Just some quick weekend notes:
- Larry Brooks and Tim Panaccio aren’t happy about the Gretzky backlash. Both feel his time as a player buys him some goodwill with the public. I’ve been curious about the backlash and think a lot of it has to do with economics. Gretzky never seemed to put much work into coaching, even as he hired friends to come to work for the team in various capacities, from on-ice to off-ice. He collected a huge salary for this as he ran the team into the ground. But he did this in Arizona, one of the U.S. states hit hardest by the housing bubble, a bubble caused by other men doing pretty much the same thing Gretzky did, only with mortgages. Obviously Gretzky didn’t cause the collapse of the housing market, but I think he reminded an awful lot of people of the greed that created it. So the Gretzky backlash isn’t entirely about Gretzky, but the feelings behind it are perfectly valid.
- Theo Fleury was cut by the Flames this weekend. Brian McGrattan, now a Flame, said he found Fleury, a recovering alcoholic, very helpful in his own recovery. McGrattan is almost 10 months sober. Fleury couldn’t make it back to the NHL as a player, but wouldn’t it be great if he was a roving resource, like he was for McGrattan. Just talking to guys around the league who might need some help or had some questions about recovery? Fleury could travel with someone formally trained, but the players would probably have a much easier time talking to someone like Fleury, who was in their skates not too long ago. Fleury seems to have done a lot of work to get his life back on track and he seems to have the potential to help other players do the same thing. I hope the NHL seriously considers giving Fleury the chance to help people and players the chance to get help.
- Peter Forsberg is playing in Europe, trying to get back into the NHL. Again. It’s a given. I know. Forsberg will be 70 and trying to get back into the NHL. He’s like Jack from LOST: the second he got off the island, all he wanted to do was get back on. But apparently, Forsberg looks really great. NHL scouts are supposed to be really excited but I’m sure they’re all thinking the same thing: will he look just as great after a month or two of playing?