When Johnny Ericsson hit the ice, my phone rang. Twice, in fact. One was my dad, calling to discuss the Joe Theismann-like grossness of the frame-by-frame. A former soccer player, he had some insight to share on lower-body injuries and legs bending that way (hint: they’re not supposed to). After a few minutes, we both agreed that “that… that right there… that don’t look so good.”
The other call was my mother, a big fan of Ericsson because “oh my God he’s so cute.” A huge hockey fan in her own right, she questioned the Wings’ conditioning this season, since they are dropping like flies. Shane Doan’s knee colliding with Jonathan Ericsson’s will ALWAYS make it buckle like that, so I didn’t think conditioning was the issue. I continued to toe the TPL company line and blame Bertuzzi.
Then she says “what about the malocchio?” The malocchio, or evil eye, is effectively the mystical Italian equivalent of the Hockey Gods. It’s believed to curse a person or persons with bad luck, injuries, or other strange occurrences and is usually directed at ones that are envied (and it’s no secret the Red Wings are the envy of the hockey world – particularly over the last dozen years or so).
Now the question becomes… are the Red Wings cursed by someone from the outside (meaning, we should all chip in and buy 23 cornutos to prevent further injury) or by Todd Bertuzzi from within, meaning he brought the malocchio with him? You know what I think.
But in the incredibly unlikely possibility that it is not Bertuzzi’s fault that bad juju has befallen our Red Wings, we must look outside the organization. No, Natalie, you and Brian are not suspects: although one might find it odd that Bertuzzi snapped out of his spiral of suck while you were in town and promptly returned to it after your departure. For now, you get a pass.
So, in an effort to purge the Beast, I offer the most likely candidates and offer up sacrifices, mostly in the form of shame and falsified compliments.
Perhaps it wasn’t enough to literally hand the Pittsburgh Penguins the Stanley Cup in June. After all, Gary’s a fragile little boy and it’s always been apparent that Bettman hated the Wings. But if getting booed every time you’re in any arena on the planet isn’t enough, let’s not forget the handshake-snubbing incident (no, not Crosby, the one featuring the infinitely badass Mike Ilitch) which is sure to have embarrassed Bettman. It’s entirely possible that moments after slithering into his hole, he unleashed the malocchio onto the Red Wings for 2009-10. Sure, expansion was stupid, the two lockouts were unmitigated disasters, and hockey has become a second-class citizen on your watch, but the Red Wings remain one of the more profitable names in sports and have done plenty to appease Mr. Bettman, namely taking part in the Winter Classic (thus ignoring their own tradition of the New Years Eve game) and opening the season in Sweden (thus forfeiting the gate of a home game).
In an effort to detract attention from the intent to blow nonsense, maybe LaRue cursed the Red Wings. Looking back, that Brad May no-goal now hardly ranks in the top ten of the most ridiculous shit that’s unfolded in the last two months. But we all know Dennis LaRue is one of the best in the game, evidenced by his invitation to ref the Olympics. Just don’t be surprised when the Dallas Stars somehow take home gold.
Threatened by Jonathan Ericsson’s ability to heal himself, Chuck Norris is angry. So, I’ve pre-ordered Walker: Texas Ranger: The Complete Series on Blu-Ray*. I alluded to Norris possibly being related to Ericsson in an earlier post, which also probably angered Norris.
*doesn’t actually exist. Get on that, Paramount.
KEN HITCHCOCK AND THE BLUE JACKETS
It was widely publicized this off-season that the neckless wonder was outspoken about “wanting to make Detroit bleed,” saying that he was tired of looking up at Detroit in the standings. Well, you’ve got star netminder Steve Mason (oh, he’s not having a Calder-like season this time around?) and you’ve got playoff experience (oh, that didn’t end well?). Fret not, Columbus is one of those teams that has a bright future, like the Chicago Blackhawks only not actually good or in a city that deserves a team.
MARIAN HOSSA (AND, FRACTIONALLY, TOMAS KOPECKY)
It’s believed that with Hossa’s new contract, Chicago is destined to lose in the Final. The send-off he received from the Wings fans (read: kick in the ass and a hip hop hooray when news of the shoulder thing unfolded) is probably enough to make him wish bad things on his former employer. But, he is one of the more talented guys on Earth, and, after nine games, he’s already half-way to the Herculean numbers that Bertuzzi is putting up. Hopefully someone in the Hawks organization told him that the season ends when the last game is played, not in March.
I doubt heavily that he’d ever wish ill on the Red Wings, but maybe he was a little more let down than he let on when the Red Wings declined to offer an extension. He seems happy as a member of the Chicago Wolves, and even hinted that he’d like to return to the Red Wings. One might have thought that losing Lilja, Kronwall, and Ericsson — half of the projected blueline squadron — might be something that would have meant Chelios might have gotten a call. But, he hasn’t, and he’ll continue mentoring young Atlanta Thrashers prospects, something the Thrashers should be really pleased with.
Not only was he the whipping boy for the Detroit Red Wings in the 90s, he didn’t win Skating with the Stars – or whatever the hell it was called. I’m sure it’s not because of his top-notch turtling and/or clutch playoff scoring – both of which he was one of the best in the biz.
Sure it’s their 100th anniversary for the second year in a row, but — math bedamned — NO ONE IS GOING TO RUIN THAT PARTY. Except perhaps 70% turnover from a year ago and inviting Gordie Howe to the centennial ceremony, presumably to show all the Canadien Hall-of-Famers what a real hockey player looks like. You can’t have him, Montreal. NOT YOURS.
TODD MCLELLAN AND THE SAN JOSE SHARKS
Sure, they’re the best team in the NHL again. But you all know what that means. It means they’ll be golfing by the end of April. So much talent, it doesn’t make sense. They’ve been Cup favorites for like 8 years in a row, and under the prowess of McLellan, one would assume this could be their year. Although it wasn’t last year…but the Red Wings didn’t have the Malocchio chasing them around.
This one brings us back to Bertuzzi. Do something bad, something bad happens to you. No matter where you go. Even if its Vancouver, Florida, Detroit, Anaheim, Calgary, or Detroit again.