I'm a fan of the guy. A lot of that stems from the fact that, as a person who isn't attached to non-sports TV programming, I end up watching a lot of sports, and that involves a lot of Sportscenter, and that involves some amount of John Buccigross on a weekly basis, and I like him almost by default because I know that he's more of a hockey guy than the person he's co-anchoring with. In a similar vein that's how I can tolerate the expert analysis of Barnaby and Melrose; since I don't have NHL network, I'm just happy to see hockey being talked about on my TV, even if it's making me 25% dumber. (That reminds me -- at the TTD Secret Santa exchange this Christmas, jot me down for the NHL network. Now I know that wouldn't be a real traditional present and it would be difficult to wrap, but just remember that whoever I draw is getting -- that's right -- two free tickets to the gun show. Sorry to blow the surprise but I got a little excited.)
So anyway, after drinking a bottle of bleach and crushing a bear can over his sack, Bucci was running out of extreme stuff to do and he wrote a little thing about Datsyuk and Zetterberg being past their prime. Oh yes this happened.
"First of all, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberrg are no longer in their NHL prime. Datsyuk is 31 and Zetterberg is 29. Those are not "prime" ages to play a nine-month NHL season (training camp to the Cup finals).
We've noted in this space for years -- hockey is a young man's game. Maurice Richard was 23 when he scored 59 goals in 50 games during the 1944-45 season. Bobby Orr was 22 when he scored 120 points and flew through the air to win his first Stanley Cup in 1970. Wayne Gretzky was 21 when he went 92-120-212 in the 1981-82 regular season. Sidney Crosby was 21 this past June when he became the youngest NHL captain to raise the holy grail.
Younger players are more energetic, more durable, heal quicker and, most important, have heightened mental clarity because younger people think only of the present, which is the key to creativity and productivity. I'm not saying Datsyuk and Zetterberg are Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden and will never win another Stanley Cup. Just realize that players get injured more in their 30s and begin a downward arc in their production."
Good lord is that bat shit.
What is a "prime" to you? To me, it would be the time in an athlete's career that his mental and physical peak are at their highest and closest points. They've "put it all together". They are never going to be as good as they are during that time span.
Pavel Datsyuk didn't have his best season until this year, at the age of 30. He was nominated for an MVP while being the best defensive forward in hockey. When he's healthy and operating at the height of his powers, there's hardly a hole to speak of in his game, and in the opinion of one incredibly biased Wings fan he has no equal. He's the games premier stick-handler and a top flight passer; he can play center or wing and dominate everywhere on the ice, whether he has the puck or not; he can be physical, he's a workhorse and if he can get a gust of wind he can out-skate anybody in the league. And Buccigross wants to forget all of this after five injury-plagued games in October, and because Pav's not 22 years old. Reading this made me want to my dick in a car door.
Z's not exactly an old man either. 16 months ago he won the Conn Smythe trophy and played so well that a few people whispered that he might be the best player in the world. He's suffered his share of injuries, but age has little if anything to do with that, as he's seemingly always had something nagging him. Datsyuk has better pure talent but Hank has been the steady go-to guy when we need it the most, year after year. And what has he shown through the first two weeks that makes anyone think he's declining permanently? He's a PPG player through 7 games, and this is with a groin injury and having missed preseason time, and not to mention the fact that he's skated with #44 for the past few nights. He's only 29 years old and he's got a contract that lasts until he's in his mid 50's so I certainly hope he's not already on the downswing.
Perhaps Bucci doesn't take the mental aspect into it. Maybe he's only talking physically ... I mean, Ovechkin is never going to be as physically dominant as he is right now. Oh wait I forgot:
"Younger players ... most important, have heightened mental clarity because younger people think only of the present, which is the key to creativity and productivity."
What in the living fuck does this mean? Pav can't see the ice as well because he's 31? How about Marc Savard, or Joe Thornton, or the Sedins, or Shane Doan? Those guys aren't in their primes because they're 30 or older? Shit, Heatley's nearly a corpse at 28 and he's going to score 70 goals this year. You can look up literally dozens of guys who didn't start having their best years until their late 20's or even their early 30's. Bucci has broke ground on an entirely new dimension of absurd.