Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The End of the Old Guard

Yeah, I think so. The last vestiges of a bygone era are starting to drop like flies, or at the very least, show their age. Over the past year we've already seen Markus Naslund retire, while Sergei Fedorov and Mike Modano, both in their 19th seasons, recently announced they want to keep playing.

But just look at some of the guys this league has lost of the past couple years, since the lockout basically. Peter Forsberg, Jaromir Jagr, Trevor Linden, Dominik Hasek, some truly dominant figures...in their own era. How many of that past era of NHL Hockey are still around? There's the 2 mentioned earlier, Mats Sundin, Marty Brodeur, Brendan Shanahan, Nik Lidstrom, Joe Sakic, and Teemu Selanne. Then I suppose there's a 2nd tier; Scott Neidermeyer, Chris Chelios, Mark Recchi, Rod Brind'Amour, Sergei Zubov, Rob Blake, and Jeremy Roenick. Well Christ, there's still guys like Bobby Holik and Owen Nolan floating around. Remember when these guys were the Bee's knees? Remember when teams were built around these guys, instead of being called "veteran role players"? I'm sure they all do.

Now look around, outside of a few of those guys (I'll give you Sakic, Lidstrom, and Brodeur), they really are just veteran role players. It's a shame some of these guys can't accept, hell even recognize, when their time has come. The changing of the guard has arrived, well, it probably arrived 3 years ago. But now that the lights are fading on our oldest stars, they're really starting to shine for the up and coming superstars of a new generation.

Who's not excited to see Ovechkin try to top Selanne's 76? Could Crosby and Malkin put up 300 assists combined? Is Datsyuk really going to win the Selke for the next decade? Who is going to be the next Lidstrom? Pretty exciting huh?

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Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.