?

I can’t say that I have any specific draft memories that stand out. Joe Sakic at 15th overall has to stand out as as their best pick. I would love to type that Marek Svatos was a nice steal as a 7th round draft pick, but since Henrik Zetterberg was also a 7th round pick, I’ll keep it to myself.

4. On the other end of the fence, describe some of the lowest moments for the Avs (and/or Nordiques). Which decisions stick out as some of their worst in the draft? Which picks/overlooked players do you think the Avalanche regret the most?

I still remember the string of curse words flowing from me when I saw that the Avalanche had traded Alex Tanguay for Jordan Leopold. In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad of a trade for the Avs – they also got a couple of 2nd rounders, and Tanguay has faded – but it was still tough to see him go. Speaking of Tanguay, the Avalanche have had just one other 1st round pick (Wolski) make it in the NHL since Tanguay was drafted in 1998, so the list of picks the Avalanche regret the most is very, very long.

5. Feel free to add whatever else you’d like about the Avalanche and the NHL draft. How do you feel about the future of the team?

I don’t feel very good about the future. The Avalanche have drafted decently in recent years which has helped replenish a system bled dry by poor drafts and some questionable trades by Pierre Lacroix. But the jury is still out on whether or not the Avalanche have the right system to develop all the talent they’ve been acquiring, as a lot of players seem kind of stuck at “almost there”. And, oh by the way, Lacroix figures to be less subtle with his front office puppet show and should begin depleting said talent with flashy trades any day now.

All-Decade Team: Joe Pelletier’s picks

February 19, 2009

(Cycle like the Sedins asked some of the hockey blogosphere’s best and brightest to help choose the All-Decade team. During the next few days, we’ll post each response until it’s time to decide the final roster.

First up: the venerable Joe Pelletier. Pelletier runs the fantastic hockey history blog Greatest Hockey Legends and also is the go-to source for hockey book reviews. Of all the great sources of information in the blogosphere, Pelletier’s blog might teach you the most about our favorite sport.)
Goaltender –

Martin Brodeur. I do believe that a couple of goalies reached higher zeniths during the past 10 years – Roberto Luongo most notably, maybe Jose Theodore and Miikka Kiprusoff too. But Brodeur was great all decade. The others were great for one or two years.

Brodeur does benefit from a generational change that saw the old timers leave him be, and the new comers come along a little to late for true consideration for this decade.

Defense –

#1. Nicklas Lidstrom. D’uh.

#2. Scott Niedermayer. Chris Pronger may have won a Hart, but Niedermayer won a Conn Smythe, evening out that debate. He also was a key player for Canada at the Olympics, whereas Pronger was quiet in 2002 and horrible in 2006.

Center –

Joe Sakic. I have to go with Sakic. Joe Thornton may be the highest scoring center by far, but he has failed in the playoffs and at the Olympics. Sakic thrived in both situations time and again.

Wings –

#1. Jarome Iginla – The ultimate power forward of the decade, his offensive numbers are right up there. He was a key member of the 2002 Olympic gold medal team, and remains a key member years later. And he willed Calgary to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Hockey’s ultimate warrior also is known as hockey’s ultimate nice guy.

#2 – Jaromir Jagr – His offensive numbers are undeniable.

Fighter –

Derek Boogaard – I’m scared of him when I’m on my couch watching him on tv.

Coach –

Mike Babcock – His success rate sets him apart. And he encourages a beautiful form of hockey.

Loudmouth –

Don Cherry – Gotta go with Grapes on that one. Loudmouth of the past three decades.

(Good stuff, Joe! Stop by any time you’d like. We’ll keep the seat warm for you.)

Jibblescribbits: Why Joe Sakic should be the All-Decade Center

February 17, 2009

(On Saturday, Earl Sleek wrote a great post covering one of the burning questions of the All-Decade team selection process: Niedermayer or Pronger? Today, Jibblescribbits covers one half of the other great discussion: Sakic vs. Thornton. Once you’re done reading about Burnaby Joe make sure to head over to his great blog that covers the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general.)

Normally when I’m given a side in a point-counter-point argument The first thing I do is I try to mentally argue the other side in my head. Knowing your enemy gives you more ammunition and the ability to rebut the other side’s argument before they even make it, defusing it. But for this argument I have a hard time doing that, and that is because I cannot come up with one good reason to pick Joe Thornton over Joe Sakic for the all-decade team. (And I’m a huge Thornton fan)

Jos Sakic won his Conn Smythe in 1996 so I can’t use that. I guess all I am left with is a Hart, Lester B. Pearson, Lady Byng (all in ’01) NHL All-Star MVP (which I’ll admit isn’t worth a whole lot), and 3 NHL all first teams (’01, ’02, ’04). He’s also got one of those Stanley Cups in ’01 and then a Gold Medal (and Olympic MVP) in ’02. Instead of listing his all-star appearences, I’ll just list the years he didn’t go: ’03, ’08, ’09. All three of those years happened to be because he was injured.

Thornton has a Hart, and leads Super Joe Sakic in regular season points over the last decade 708-650(even though Sakic leads in goals 248-221), so there’s an argument that could be made here.

But dig any deeper and that argument quickly breaks down. Add in playoff points and it’s a virtual tie in points (747-744 edge to Thornton). Sakic also has over 400 less PIM than Thornton. Based on merits alone Sakic has a slight edge, but there’s more to hockey than stats.

