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The Burgundy Letter

Concerns about Forsberg’s night.

The pre-season has ended, and I’m very much looking forward to Avalanche - Red Wings this saturday. Not only because of Peter Forsberg’s jersey retirement ceremony before the game, but also because my daughter will be baptized at the same time. Oh, and my fiancée will celebrate her 30th birthday at the same time. So there will be a lot of reasons to rejoice, which leads me to suspect that I will have to watch the game on sunday on Gamecenter.

During the game, the Avs will not only honour Peter Forsberg. They will also honour the three former Avs players that passed away during the summer - Wade Belak, Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei. As saddened as I am by the losses of the three players, I think the Avs would have made a better choice in honouring them on any other night. Or by moving Forsberg’s retirement ceremony.

Ruslan Salei was a member of both the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche during his career, so I can definitely see how it’d be fitting to hold a memorial service during the Wings game. But am I the only one who feels that with three players lost during one summer, it would have been more fitting to give them a night of their own instead of honouring them during “Forsberg’s night”?

What were the Avalanche thinking when they scheduled these two things together? I can’t see a scenario where the Avs manage to pull off these two arrangements on the same day. One will definitely overshadow the other. Whether it’s Forsberg’s jersey ceremony overshadowing the mourning of three lost players, or the other way around, remains to be seen. But I’m having a hard time seeing how you can incorporate both things on the same night.

My suggestion would’ve been to separate them. Have the jersey ceremony on opening night, and why not give the players a night of their own each? Surely they’ve deserved to be honoured as individuals?

The Avs play Dallas Stars at home November 18th, Red Wings at home again December 4th and the Predators at home January 10th. I’d like to see Skrastins, Salei and Belak respectively get their own memorial night when the Avs face teams those players belonged to as well during their careers (Avs don’t face the Maple Leafs on home ice during the 11-12 season, so you can’t honour Belak then).

I can see why you’d want to forget about this summer’s horrors and focus on the game of hockey, but at least give the three deceased players a night of their own. Even if you don’t give them individual nights, I think it would be more suiting to honour them on a night that is dedicated and focused solely on them.

What do you think about the Avs way of handling this? Am I way off base on this issue or do you agree?

Filed in: , , | The Burgundy Letter | Permalink
  Tags: colorado+avalanche, karlis+skrastins, martin+krantz, nhl, ruslan+salei, wade+belak



It seems like they want to get all of the non-hockey “stuff” out of the way in one night.  Vancouver lost Demitra and Rypien, and I believe they are having memorials or whathaveyou on different nights for each player.  Rypien is a little different because he never played for any other team but Vancouver.  To have the banner raising for western champs etc. and then to have memorials for both players in one night would be too much.  It’s nice to have them separated, and more meaningful to the players’ memories too.

Posted by peanutflower from Victoria BC on 10/06/11 at 06:37 PM ET


The idea of having a separate night for each player would drag the entire mourning process out and I think is a bad idea.

I have a hard time faulting the Avs for honoring past players all on the same night. Yes, retirement and death are very different, but why can’t we have one game to start the season that celebrates the past of the Avalanche whether it’s good or bad?

Posted by Grant from Denver, CO on 10/06/11 at 06:51 PM ET

Martin Krantz's avatar

Yeah, that’s the feeling I’ve been getting. “Let’s get it over and be done with it”, and that’s why I feel like giving them separate nights would’ve been more respectful. Oh man, I’m going to miss Demitra as well.

Posted by Martin Krantz on 10/06/11 at 06:51 PM ET

Martin Krantz's avatar

Grant, I can see why it wouldn’t be a good thing to drag it out and giving them three separate nights. You want to be able to close the book on these deaths, and I can totally see why. But I think honouring the dead at the same time you’re honouring one of your greatest players is a little too much. There would’ve been no harm in giving them another night, and focus on the ‘11-‘12 season the rest of the 80 games.

Posted by Martin Krantz on 10/06/11 at 06:54 PM ET


I think you have a point. One other concern is how long it will be before puck drop on Saturday. Fans are to in their seats at 5:45 for a 7:00 puck drop. I think that right there may turn people off from ANY memorial.

Posted by Grant from Denver, CO on 10/06/11 at 06:57 PM ET

Martin Krantz's avatar

True, that’s a pretty considerable chunk of time. Considering that a game takes about three hours, you have to be there nearly an hour and a half in advance, plus time for driving back and home.

Posted by Martin Krantz on 10/06/11 at 07:00 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I believe that honoring Forsberg and mourning the fallen players on the same night lessens both events.  I would have done this on two separate nights.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 10/06/11 at 08:03 PM ET

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