Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Dang" say the Ducks and Sharks

One of the interesting things about the good ol' Battle of California is how right now, even though the Ducks and Sharks are built a little differently, any sort of trade rumor that pops through my head makes me think, "I hope the Sharks get him so the Ducks won't." That sort of knee-jerk thinking is often proof that I'm not viewing things through a completely objective lens, at least when it comes to my Sharks and the Norris Ducks.

The thought of Peter Forsberg going to the Ducks scared the crap out of me. And even though Doug Wilson said the Sharks weren't in the Forsberg sweepstakes, I thought it'd be pretty damn interesting to keep Thornton/Marleau together on the same line and have Forsberg anchor the second line. Well, now all I have to say is dang.

Now, I was well aware that Nashville was as much as a favorite to win the Cup as our beloved California teams. But getting Peter Forsberg without touching their roster -- and the fact that Forsberg has looked much better over the past ten games than he has all season -- is just, well, kind of unfair (said in the least whiny way possible). Assuming Forsberg's as healthy as he says he is, the Preds are getting a guy who never disappears during the playoffs. Don't forget the year when he missed the entire season, only to lead the playoffs in scoring without even going to the Cup finals.

That's bad for either California team with Cup dreams.

Looking at the rosters, Nashville is built more like the Sharks (stacked up front, two good goalies, young defense) than the Ducks, but the problem is that Nashville suddenly has a new level of depth. And one of the problems that both the Ducks and Sharks will come to realize is that Forsberg is one of those really annoying players that makes his linemates better.

So, in theory, if the Preds are already happy having Legwand play with Kariya and Arnott play with Sullivan (or whatever combo they've been using lately), the Preds could have three scoring lines by sticking Forsberg with, say, Dumont. As much as I've trumpeted the Sharks offense since the Thornton trade, I don't see any team with as much depth as the Preds -- maybe the Sharks could say that if Mark Bell, Milan Michalek, Steve Bernier, Joe Pavelski, and Jonathan Cheechoo all pull it together at once (though I think Cheechoo finally figured out that moving his feet is a good way to get to open ice), but I don't see that happening.

Sharks and Ducks fans, this ain't a good thing (unless Forsberg's ankle snaps in half, then we can all point and laugh) and the bar has been raised. Obviously, the most depth on paper doesn't make for the best team, but this move makes me think of the Hurricanes getting Doug Weight last season...except replace Doug Weight with a former MVP who, when healthy, can still be one of the best players in the game.



Daniel said...

I think this is all blown way out of proportion. Peter Forsberg is a very good player and better then most if he is at 75%, but to say that one player is going to put a team over the edge, even Forsberg, is too much. The defense for Nashville will be their downfall again. They do fine in the regular season, but lets see how they do in the playoffs, where it is ONLY good teams, forchecking, pounding away at the inexperience.

People don't just say 'Defense wins championships' for nothing, they say it because it is true. The Ducks need one good depth forward, the Sharks need one #2-3 defensemen. If they had snagged Brad Stuart, I would have said they were equal to the Ducks in all around talent. Oh well, they blew that.

jamestobrien said...

After seeing Forsberg in person, I can say without question that he makes a HUGE difference. There is no player in the entire NHL that scares me more when he has the puck.

The Predators, for all their strengths, never truly scared me before. I always attributed their high ranking to an awful division. But Forsberg-Kariya-Arnott-Sullivan is a pretty terrifying foursome. Add in the Vokoun-Mason double headed monster and we could have yet another strange market with a Cup winner.

Earl Sleek said...

Definitely a "dang", but we'll have to see how effective this is--for sure the team will be scary to play, but this may be enough to keep Nashville in the top spot (and thus the Pacific teams will have other first round opposition).

I will say this, though--the city of Nashville (as a hockey market) needs this, which is a little sad in a way. Even with a first-place team, crowds were sort of thin (this week against SJ, a fairly marquis matchup with a fresh playoff past, drew 13,836).

I wasn't too sure actually about the Ducks and Forsberg, but it would have been cool if he'd come over--he and Frenchy Beauchemin could compare busted spleens.

VeryProudofYa said...

Indeed, Forsey is a playoff force. But has he ever gone through the playoff wear and tear coming off such a string on nagging injuries?

I'd say he doesn't make it out the first round. But then again, it's be neat if they won the cup.

Peter could put his icey-hot ankle cream in it for a nice foot dip.

Aaron said...

I read you guys a lot but this is the first time I have chimed in. I felt the same way that you did initially Mike, but after about 10 minutes of reflection I was actually quite relieved. For whatever reason, and you can call me crazy, I am not threatened by Nashville. I know Vokoun was out last year, but Mason played well in his absence and the Sharks still steam rolled them. Certainly Forsberg can be a horse who is big and physical, but that's assuming he's healthy (a HUGE assumption). Forsberg gives the Preds more depth but he doesn't make Sullivan any healthier, doesn't make Kariya any bigger, and doesn't make the defense any more experienced. I know the Sharks got manhandled the other night (I have Center Ice and watch every game from Boston) but I'm just not afraid of them. I would have loved to see Peter in a Sharks uni, but I like that Doug Wilson stuck to his guns on this. 5 years ago this would have been a really big deal but I guess I just don't think Forsberg has much left, and I am glad that a trade like this doesn't alter the balance of power in the BoC. These two teams deserve each other.

Rick said...

Did you read what Burke said they wanted in the Toronto Star?

Ryan and one of Getzlaf or Perry.

No thanks, not for a rental. If it included a resign and some kind of compensation if he was injured (a first round coming back) then fine.

Otherwise, suck it.