Monday, 28 May 2012

Petr Nedved and the Vancouver Canucks' sad draft day dirge

Holy flashback Batman, a Petr Nedved sighting at the World Championships! I didn’t know he was still playing.
You think Montréal suffers from draft revisionism, from first pick remorse. You should hear them here in Vancouver. Alex Stojanov, Jason Herter, Dan Woodley, they play the same broken record we play. And Dan from Edmonton has the same tale of woe, post 1990.
The 1990 draft, whenever it is brought up, is always referred to as the Great Miss, and the bellyaching commences ipso facto. First, the Canucks drafted ‘hometown hero’ Petr Nedved, since he played in their backyard with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Canucks have had the same luck drafting Thunderbirds in the first round as the Canadiens have (see, Vallis, Lindsay; Stevenson, Turner; Bilodeau, Brent) it seems. Instead of taking Hall of Fame and Stanley Cup winner Jaromir Jagr, or at least rugged centre Keith Primeau, they chose small, surly diva Petr Nedved, he of the contract holdouts and trade demands, the guy who couldn’t play in traffic they said since it would make him drop his purse.
Then late in the first round, the Canucks chose physical winger Shawn Antoski, a guy who was going to be the second coming of Cam Neely, only bigger and stronger, and a faster skater. Trouble is, he had hands of stone, and chosen immediately after the career plugger who was beset by injuries, were Keith Tkachuk, who would have filled the role of scoring tough forward nicely, and Martin Brodeur, another guy who the Canucks could have used. “Imagine Brodeur instead of Cloutier in nets”, they moan.
So it’s kind of a shock to see a smiling, happy Petr Nedved, a guy who is blamed for some lean years in Vancouver, much as we may look at Scott Gomez in years to come. He’s Andrei Kostitsyn to Vancouver fans, only way way worse, the guy they ended up with instead of the guy they should have got, and the guy who left town with a ‘Goodbye and good riddance’.

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