I apologize for no significant blog entries in the days since the mailbag, so let’s play a little bit of hockey catch-up.
• The game in Edmonton was especially painful because when you give up all the ground you gave up back in the first 60 days of the season, you use up all of your mulligans. You simply cannot get handled that easily against a team that you are fighting against in the standings. Perfect definition of a 4-point game, and the Stars gave up all 4 to Edmonton. They out-shot Edmonton, which is a fine trend we are starting to see with regularity, but, they could not beat Dwayne Roloson – and Marty did not have a great evening.
• Then, on to Vancouver, with the weather screwing up the Stars and knocking them out of their routine with a Sunday morning flight as opposed to waking up in Vancouver. By the way, if there is a city in which you do not want to shorten your stay, it is sweet Vancouver. From my perspective, after watching Saturday’s disappointment, I wasn’t feeling terribly optimistic when the Stars fell behind 2-0 to the Canucks to start the game. But, then came the text-book definition of a big goal when Mike Modano scored in the final seconds of the 1st period to cut the lead to 2-1. This is the type of goal that coaches fear – a momentum turner right before an intermission. Both teams go to their respective rooms with a totally different feeling than they had for the first 19+ minutes of the period. The Stars room was now optimistic, and after Jere Lehtinen put a sweet pass on Mike Ribeiro’s stick that 63 buried, the game was 2-2. From there, both teams got after it – but neither could get that 3rd. Thankfully, the Stars won the shootout after a very entertaining game, and they fly back with 2 points out of 4 in the mini-trip. About midnight, I turned the tv off, and felt pretty solid about the Stars night.
• On Monday, Canada finished off the World Juniors with a win over Sweden. The tournament gave us a few classic games, including USA-Canada, USA-Slovakia (That dang goalie!) and Canada-Russia. Russia absolutely had Canada beat, and Canada scored an amazing goal with just seconds left in the semi-final. I really enjoyed this tournament, and I thank the NHL Network for a) showing it and b) showing it in HD. Jamie Benn looks really, really good.
• And now we wait for Detroit – 2 times in the next 5 days. The Stars are still in the mix for the playoff run, but they have to get points in almost every situation. They now have games in hand which are nice to have – provided you win the games when you play them.
Now, on to the Landon Wilson injury. It was a quick and odd fight with Dustin Penner the other night.
Wilson vs Penner – 1/3/09
Mike Heika wrote plenty about the road of injuries that Landon has traveled …and it is certainly one that will no doubt put the wear and tear on his body that most of us will never understand.
I don’t know Landon at all. But, his dad, of course, is one of the longest tenured members of this organization, Rick Wilson. If I had a dollar for every time I have had a conversation with Rick while we both nursed a Starbucks product, I would be set for life.
But, his son demonstrates that not all careers navigate from the 1st round to the hockey hall of fame.
Landon’s playing Career from Hockey Data base …
Soon to be 34 years old, Landon started as a first round pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 1993. He was then sent to Quebec in the Mats Sundin deal, and then relocated with Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and the rest of the Avs was part of the 1996 Cup Winning Avalanche, but did not play enough to get his name on the cup that year.
Wilson was sent to Boston in 1997 in a deal for Robyn Regehr, and spent the next 4 seasons with the Bruins – playing part of every season with Boston and part of every season in Providence. He then signed in Phoenix in 2000, and was a fixture with the Coyotes for the next few years until his significant eye injury he suffered that many thought would be the end of Landon Wilson.
He rehabbed, then played more with Phoenix, a quick stop in Pittsburgh, a year in Finland, and 3 years in Switzerland (where he evidently turned into a bit of a goal scorer with 60 goals in 101 games! Not sure what kind of hockey they play in Switzerland, but wow) up until last year.
Starting this fall, he played in Grand Rapids in the AHL, and was there when the Stars called for him.
I encourage you to look at his playing career and when you consider the Mike Modano’s of the world, also remember that there are dozens of Landon Wilson’s for every Modano. In fact, Wilson’s career has lasted professionally 15 years, so there are many players would love to have a career like Landon.
So, while we are all fixated on the superstars and the rookie prospects, spend a moment periodically pondering a road where you switch addresses about 15 times, but play hockey for a living for at least a decade and a half. It is a pretty cool story, I think.
Wilson vs Barnaby - 1996