News broke yesterday that Blackhawks centerman Dave Bolland would have back surgery. This announcement came on the heels of speculation that Bolland was hurting and that he and the Blackhawks were mulling over ideas to help cure the pain. The Blackhawks press release – which hit just after the close of business, those sly devil dogs – contained a quote from Bolland’s surgeon, pronouncing everyone’s favorite number two center out for three to four months.
(As an aside, as late as Monday, the Blackhawks were stating publicly that, although surgery was an option, no decision had been made as to the mode of treatment Bolland would receive for his balky back. Lo and behold, the next official Blackhawk announcement comes yesterday, announcing Bolland had undergone successful surgery. So, for all our doctors out there – paging Dr. Morris, Dr. Morris – is it possible to be mulling back treatments one day and to undergo surgery to correct a herniated disk the next? Isn’t there some blood work or fasting involved here? Hey, I guess we should just be happy they didn’t sell it as “an upper body procedure.”)
Immediately, the internets went aflutter. What would the Hawks do without their third line center who aspires to be a top-six forward?
My take: eh. The Hawks are off to a decent start (9-5-2) – other than missing the boat on the chance to waive ‘dis Huet guy during the first week of October, I mean – without, of course, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews (six games missed) and Ben Eager (13 games missed). And, let’s face it, Bolland hasn’t really played a game all season; his injury was serious from the word “go” this fall. He just wasn’t the same player we saw last year, and the Hawks have been fine up to now.
Sure, the injury forces either (i) a bottom-six center to center a second line or (ii) a winger to move to the middle for the next 12 weeks. The good news is (i) Dave Bolland himself is a bottom-six center (at this point in his career) attempting to play center on a second line and (ii) wingers played center last season until the trade deadline in February to fine results. Remember that the Hawks played most of the season with only three bona fide centers – and one was named Colin Fraser. At least this time around the Hawks have a center in Andrew Ebbett who has shown himself to be capable in the role of scoring center – let’s hope the Hawks let him do it for a while – and a traditional third line center in John Madden.
Then, Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune Rosenblog beat all the journalists to the punch on the big-hitting no-story of the day: Forsberg to the Hawks. Normally I link these sorts of things, but when the writer wrote the story to drum up fake national attention, I say “nay.” Google it. You’re not getting these 50 hits, Rosenbloom!
(As another aside, there have been pages upon pages written about the differences between “real journalists” and bloggers in the past few years. (And, let’s ignore the fact that Rosenbloom’s story was posted on a “blog.”) Sure, the way we receive news and analysis is changing, but one difference between the two parties that’s rarely discussed is journalists’ willingness to write the “sexy story,” even when it’s ridiculous.
Typical, run-of-the-mill journalists print what their readers want to read, rather than the truthful analysis the readers deserve. Rosenbloom assumed his readers wanted to be comforted by the thought of watching Peter Forsberg center Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa for the next six months, so he ignored the fact that the odds are better that I’ll win the Norris Trophy this spring.
In the end, we got the usual, knee-jerk journalist’s reaction to an injury: a thoughtless hype on why the team needs an aging veteran who was euthanized by the hockey gods years ago.)
Don’t get me wrong: if this were 1996, I’d be driving the “Peter Forsberg to the Hawks” bus. I’d even grow mutton chops and start smoking.
But, it’s 2009. Sure, he’s only 36, but Forsberg hasn’t been a contributing regular in the NHL since 2002-2003, and his foot has limited him to 66 games in the last three seasons, not counting the current one. With that track record, Rocky Wirtz might as well go to the United Center roof and start throwing $100 bills on to the street, because Peter Forsberg will likely be physically unable to earn the money any team throws at him.
He’s a fantastic player; one look at his career stats will show that. But, his feet have lived the lives of a thousand nomads.
So, unfortunately for the Hawks, Peter Forsberg is not the answer; it’s fortunate, then, that they don’t necessarily need one.
*On the Farm*
–Byron Froese scored a goal and Kyle Beach had a goal and an assist in Everett’s 5-2 victory over Spokane.