Tag: Ziggy Palffy

Ethan Moreau

Ethan Moreau looks back at his time with Oilers, hopes to play until he’s 40

When word surfaced that the Los Angeles Kings were on the verge of signing banged-up winger Ethan Moreau to a one-year, $600K contract, the reactions ranged from mildly supportive to a shoulder shrug to stunned criticism.

Aside from the most blindly supportive members of the Kings’ front office and equally optimistic fans, it’s likely that Moreau is the only person who expects the move to be a slam dunk. Jonathan Willis points out the most obvious problem – though not necessarily the only issue – that comes with signing the soon-to-be 36 year old winger: his lack of health. He missed huge chunks of three of the last five seasons with wear-and-tear related injuries, with 186 games lost to various ailments during that five-year span.

It’s tough not to think of the Kings’ run of bad luck with injuries in the previous decade or so as a caveat while discussing their seemingly bright future. You may remember that semi-solid Los Angeles teams were derailed by injuries in many cases as the team saw players such as Pavol Demitra, Ziggy Palffy, Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison fall apart due to health issues.

The current Los Angeles roster features some obvious injury risks with Moreau, Simon Gagne and Justin Williams in the mix – especially since the latter two could play very important roles as scoring wingers. Even Anze Kopitar went down with a nasty ankle injury last season.

Many of us cannot help but second-guess the Kings’ decision to sign Moreau, but the team brought in the rugged former captain of the Edmonton Oilers with the hopes that he’ll provide veteran leadership. (It’s also likely that they’ll ask him to do the hockey equivalent of “Charlie work” such as spending time on the penalty kill and grinding out fourth line minutes.)

The biggest line on his resume is almost certainly his connection to the Oilers’ Cinderella run to just one win short of a Stanley Cup in 2006 (which happened to be the last time Moreau made a postseason appearance). He reflected on that run with Mayor’s Manor, calling it both the highest and lowest point of his career.

“Going to the Finals was probably the high and the low point,” he said, when speaking of his time playing in Edmonton. “We were one game away from winning a Stanley Cup. Then, losing was probably the low point because you come so close to realizing a dream that doesn’t happen – you’re left with a very, very empty feeling – which is motivation to get back there with this team and to win it. That’s the only thing that will kind of make that feeling go away.”

One cannot help but wonder if Moreau wonders if his career will go away before that feeling will dissipate. He told Mayor’s Manor that he hopes to play until he’s 40, but to do so, he’ll need to surprise onlookers who are far from convinced that he can turn around his health and all-around play. Willis points out some discouraging defensive numbers that indicate that Moreau’s time in the NHL is about to run out, but we’ll have to wait and see if this low-risk move by the Kings turns out to be an irritating (if small) waste of money or a nice bargain.

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: New York Islanders

Darius Kasparaitis, Travis Green

The Islanders past with sweaters is about as rocky as their present is in figuring out how to build a new arena. They started off so well, then went off course horribly before finding themselves all over again. If nothing else, the Islanders proved with their sweaters that you can always go back home again. And again. And again.

Best: The Islanders sweater history is that of a classic look. A large, logo crest on the front with simple sleeve and waist stripes with team colors ahoy. For me, the Islanders looked their best between 1998 and 2007. After recovering from the mistake years of the fisherman and adding teal to their look to resemble a bottle of detergent more than a hockey team, they went back to basics and added a shoulder patch as a nod to their past. The patch had four stripes, one for each Stanley Cup win in team history. The Isles white home jerseys of those days made you think of the Isles dynasty teams of the 1980s. Sadly for Isles fans, they didn’t perform the same way.

Worst: You’re assuming I’m going to pound on the Islanders fisherman days here. Not so fast, friends. When the Isles went back to their old look that won everyone over once again they made one big mistake in 2002-2003 by adding a third sweater. Their third embraced the color orange in such a way it made the Islanders look like a stock car gone mad with orange dominating the look and jagged blue edges throughout the sweater. The Islanders’ move to orange was bold, garish, and awful looking.

Don’t Trust The Gorton’s Fisherman: As for the fisherman years, this was all about a marketing wizard gone mad. The Islanders wanted a new look and move into the hip mid-1990s. Switching from an iconic logo that won the fans over in the first place and replacing it with something that belonged more on a box of frozen seafood than a hockey sweater made matters worse. I have a fondness for the awfulness contained in the Islanders’ fisherman era, but I’m also a jerk that owns more than a few really awful sweaters as well. The fisherman was a colossal mistake in judgment and one that Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank recounts all too well and is worth giving a read to.

Assessment: The Isles have done right by their fans and by hockey fashionistas by re-embracing their original look and paying no more attention to the RBK Edge constraints of design. They tried that, it looked bad, they went back to normal. Kudos to Charles Wang for keeping it real. Of course, if the rumored Isles black third jersey this season turns out to be the nightmare concoction that Greg Wyshysnki at Puck Daddy showed off, the era of good feelings is over.

(photo credit: Islanders Point Blank)

Marco Sturm trade to L.A. is now complete

Image (1) Sturm-thumb-250x172-10667-thumb-250x172-10668.jpg for post 1684

Good news for the Los Angeles Kings’ thin forward corps and the Boston Bruins’ shaky salary cap situation: the once-dead Marco Sturm trade is now officially done. Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports that Sturm passed his physical and can now play for the second California NHL team of his career.

(He originally played for the San Jose Sharks when Dean Lombardi was part of that organization. You might remember Sturm as arguably the biggest piece that went to Boston in the lopsided Joe Thornton trade.)

Sturm is in the final year of a four-year deal that pays him $3.5 million per year (in both salary and salary cap hit), so while there is some cost to bringing him in, it’s not a huge gamble.

Considering his speed and injury-prone nature, it’s not that different from my summer time suggestions that the Kings trade for Simon Gagne. He doesn’t have the same high-scoring ceiling, but Sturm crossed the 20-goal mark seven times during his injury-ravaged 12 years in the league.

Of course, it’s hard not to look at some of the Kings’ recent history with injury prone players and wonder if they’re playing with fire. From Adam Deadmarsh to Jason Allison to Ziggy Palffy and Pavol Demitra, the Kings could have changed their team logo to Wile E. Coyote in the ’90s and early ’00s if it weren’t for Phoenix.

Still, they aren’t giving up much for a player who can provide scoring depth to a team that is a little too dependent on Anze Kopitar for goals. It seems like both the Bruins and Kings “won” from this deal, even if the gains are pretty modest.