Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saying Goodbye To Sarge

It appears Sergei Gonchar is headed for Free Agency. It's probably not the worst thing that could happen for the Penguins either. He is getting up there in age and injuries have been a big part of his career as of late.

I haven't always been the biggest Gonchar fan. His game definitely has his faults, but for two seasons Sergei Gonchar was great on both ends of the ice. His impact on this team, and on the development of Evgeni Malkin have been undeniable.

I will miss seeing #55 on the ice, and I will surely miss that shot from the point which always seems to be on net.

What many people will remember was his whiff in the Montreal Series, a play which he clearly gave up on. Many people will look at him leaving as a guy chasing money. These views are totally acceptable to.

How will I choose to remember Sergei Gonchar? First off that picture at the top of this post will be my most lasting image of him. And the reason I will harbor no ill-will towards him following the money and not taking a discount here. He is a family man, a man dedicated to his daughter. Who are we as fans really to question his judgment when it comes to setting her up for, possibly, life?

I will also remember him as one of the Big 4 on this team during it's two consecutive Cup runs. Without him things are probably very much different. He was a warrior to play after his knee injury and he didn't let us down during the playoffs.

He has had 50 points in 9 out of the last 10 seasons, the most of any defenseman. As far as offensive minded defensemen go he is in a class with Nicklas Lidstrom and no one else this decade.

This isn't the final chapter, after all everyone thought we'd never see Orpik again once he hit the FA market, but if it is goodbye I wish him luck and a few more years in the league. He deserves both.

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