Thursday, February 15, 2007

For-Gone Conclusion

(Take a moment, please, to mull over the brilliance of today's post title. If there were Oscars for that sort of thing, you'd be looking at the front-runner)

The Maple Leafs took on Philadelphia today, and they got a little surprise present before the game. Peter Forsberg was a late scratch. Peter Forsberg, scratched? It doesn't take Bob McKenzie to figure out what that could mean, and by the first intermission, a firm deal had been completed, that sent Forsberg to Nashville for a a couple of youngsters and a first round pick. Nothing less than you'd expect for the buzziest player heading into the trade deadline (you have to think the schmucks behind the all day Tradecentre coverage spat out their overpriced sparkling water when they heard that).

The game was, if you'll excuse the pun, a forgone conclusion at that point. Without their best thing in orange, and playing on home ice (where they have won five time all season), the Flyers were done. Toronto scored three times in the first period for their first win in three games (which included a loss to Nashville and two shootout defeats) and their Behemoth Line (consisting of the vertically unchallenged Sundin, Ponikarovsky and Antropov) had two goals as they walked to 4-2 win.

OK, forget the Leafs; the real story is Nashville. As we mentioned recently, even before this blockbuster of a doozy, Nashville is legit. They were the top team in the league before the trade, and now, with Forsberg thrown in the mix, what does that make them now?

Favourites to win the cup, if anything. Forsberg has all that wonderful, intangible playoff experience you'll remember, something Nashville, as a whole, does not. In fact, Forsberg has put up more points in the post season than Nashville's entire roster.

Caveats abound of course; we are talking about the man who plays every game like it's his last and hasn't had anything approaching a full season since 02/03. If Forsberg goes down before the playoffs, or misses any significant time, well, it will all have been for nothing, especially if Forsberg walks at the end of the season as a free agent. That's worst case scenario though. Nashville is deeper than the Pacific, meaning Forsberg won't be asked to carry anything heavier than the power play, and he's not here to hoist Nashville on his shoulders like Joe Thornton did for San Jose. Reduced ice time, and more realistic expectations for Forsberg mean he is much more likely to finish the season on both feet, and with a contract extension to boot.

It says here that Nashville is our favourite to win the cup, we only hope Nashvillians (Survey question: residents of Nashville should be referred to as Nashvillains. YES, or, AWESOME?) are paying attention.


Sidenote: Hey casual Canadian sports fan, have you ever thought to yourself, "boy, I really like the the traditional sports newscast format, but wouldn't it be great if they made it more like Entertainment Tonight?" Because, if you have, you should totally check out Sportsnet's new reinvention, Sportsnet Connected. Because while having two guys in suits who know their sports banter back and forth is OK, what sports reporting was really missing was a casual dresscode, vacuous, permacheerful women with fake smiles and lots and lots of faux drama. Thank you Sportsnet, thank you for pushing that envelope - wait no, what we meant to say was that this is terrible, terrible idea and whichever smartass marketing exec is responsible for this deserves to be fired. Sorry for the confusion.

No comments: