I am a firm believer in the curse of the jersey. I've documented here
before about some of my own personal examples of the jersey curse kicking in. No jersey curse, however, has reached as deep as the one that affected Nils Ekman
. You see, one of my friends decided to get an Ekman jersey after a pretty darn good 2003-2004 campaign, and that decision seemed reasonable at the time. However, this season it became evident that the jersey curse was hampering Nils down. Even after he got elevated to the Thornton/Cheechoo line, Ekman was still inconsistent to a frustrating level, and he never, ever learned to stay onside.
Ekman's got pretty good hands, and when he wants to, he can be a pretty good two-way player. Back in 03-04, he killed penalties on a regular basis.
So what happened? How did Nils Ekman
lose his mojo? Simple -- my friend got his jersey and cursed him. Perhaps the curse was doubly strong because my friend had never owned a jersey of any kind before, let alone one with a name on it.
Earlier this season, Ekman had commented how he didn't want to get traded because he liked the Bay Area and he had just had a baby daughter. Well Nils, hope they sell Swedish food in Pittsburgh, because you've just been shipped out for a second rounder. Considering what Mike Johnson
and Richard Zednick
went for, Ekman's asking price was surprisingly high (a goalie prospect was thrown in, but he was way down in the Sharks' depth charts).
Is it a blessing or a curse? Ekman goes from what many consider to be a Stanley Cup contender to a bottom feeder. However, he's one of the NHL-proven talents on the Penguins roster. Does that mean he gets to play left wing with Sidney Crosby
? If so, that's not too bad of a move -- going from Joe Thornton
to Sidney Crosby
as your center.
The one cool thing I liked about Nils is that, besides the fact that he had no eyebrows
, he always seemed to be a genuinely nice fellow who was always smiling. In fact, on the occasion he was named one of the three stars, he'd skate and bow to the crowd a la Andre Agassi
. I can't say that Nils will be terribly missed other than by my friend who now has to buy a new jersey, but I wasn't exactly opposed to having a 20-goal scorer on the Sharks third line. Perhaps it's a salary dump, perhaps it's the pre-cursor to another move.
All I can say is that with Vincent Damphousse
gone and Nils Ekman gone, all of the Sharks players now have eyebrows.