I’m knee-deep in Winter Classic preview stories, so Josh Yohe is covering the game tonight against New Jersey. Also, I took on the story of RW BILL GUERIN’S retirement. Allow me a quick story about Guerin after I urge you to look Sunday for a one that involves one of my musical idols.
The Penguins had dropped Game 5 of Round 1 during the 2009 playoffs. A series they opened with 2-0 lead had become 3-2, and they’d been shut out at Civic Arena. In fact, they weren’t looking a lot like the better team.
In the dressing room after Game 5, I posed a question — something about a sense of urgency, I believe — that Guerin redirected by delivering a speech about something entirely different, a subject of his own choosing. This wasn’t the first time he’d done that in the series.
Sometime in the next round I had a few moments alone with Guerin during an off-day at Washington. He had said something that made me laugh, and I cracked wise about that being the first exchange we’d shared recently during which he actually appeared interested in hearing my thoughts.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: Oh, it’s just that I keep asking you questions and you keep not answering them.
Him: I answer them, buddy.
Me: Well, yeah; but you go off on a tangent about something all together different than what I asked about. Makes me think I need to work harder at coming up with questions.
Him: No, they’re good questions… but I’m not going to answer them honestly in the playoffs. I know how that goes. You say all the right things in the playoffs. This isn’t my first rodeo.
Me: Ahh, I see.
Him: Ask me them in the regular season and I’ll answer them.
Him (laughing): Probably not.
In that moment I realized what was so special about Guerin. He has a gift, as C SIDNEY CROSBY said Monday, and that gift is a wit quicker than anybody I know aside from local radio star Mark Madden.
OK, dear readers, this is the spot on Chipped Ice where you get some rankings. These are from USAtoday.com, a voting pannel of which I am a part. Check out my votes after checking out this link: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2010-12-06-power-rankings_N.htm
1 – DET; 2 – PIT; 3 – BOS; 4 – MTL; 5 – PHI; 6 – VAN; 7 – WSH; 8 – NYR; 9 – DAL; 10 – LAK
11 – ATL; 12 – TBL; 13 – PHX; 14 – CHI; 15 – COL; 16 – SJS; 17 – NSH; 18 – STL; 19 – BUF; 20 – ANA
21 – CLB; 22 – MIN; 23 – CAR; 24 – FLA; 25 – CGY; 26 – OTT; 27 – EDM; 28 – TOR; 29 – NJD; 30 – NYI
1 – Sidney Crosby, PIT
2 – Tim Thomas, BOS
3 – Steven Stamkos, TBL
4 – Brad Richards, DAL
5 – Nicklas Lidstrom, DET
1 – Tim Thomas, BOS
2 – Carey Price, MTL
3 – Jonathan Quick, LAK
4 – Sergei Bobrovsky, PHI
5 – Ondrej Pavelec, ATL
1 – Nicklas Lidstrom, DET
2 – Kris Letang, PIT
3 – John-Michael Liles, COL
4 – Mike Green, WSH
5 – Dustin Byfuglien, ATL
1 – Sergei Bobrovsky, PHI
2 – Jeff Skinner, CAR
3 – Tyler Ennis, BUF
4 – John Carlson, WSH
5 – Jordan Eberle, EDM