David Legwand has simply had a remarkable playoff run this year for the Nashville Predators. Of course, "remarkable" can be taken in both a positive and negative way.
While he's evoked the "Playoff Legwand" image of the last couple years, dominating the flow of the game and contributing offensively at a far greater pace than in the regular season, there have also been a few baffling incidents which make you wonder where his head is at times.
This juxtaposition has been nagging away at me lately, but I think I've discovered what's going on here...
First, in Game Three against the Detroit Red Wings, Legwand reached out and grabbed the jersey of Johan Franzen from the bench, a move I've seen as a gag in beer-league hockey, but never at the NHL level. While he got lucky in that Franzen retaliated with a spear, resulting in coincidental minor penalties, it was simply a boneheaded, undisciplined thing to do:
Secondly, you had this incident in Game Four, where Leggy covered the puck with his glove in the crease. If the refs had spotted it, the Red Wings would have received a penalty shot, but Legwand hid the puck until he got off the ice, discreetly getting rid of the evidence upon reaching the bench. Again, he got away with the deed, but it was incredibly risky, if not reckless:
Then last night, the most mystifying incident of them all, wherein he tossed a puck over the net from behind, leaving Pekka Rinne completely befuddled as Radim Vrbata scored a key goal for Phoenix:
So there, just in the span of a couple weeks, you have three completely out-of-character plays committed by the hands of an otherwise productive player, the "Original Predator" who is supposed to embody all that is Smashville hockey.
There has to be an explanation.
Perhaps what's going on here is another one of those hockey injuries that we just don't hear about in public, and in this case, I'm wondering if Legwand has been down to the Vanderbilt Hand Clinic and had a transplant. See, there's this classic silent film, "The Hands of Orlac", in which a concert pianist loses his hands in a terrible accident. Doctors are able to graft on a transplanted pair from a recently executed murderer... with predictably ghastly results.
I can only guess that's what lies behind what we're seeing now. "Playoff Legwand" is doing his job, driving the play up-ice and giving the Preds many of their best offensive chances. On occasion, however, some unknown malevolent impulse directs those hands to a terrible purpose, one which ultimately threatens the team's playoff hopes.
So strap yourself in for a good old-fashioned German Expressionist horror flick. Hey, it's at least a little less scary than last night's game highlights..