What would you say if you could speak to a long-gone player from your team? Would you try to bring them back? Would you pad their ego?
“Hey you’ve reached Alex leave a message”
Alex? Are you there? If you’re listening just hear me out. I’m so sorry about the way things ended. I should never have listened to Cliff Fletcher. He had clearly become the “Senile Fox” by then. We were all still so happy to be rid of JFJ that we said and did some things we didn’t really mean. Now you’re in St. Louis and I’m here all alone, without you. How did it get to this point?
It was love at first sight. We met at the 2002 Entry Draft, you went 24 overall but you were #1 in my heart. We already had our Big Swedish Centre and when we got you I thought you’d be the one to take his place. Look at some of those nobodies drafted before you, Jakub Klepis, Jesse Niinimaki, Petr Taticek. Your name shines like a beacon of two-way ability! We were both so young then, nothing but the future ahead of us.
I watched you from afar, playing in Sweden and in the World Junior Championships, knowing that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Then the lockout ended and you were finally coming home. In your rookie season you had 18 goals and 27 assists for 45 points. If it weren’t for that Crosby the Calder would be yours! Then Paul Maurice came and ruined everything. He gave you less ice time per game than Mike Peca, Kyle Wellwood, Nik Antropov, and Matt Stajan. He was afraid of your greatness. He blacklisted you from the Powerplay. You went from having 237 minutes of Powerplay time to only 123 minutes the next season. Only 3 more minutes than John Pohl! Who did he give those minutes to? Jeff O’Neill his best friend for Carolina. Nepotism thy name is Paul Maurice! You persevered and continued to put up solid numbers despite decreased opportunities. You were 3 years younger than Nik Antropov and putting up comparable points in a two-way role. What more could a fan want?
You started 2008-2009 off a little slow, but so did the rest of the team. They only won 7 of their first 20 games. Your ice time was down yet again. I was confident that you’d bounce back and produce consistently like you always do. You were always so dependable, like a piece of furniture from Ikea.
Oh how I regret the day you left. We were mad; we thought Lee Stempniak was the answer to all our problems. He scored a lot of goals, and those Stajan and Antropov fellows seemed like they could shoulder the load down the middle. How wrong we were! You went to St. Louis and did what you always did, put up 50 points while playing a solid two way game.
We need you back. You are the Allen-Key we need to re-build this franchise. You can play with anyone, in all situations. You’re a dependable forward who could play on the first line or third. Center or Wing, the ultimate utility forward for just a little bit more than we’re paying Colby Armstrong. Come back! We need a big Swede at Center, it’s just not the same without one.
I’m sorry Alex, we’re sorry. We were wrong. Please come back.