Johan Hedberg-An Uncertain Future

March 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg (1) dives over Philadelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn (10) during the third period at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Devils 2-1, in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

He is not the most memorable goalie but still of him I have memories. His vigorous and comical warm ups in front of the net. His mini showers with his water bottle. His incidents on the ice that have seemed to have happened only to him. Diving towards a puck when playing for the Thrashers and winding up with his jersey over his head. In another game as a Thrasher winding up not in front of the net but under it.

He also had moments when he would shine as a goalie. He had had some spectacular saves. He would sometimes not even wait for the puck to get to him but would deflect it at some distance from the net. He had a determination that was very apparent as he would do whatever it took to keep pucks out of the net. It was also very apparent that he found joy in being a goalie by his eagerness to play.

One would think such a goalie would have a team and would belong somewhere. However, that is not the case for Hedberg. He is currently without a team and is wavering between two possible outcomes. One is to sign on to a team in need of a goalie. The other is to retire. Things in the NHL move quickly and the season is well under way. One thing is for certain. Whatever Hedberg decides to do it should be soon.

Age is most decidedly a factor here. Society may equate 40 with being the new 20 but not in the world of hockey. Like it or not, Hedberg is an aging player and that can never work in his favor when being considered for another team. Still, there is a lot of life left in him. He would be shortchanging himself and the NHL if he were to retire prematurely.

The best case scenario is that he signs on to a team in need of a back up or replacement goalie so that he may have some chances to play. For those of who have  hollered “Moose!” from the stands, laughed at his water bottle showers and comical warm ups and got excited at his saves, it would be awesome to see him in front of the net again. His retirement should occur when he feels no longer able to play, not because he doesn’t have a place to play.

Topics: Atlanta Thrashers, Johan Hedberg

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