Tag: payback


Erik Johnson would like to make the Blues forever regret trading him

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When a player gets traded, sometimes they take it as a sign of being desired by someone else more. Sometimes they become distraught over “not being wanted” by the team they were playing for. Others see it as it all being just a business.

For new Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, he sees it as an opportunity to prove a point to his former team, the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis traded Johnson and Jay McClement to Colorado last week for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk, a deal that seemingly popped up seemingly out of nowhere.

For Johnson, while he’s happy with the chance to be the man in Colorado he really wants to be the guy that haunts the Blues for the rest of his career.

“I want to make them regret trading Erik Johnson,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that and I say that with the utmost respect in the world for them. I respect Doug Armstrong, I respect John Davidson, everybody I met here in this city.

“At the end of the day, I want them to be kicking themselves for trading me. … I definitely want (Armstrong) at the end of the day saying, ‘Why’d I trade Erik Johnson?’ Don’t get me wrong, they got two great players over there. (Kevin) Shattenkirk and (Chris) Stewart are great players. I know Shatty real well and Stewart gave us fits when I was with the Blues. At the end of the day, I want to make Doug Armstrong regret trading me.”

Speaking in first person style aside, Johnson getting motivated like this is a great thing for him. His years in St. Louis were, all told, relatively disappointing. He wasn’t a bust by any means, but when you’re the top pick in the NHL draft the way he was, expectations are a lot higher. Those expectations certainly weren’t met in St. Louis and when you give up on a guy as young as he is, you run the risk of making a mistake. The Blues figure that Alex Pietrangelo can help soften that blow on their blue line but if Johnson reaches his level of potential, they’re certain to rue the day they gave him up.

St. Louis certainly didn’t lose out a lot in getting Stewart and Shattenkirk, but getting a number one draft pick that plays to his ultimate potential, something he never truly did as a Blue, is something everyone will remember. That much, however, is up to Johnson to make it happen. That means no more reckless nonsense on the golf course during the off-season and dedicating himself to hockey even harder. He’s showed the talent at times to make it happen, doing it night in and night out is what he has to do now.

Evander Kane comes to Boston as a coincidental conquering hero

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Getting payback in the NHL for being wronged can happen in so many ways. For Boston fans that felt they were wronged by Penguins irritating forward Matt Cooke after his brutal blow to the head of Bruins star Marc Savard, their wont to have Cooke see justice was never truly fulfilled for them and the Bruins were left to stew and be angry about the situation.

Cooke wasn’t suspended for the hit on Savard and when the Penguins and Bruins met later that season, the Bruins not only didn’t get revenge on ice for the hit but they were also humiliated losing the game. This is where Atlanta’s Evander Kane became an accidental cult hero in Boston.

Kane’s one-punch knockout of Cooke in a fight in the final game of the season for the Thrashers became an instant hit in Boston with not just the fans but also with Bruins players. NESN’s Douglas Flynn hears Kane’s side of the story.

“I know when it happened, I got a couple phone calls from the guys,” said Kane after Thursday’s morning skate. “I know it got a lot of buzz throughout the league. It just so happened to be Matt Cooke, who did that to Marc Savard earlier on in the year. I wasn’t really looking for payback for that. It was more for myself and for my team, but I guess it worked out.”

Kane’s KO of Cooke was especially gratifying for Savard’s longtime linemate Milan Lucic.

“I know Milan Lucic pretty well, I played in junior with him [with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League in 2006-07],” said Kane. “So he sent me a text, told me what was going on in Boston. It was a fun time. Like I said, that definitely wasn’t in my mind at all, but I know it got a lot of attention and was a pretty big story.”

Boston fans rallied around video Kane’s KO like they do the replays of the Carlton Fisk home run and Bobby Orr’s magical goal against the Blues. If Kane isn’t given the warmest greeting a visiting player has ever seen in the Garden tonight we’ll be stunned. Anyone booing Kane should probably get the same kind of treatment “Waffle Man” has in Toronto.

Still, it’s weird to have a situation like this and to have it all happen purely out of coincidence. Kane was trying to fire up his team and just so happened to have karma as his corner man going into that scrap. It’s either that or just being named after the former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield really carries a lot of gravitas going into a fight.