Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Three games for Jim Shepherd, which I'd say is the equivalent of six or nine regular season games. And no, I don't think Ken McRae would willingly trade Shepherd's absence for Wildfong's. Fonger is a better player, but the Bugs have more depth and Shepherd is a center, so I'd say the Ice are likely to miss their guy just as much and maybe more.

And that's assuming Wildfong doesn't play. I figure, as today's paper pointed out, it's only the second decisive game for Bossier in seven years and potentially the last-ever for such players as Buck and Sprotter. If he can get out there he will. He's a hockey player.

And not to make light of his injury, but the hysteria today was as much about PR, gamesmanship and putting pressure on the league as it was the incident itself. An incident, which, by the way, was nothing like Bertuzzi's crime. If anything, it was more like Steve Moore's original hit on Naslund, which some thought was illegal.

Y'know, back when Dale Henry was skating for the three-time champion Mudbugs, he used to tell opposing players (grant me some poetic license here) "stay out of the slot or I'll break your fucking leg." The fact is, come this time of year, in Conn Smythe's game of "if you can't lick 'em in the alley you can't beat 'em on the ice," these things happen. And while there's no place for cheap shots or hits from behind, and you do wish people were more careful with their sticks, if a gritty player sees a chance to get away with something in the course of contact, he's gonna do it.

I guess the bottom line is this -- said with all due respect, since the guy is one of my very favorite players (in a love/hate sort of way) -- if Dan Wildfong thinks it was a dirty play, he would know.
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