Joe Sakic announced he'll be returning to the Avs next season Wednesday. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
As part of my duties at The Hockey News, one of the features I am responsible for is the popular “Two Minutes in the Box” interview, something the magazine has done in some form for decades.
I’ve been conducting these interviews for nearly three years and have learned that some questions barely need to be asked anymore.
Favorite TV show? 24.
What do you like to do on team flights? Watch 24 on a portable DVD player.
Favorite movie? Shawshank Redemption or Gladiator.
The one question I haven’t asked in a while is “which NHLer do you admire the most?” When I did, the answer was almost always Joe Sakic. Like, 90 percent of the time.
Which is why Sakic’s latest re-up with the Avalanche is nice to see. Everyone knows Sakic is a first-ballot Hall of Famer once he retires – and ironically, when I ask players which current NHLer is a lock for the Hall, they all say either Sakic or Nicklas Lidstrom – but for him to skate around the ice in Denver for one more season is reassuring.
Sure, he took a while to decide whether he would return or not, but the Avs knew the score going into the summer. And with a good deal of young talent either blossoming now or coming up through the pipeline, making the playoffs in a tough Western Conference isn’t a life or death proposition in Colorado, where fans know their time among the league’s elite will return again soon.
Going forward, Colorado is Paul Stastny’s team. But for one more season, the whole league will get the opportunity to see a living legend who spent his entire career with one franchise.
It’s funny how things work, though. Two years ago the thought of a player starting his career and ending it in the same uniform was preposterous, but with mega-contracts being doled out to youngsters, all of a sudden it seems quite likely that Mike Richards, Rick DiPietro and Alex Ovechkin will have just one stop in the NHL.
And while some of the monster contracts have taken heat for being too out there and for being too long, Wednesday’s re-signing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic in San Jose seems to be an indicator the whole NHL isn’t crazy.
Vlasic has been a very serviceable defenseman for the Sharks and considering when he leapt into the NHL (one season after he was drafted in 2005) his ceiling has likely not been reached yet.
A four-year pact worth $12.4 million doesn’t put the expectations out of reach for the blueliner, but at the same time offers him a just reward for his quick progress and a vote of confidence on his future.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays, his column - The Straight Edge - every second Friday, and his feature, The Hot List appears Tuesdays.
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