A pair of dubious figures in Montreal as well as Quebec hockey will be on the ice once again in “La belle province.”
Former Canadiens captain and recent retiree Alex Kovalev and former Quebec Nordiques No. 1 draft pick Eric Lindros will both be participating in an alumni all-star game at Bell Centre tomorrow, as The Montreal Gazette reports. Is it bad form to boo players in an alumni game? That could happen.
Kovalev, who retired from the NHL this week, didn’t leave Montreal under the greatest of circumstances and wound up being a focus of bad feelings and boos when he returned as a visiting Ottawa Senators forward.
Lindros, meanwhile, was persona non grata in Quebec thanks to his famous spurning of the Nordiques after the team drafted him first overall in 1991 only to demand a trade saying he’d never play for the then sorry Quebec franchise. Once the Nordiques moved to Denver, the bad feelings moved on to Montreal where he received similar bad feelings from Habs fans.
It might be worth it to actually get a ticket to this game just to see how warmly (or not) both guys are received by the fans.
20 years ago, Eric Lindros had to face his harshest critics. No, not fans in Philadelphia or New York City but the rabid collective in Quebec City.
It was on October 13, 1992 that Lindros and the Flyers faced off with the team they swung one of the biggest trades in NHL history with in the Quebec Nordiques.
At the time, Lindros was the biggest rookie sensation the NHL had seen since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. If you weren’t around then, think of how crazed the league was when Sidney Crosby arrived and you have an idea how huge Lindros was.
Problem was, he didn’t want to play for the Nordiques and forced a trade out of town. After Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut got confused about who he was trading Lindros to (he had deals done with both the Rangers and Flyers) it was Philly where he ended up.
Philly traded Peter Forsberg, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, a 1993 first-round pick that became Jocelyn Thibault, $15 million, and future considerations (Chris Simon and a 1994 first-round pick) for Lindros — a blockbuster deal that would stun the league.
After all that drama, it was on this night 20 years ago that Lindros had to face the music in Quebec City at the Colisée as he was serenaded with boos and taunted for “crying his way out of town” with oversized pacifiers and all.
Nordiques fans got the last laugh that night as the home team won 6-3 but not before seeing Lindros score two goals in defeat.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Since the Pens drafted Beau Bennett in 2010, he’s gotten another inch taller and added 34 pounds going from 173 to 207. Whoa! (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Teuvo Teravainen has been tearing it up in Chicago’s prospect camp. (NHL.com)
Philly’s Scott Laughton could be yet another two-way forward talent for them in the future. (CSNPhilly.com)
Teemu Pulkkinen has the highest of high hopes for when it’s his time to become a Red Wing. (Detroit Free Press)
Alex Pietrangelo is already back training looking to improve upon his monster season in St. Louis. (Post-Dispatch)
The Senators are helping Luke Richardson settle into his first coaching gig with their AHL team in Binghamton. (Senators Extra)
Mike Green and John Carlson are close to signing new deals in Washington. (CSNWashington.com)
Count Eric Lindros in amongst those helping out with concussion awareness. (CSNPhilly.com)
CBA fun columns: Adrian Dater says his piece (Denver Post) As does Mark Whicker (OC Register) and finally Larry Brooks sounds off (New York Post)
After a significant courting process, the Edmonton Oilers landed coveted rookie free agent defenseman Justin Schultz. For his part, Schultz is saying all the right things about earning a spot on the team, but let’s not forget that he spurned the team that drafted him – the Anaheim Ducks – much like Blake Wheeler once did with the Phoenix Coyotes. After a busy day that included signing Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray, Ducks GM Bob Murray took some time to vent about Schultz’s refusal to sign an entry-level deal with Eric Stephens.
He even evoked the polarizing situation between Eric Lindros and the Quebec Nordiques while doing so.
“I’m more confused than ever now,” Murray said. “I’ve moved on. If he had it in his mind that he wanted to play in Canada … OK. I get that … I’m a Canadian too. But Eric Lindros, when he didn’t want to play in Quebec, he went to his team that drafted him and said no I’m not going to play there. He allowed that team to make the move to get something for him. He told us numerous times he wanted to play for us.”
As with many players who become fairly high-profile free agents before they play an NHL shift (examples include Fabian Brunnstrom, Ville Leino and Jonas Gustavsson), it’s common for guys to see their value or spotlight grow a little too large. Even so, Schultz’s attention has been noteworthy, with legends Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey even pitching in to land him.
Schultz had a lot of suitors. That means he also spurned a lot of people, which could mean a spattering of well-informed boos here and there. If Murray’s comments resonate with fans, they might be most justified – and maybe quite a bit louder – in Anaheim.
Concussion issues delayed the process, but Sidney Crosby is still one of the fastest players to 600 points in NHL history. The Pittsburgh Penguins point out that he’s the seventh-youngest to reach that milestone, at 24 years old (plus 236 days).
Crosby reached the milestone when he assisted on a James Neal power-play goal as part of what is (so far) a four-point night. He also collected his fifth goal of the season to go with three helpers (and possibly counting, since the second period just ended with Pittsburgh up 4-3 against the Buffalo Sabres).
Update: the Penguins added an empty-netter to win 5-3.
In case you’re playing the “What if?” game with concussions, a Penguins preview indicates that Crosby also took the seventh-fewest contests to reach 600 points. He did it in 430 regular season matches, one behind Eric Lindros, who did it 429. (Try not to sound ominous music regarding the two concussion-plagued Canadian stars, if you can.)
Crosby didn’t generate the only milestone of the night, however, as Pascal Dupuis collected two assists to extend his points streak to 13 games – the longest in the NHL this season, according to Pens Inside Scoop. Considering all the star power in Pittsburgh and Evgeni Malkin’s amazing campaign in particular, it’s especially surprising (and impressive) that the versatile yet understated Dupuis might finish with the league’s longest streak.
Check out Crosby-heavy highlights below: