Each week hockey columnist Scott Morrison and his protegé, senior hockey writer Tim Wharnsby, exchange (mostly) friendly banter on the latest storylines in the NHL.
1. What was your reaction to Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux's criticism of the league in the aftermath of the Penguins-Islanders brawl, in which there were 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts?
WHARNSBY: It would have been better if Lemieux's statement included remarks about his runaway train, forward Matt Cooke. I would be frustrated too if my team was dealing with a six-week absence of Sidney Crosby, but Pittsburgh's Cooke has been guilty of some heinous on-ice crimes, as well. See his hit on Boston's Marc Savard last March. See the four-game suspension he received for hitting Columbus defenceman Fedor Tyutin from behind last week.
MORRISON: Mario Lemieux is certainly entitled to share his opinion on the state of the game, except he commented on one game and clearly he didn't like the suspensions the league had imposed, with his player getting the automatic and biggest penalty. Like you say, if he spoke out about Matt Cooke or other things happening in hockey and was active at the board level it would carry an even greater clout. Hopefully this will inspire him to be further involved, otherwise this too shall pass quietly. Fact is, until teams are accountable with their own players, there will be no behavioural changes.
2. What was your favourite story from the past week?
MORRISON: It had to be Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada. Being in Whitehorse, to see and feel the excitement, all the clinics we had, the school visits, the banquet … It was a heart-warming, special day that again reminded us how much this great game impacts our lives.
WHARNSBY: The return of 24-year-old Victor Oreskovich to the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks over the weekend. The native of Whitby, Ont., retired from hockey at age 21 following his demotion by the Colorado Avalanche after his second training camp. Oreskovich cited burnout for his decision, but rekindled his fervour for the game two years later and played in 50 games for his former junior coach Peter DeBoer and the Florida Panthers in 2009-10. He was traded last summer to the Canucks in the same deal that brought over defenceman Keith Ballard.
3. How will you remember 37-year-old Peter Forsberg after his decision to retire two games into his latest comeback bid?
WHARNSBY: When I think of Forsberg I think of Eric Lindros. The two will be forever linked. Lindros was taken first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991 and Forsberg went sixth overall to the Philadelphia Flyers. They were traded for each other. Both were hindered throughout their careers with injuries. Lindros, who is five months older, played 760 career NHL games, 52 more than Forsberg. They each won a Hart Trophy. The big difference was Forsberg's team success. Lindros won a pair of world junior titles with Canada, the 1991 Canada Cup, 2002 Olympic gold and made it to the 1997 Stanley Cup final with the Flyers. Forsberg never missed the Stanley Cup playoffs, won two world titles, 2006 Olympic gold and two Stanley Cups with Colorado.
MORRISON: Sadly, we will all remember the many failed attempts at a comeback over the past couple of seasons. He worked so hard, it is truly a shame he wasn't able to play longer, to at least play a final game in Colorado. It's kind of strange that didn't happen because he certainly didn't embarrass him in his two games. Anyway, I will remember Forsberg as being a dynamite power forward. If people still believed the stereotype that Swedes were softer players, Forsberg put that to rest. He was fast, hugely skilled, had a quick release and a penchant for scoring big goals in big games. Next stop, the Hockey Hall of Fame.