Back in the saddle after a fairly long winter break, so let’s cover off a few of the things that made news when I was gone.
• After Rick DiPietro signed his 15-year deal with the Islanders, I swore I’d never be shocked by or bemoan the length of an NHL contract again. So I’m not going to kvetch about Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year pact with Washington.
However, I do hope Capitals fans aren’t under the impression Ovechkin’s pact is a rock-solid guarantee he’ll play there for his entire career. Even if the Caps evolve into a perennial powerhouse, the best-laid plans of mice, men and management rarely pan out as planned. Ask Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr.
• Speaking of non-surprises, Bob Clarke’s defense of odious Flyers miscreant Steve Downie had me laughing out loud. It was like watching Bruce Willis defend the right of Kevin Costner and/or Kevin Bacon to form reprehensible rock bands based solely on their Hollywood celebrity.
It’s called “credibility,” and when it comes to commenting on the place of over-the-top recklessness in hockey, Clarke is fresh out of it.
• Belated kudos to the International Ice Hockey Federation for rightfully recognizing the place of women in the game and inducting Angela James, Geraldine Heaney and Cammi Granato into its Hall of Fame. And belated raspberries to the (NHL) Hockey Hall of Fame for its continued unwillingness to join the modern era and make a similar move.
• Finally, a note to fans of the Lightning, Leafs, and Kings: It. Is. Over.
Miracles are never completely out of the question, but thanks to the NHL’s unbalanced schedule, there is virtually no possibility whatsoever Tampa Bay, Toronto or Los Angeles can leapfrog the five or six teams in front of them to secure a playoff berth. Let the firings and/or fire sales begin.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News’ online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.