Wow, that would have been a great first line anytime from 1996-2004. Could it be a great line in 2007? I'd love to find out.
I just signed on to a petition to bring Selanne to Montreal. I did it mainly for fun, obviously. No one cares about an online survey. No one signing or trading NHLers anyway. Actually, it was a bit of a change of heart for me. I was pretty pleased to go with the young guys, and already thought they were getting a bit crowded out on the current roster. But, I thought Selanne was worth making an exception. There are 5 good reasons in my mind:
1) He is a goal scorer. Beyond Michael Ryder, and possibly Latendresse, no one gets that tag on our team. We have a lot of playmakers, all-rounders, defensive-minded guys and of course Kovalev (who I think of as a puck controller, space maker, and mix of shooter/passer). Selanne can pass, but he's always scored goals.
2) He won a cup. Not singlehandedly, but he played a big part. His experience is recent and would bring a positive vibe to any dressing room.
3) He and Koivu together dominate. Koivu is good with a lot of players, but with Selanne he wins championship scoring titles. He and Selanne are friends and know how to play together. A nice combination.
4) He's a star. He has a nickname. He could take the pressure off some of the young guys allowing them to learn and progress in his shadow.
5) He's a short-term contract. Already thinking of retiring. He could sign for one or two years and then make way for the players coming through. They'd be two years further along and will have benefited from the tutelage of a hall of fame winger.
As a bonus, I might be able to make my Recchi shirt into a Selanne shirt without changing the number. Sorry Komi, I'm not a big fan of stay-at-home defensemen for the shirts I wear.
Here the first line then (in my dreams):
Kovalev lost a little steam last year, but I believe he will be back as good as ever. And you won't be able to tell by checking the stats at the end of the year, either. You'll have to watch the game, properly, to know for sure. He will dominate 8-10 games and be the most noticeable player in another 15, I think. Points? Who knows. Goals he creates by scoring, assisting or making space for others: numerous.
Koivu had his best ever statistical season. He deserved it. He's been a 75-80 point guy all along, I think. With Selanne he's an 85-90 point man. But again, his effect goes well beyond points to controlling the tempo and the puck for the team. He'll be great this year – again.
Selanne flies down the wing, hair flowing to chants of Tee-Tee-Tee. Lemaire (I mean Koivu) feeds him the puck and it's magic. As long as Teemu is happy to shoot and let the other two do the carrying, then it'll be gold.
Let's see if Bob Gainey agrees with me. At this point, I hope so.