Today I read that Sergei Fedorov, traded to the BJs just last night, couldn't wait to play tonight. In fact, despite an injury that has kept him out for weeks, a red-eye flight that was delayed AND a mandatory physical in C-Bus before he could pull on that crappy BlueStar third jersey, Fedorov made it clear that he WAS going to play tonight.
And no wonder. Short of Stevie Y (that bastard future HOFer), is there a bigger Blue-killer in the NHL today? How many times has Fedorov been player of the game against the Note? How many times have we tied the Wings, only to see that freakin' Anna Kornikova-dating, Ferrari-driving, slick-skating, two-way playing, dirty Euro prick strip one of our guys and wind up on a breakaway? Of course he scores. Of course the wind visably comes out of the Blues. Of course the Wings win.
When I turned on the game tonight, I said to the wifeditor, "Fedorov just got traded to the Jackets for nothing and this is his first game. He hasn't scored yet this year. I'm guessing a hat trick."
She said, "I was gonna say five goals."
I'm sure the Blues were thinking it too.
But, man oh man, how great was that Stempniak goal (Winner: first hockey writer to put that in a story!)? Seconds before it happened, I was literally thinking to myself, "the Blues don't really deserve to win this. They're playing 2003 hockey in a different era of play. You can't grind out goals anymore. Slick playmakers who create space are more dangerous than goal crashers now." In fact, that was going to be my column for tonight. But then, seconds later, Lee freakin Stempniak stole the puck along the boards, avoided a forward (Hrdina) who thought about hooking him before thinking, "why take a penalty on a Stempniak? A guy named Stempniak can't possible have a move", deked one defenseman literally onto his jock and then beat Marc Denis with a move that I didn't think would work at the NHL level, but does due to the new rules, and potted a huge goal.
So, there goes a whole, perfectly good column. But I'll trade it for the win. I've got my son watching some games with me and he's learning as he goes. Tonight he asked me if the Blues win always or just sometimes. This is tough to explain to a kid who is still at the age where he thinks his soccer team wins every game. So do all the kids on the other team. I told him that the Blues don't win much, but that they'll be better soon. I still believe it. Maybe I'm still at an age where the good guys always win.
Anyway, the win gives us all hope. Maybe we can shock Pavol and the Kings back here on Tuesday (notice I skipped Detroit on Saturday?). Maybe we can beat the Wild in MN. Maybe we can beat the Jackets again here on Saturday the 26th. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
On another note, here's the first GT contest: Give Stempniak a nickname!
Whomever sends me the best Lee Stempniak nickname will get a contributor credit for the rest of this year in every GT paper. Plus, when I finally get the GT gear up and running, I'll send you a free t-shirt. Send your submissions to email@example.com.