Are We There Yet?

It seems like it’s been forever since we saw our hockey team on the ice. April 9th to be exact, in a 2-0 win against Nashville. Unfortunately, the waiting is not near over.  According to this little countdown, we still have 59 days left(1st preseason game against the Bolts). Anyone else hate playing the waiting game? Although this seems to be a good ways away, it’s more time for the newer players to get acquainted with the rest of the bunch.  I know I’ve said it once already, but I can’t wait to see what the newly picked up, veteran players can teach this very young team from a year ago. I’d like to focus on these few mentioned players and what they’ve been able to achieve in their lengthy careers.

Talk about a long career. Jason Arnott was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1993 NHL draft(7th overall), but at age 36, he still has a lot to offer in my eyes. This guy has just about seen it all. With the 6 NHL teams he’s played for, none stands out more than the New Jersey Devils.  His tenure there from ’97-’02 was something to remember. Not only did his team win the Stanley Cup in  2000, but he was the was the one who scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime of game 6. In his career(1,172 games), Jason has tallied 400 goals, 504 assists, a +68 rating, and 61 game-winning goals. Remarkable numbers for a remarkable career and it’s still not over. He now carries these numbers with him to St. Louis where he plans to do nothing but add to those totals. Lets just hope he still has some fuel left in the tank.

 

Another vet and former teammate of Arnott’s, Jamie Langenbrunner has also had his share of the Cup.  Jamie was also brought into the NHL in 1993 when he was drafted by the Dallas Stars(35th overall). He has not only won 1 Stanley Cup, but 2.  The first came with the Stars in 1999 and the second with the Devils in 2003.  After spending 9 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Jamie was reunited with the Stars mid-year last season.  He would only play 39 games with his original team and is now a first-time Blue. Although Langenbrunner has struggled as of late, his career gives hope to this organization. In his many seasons in the NHL(1,035 games), Jamie has recorded 237 goals, 401 assists, a +54 rating, and 55 game winning goals. Hopefully he can go back to his play from a few years ago and be a key piece for this team.

 

Like the previous two mentioned players, Scott Nichol was also part of the 1993 NHL draft when he was brought in by the Buffalo Sabres(272nd overall).  He has split majority of his career split between the WHL, AHL, and NHL and has never really had stability in any league until the 2006-2007 season. Starting at that point, he spent 3 seasons with the Nashville Predators where he posted mediocre numbers. In 2009, Scott was shipped to San Jose where he had spent the past two seasons. His career has not been spectacular, to say the least, posting only 52 goals, 66 assists, a -13 rating, and 4 game-winning goals in 552 games. While his stats aren’t outstanding, he’s yet another veteran player with playoff experience, and that’s something this team needs.

 

Jonathon Cheechoo is a name that has drifted away in recent years. Brought into the NHL in 1998 by the San Jose Sharks, this guy showed he was a gem starting in 2003. In that year, he scored 28 goals, 9 of which were game-winners. The following year stole the show, however.  Winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2009, Cheechoo that year scored 56 goals(11 game-winners) and had 37 assists.  What an incredible season. Unfortunately after that, he began to spiral downwards. The following year he had 37 goals, 23 in ’07,  12 in ’08, and only 5 in ’09. He was eventually sent down to the AHL in ’09 where he posted 14 points(8 goals, 6 assists) in 25 games. Will he continue to slump coming into St. Louis? Well, that’s yet to be proven. One thing is for sure. He’ll first have to prove anything in Peoria. I really hope this guy gets another shot at the big-time and hope he still has some tricks up his sleeves.

 

In my eyes, these players bring in the veteran leadership this team has been lacking. While these guys are far from their peak in their careers,  they can still give words of wisdom to the young and can hopefully build them into the true players these guys once were. It’ll be interesting to see how the players develop throughout the season. 52 Days….

 

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