I’m not a big fan of calling someone clutch. I think “clutch” is overused and is misunderstood. With a small sample size anyone can get lucky and appear to be clutch, and anyone can have a slump at the wrong time and look like a choker. I’m not going to call Thornton a choker, because that wouldn’t be fair (nor accurate).

That being said if there ever is such a thing as clutch.. well Joe Sakic is it. In the playoffs he’s playing at a smidgen under a point per game pace (94 points in 96 games) while Thornton has struggled to keep his regular season form in the playoffs (only 39 points in 53 games). And yes, Cups count. Thornton could win one this season (and I hope he does) but Sakic has 1 and there can’t be enough said of his trancendent Olympic Performance in Salt Lake in ’02. For what it’s worth, Sakic also has, and not too put too much hyperbole on it, the greatest goal of the decade on his resume. I consider a Game 7 series icer in which he makes not one, but 2 future hall of famers look silly while firing off his iconic wrist shot the greatest goal in history. Sure there’s more significant ones, but in sheer terms of skill combined with what was at stake they don’t get any better than this:

(1:44 mark)

None of this is any disrespect to Joe Thornton. I think he’s a fantastic player and certainly belongs in the discussion of greatest centers of the last 10 years. But he’s not at the top. Joe Sakic is. His regular season stats combine with his postseason stats to make him the best center of the last 10 (cough 15-20) years.

All-Decade Team: Worthy Centers

January 14, 2009

As we consider how the All-Decade Team will be determined, let’s get started on considering candidates for each position. For each player listed, there will be relevant stats and awards with a dash of opinion thrown in. It’s important to not try to sway opinions too much but we still need to have a little fun with this.

See a glaring absence? State a case for that player in the comments.

Joe Sakic

Stats from ’99-’00 to current: (656 points from 250 goals and 406 assists in the REG; 94 points from 41 goals and 53 assists in the playoffs)

Awards from that period: Hart Trophy (2001); Pearson Trophy (2001); First-team All Star (2001, 2002 and 2004); five All-Star appearances

The amazing thing (actually, one of the many amazing things) about Sakic is that he scored almost 1,000 points before the time frame of consideration. As difficult as it may be, try to consider Sakic’s most recent decade of work instead of his entire career.

Besides, Sakic still brought a level of grace (a “quote-less” grace) to the game that is rare for even a hockey player. Most people will remember Sakic for his wicked wrister, but he was also a very good playmaker to boot. An absolute clutch performer, Sakic is one of the best centers of his era.

Joe Thornton

Stats from that period: (760 points from 232 goals and 528 assists in REG; 48 points from 11 goals and 37 assists in the playoffs)

Awards: Hart trophy (’06); Art Ross (’06); First Team All-Star (’06); 5 All-Star teams

One of the leading point producers of the decade, the common knock on Joe Thornton remains his playoff output. Many would counter that Thornton’s post-season play is quite good since coming to San Jose (30 points in 35 playoff games).

Regardless of playoff critiques, Thornton is one of the NHL’s most consistently dominant players. His combination of size and playmaking are a nightmare for defenses. With a career average of 2.14 shots per game, it’s usually pretty obvious what Thornton is going to do on offense.

But like a pick & roll between Karl Malone and John Stockton, knowing what Thornton is going to do and stopping that act are two enormously different things.

Vincent Lecavalier

Stats: (612 points from 277 goals and 335 assists in REG; 33 points from 18 goals and 15 assists in playoffs)

Awards: Richard trophy (’07); three All-Star games

It took awhile for Lecavalier to become a star caliber player and that whole “Michael Jordan of hockey” thing probably will not come true. Still, the 6’4″ Lecavalier is the prototypical franchise center. He has great size, skates well, can make plays and is terrifying on a breakaway.

How much does playing on a Tampa Bay that – excluding their Stanley Cup run and a season or two around that time – is middling at best and awful at worst affect Lecavalier’s numbers?

Mats Sundin

Stats: (608 points from 260 goals and 348 assists in REG; 41 points from 16 goals and 25 assists in playoffs)

Awards: Four All-Star games

Before the free agent soap opera that eventually took him to Vancouver, Sundin was known as a big, talented Swede and a model of consistency. Even on a Toronto Maple Leafs team that failed to make the playoffs since the 03-04 season, Sundin still managed to record nearly a point per game. And unlike many franchise centers, he rarely had a quality winger to finish the scoring chances he could create.

Peter Forsberg

Stats: (445 points from 121 goals and 334 assists in REG; 92 points from 33 goals and 59 assists in playoffs)

Awards: Hart trophy (’03), Art Ross (’03) First All-Star Team (’03) and two All-Star teams

At this point, we’re entering a quality versus quantity discussion. Even though injuries kept Forsberg from putting up massive overall numbers, he’s only two playoff points behind Sakic and was one of the most captivating playmakers the hockey world has ever seen.

He also was like an injury prone Alex Ovechkin in that his game was extremely violent for a player of his star quality. Sadly, that tendency toward ultra-violence probably lead to a fragility that only Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr can relate to.

Still, when Forsberg was healthy he’s arguably the best forward of the decade. Is that enough to overshadow the fact that he missed so much time?

Guys who are just too young/don’t have enough games under their belt: Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin

Honorable mentions: Mike Modano, Marc Savard, Scott Gomez, Brad Richards