My old pal Boyd Gordon is getting some love in this city right now and well deserved. It’s nice he’s finally in a hockey market where his subtle intangibles will be greatly appreciated and on full display.
Gordo and I grew up together in Washington; he was drafted two years after me in 2002. Much like the young Oilers of today we were part of the kid crew on a rebuilding team in DC. We personally lacked the speed and skill of this Oilers squad but that’s what we had Ovechkin for.
Gordo has always played a very defensive role and was a guy from day one of his rookie year in 2003-2004 that did all those responsible “little” things you hear about but are often hard to see.
His coaches and teammates always noticed.
I wondered when he signed here if fans would think his contract was a tad steep for his offensive numbers. He’s never been a big point producer but he’s off to a great start offensively to go along with all the other things he does right. There is much more to his game than goals and assists.
He currently has two goals and one assist, is tied for the team lead in blocked shots with 10 and has a team leading 62.4 faceoff percentage through four games. You will find him atop the blocked shots and faceoffs category for as long as he plays.
I don’t think it’s fair to expect this scoring to continue when Gagner comes back; it’s not the type of player he is today, but that doesn’t make him any less valuable to the team. He plays the same way every single night and if he pots 20-25 points a season that’s what they signed him for. Anything more is a bonus.
There is no flash to his game, he’s as simple as it gets. He’s fantastic on faceoffs, he can check top lines and he will sacrifice his body at all costs to block a shot. He’s not the biggest guy in the world and he’s not going to put anyone through the end of the rink but he’s hungry on the puck and when you are talking about paying the price to win, he’s up there with anyone I’ve played with.
I remember one night during the 2004-2005 lockout we were playing for the Portland Pirates in the AHL and he was caught out of position on the penalty kill. A position where most guys would just give up the shooting lane he dove recklessly head first back into the line of fire and took a slap shot square in the forehead. He got up and went to the dressing room for about 50 stitches.
He then came back to the same game with no visor, a ton of stiches heaped with vaseline on it and a goose egg that forced his helmet to sit even farther up on his head. Many guys would have mailed it in for a week or two, but not him.
Some people may call that stupid in today’s world. I call it a guy I want on my team when trying to change a team culture and make the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
Gordo played through some bleak years in Washington but eventually was a part of a core that transformed them into a playoff team. He has been through this type of rebuild before and will be a good fit for a team that is on the upward swing and learning what it takes to win.
He’s a quiet guy, he’s not a rah rah type personality but hopefully some of his simplicity on the ice and willingness to do the “team” things will rub off around Oil Country.
This team needs more of that.