Teddy Purcell was taping his stick in the visitors' dressing room in Nashville on March 3, 2010, when he looked up at the television to find his life had taken a dramatic turn. Undrafted, perhaps under-appreciated and definitely a spare part, Purcell was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Tampa Bay Lightning for veteran center Jeff Halpern.
[...] The Lightning aren't facing elimination in Monday's Game 5 due to a host of circumstances, not the least of which is Purcell's two goals 1:03 apart in the second period of Game 4 that helped the Lightning erase a three-goal, first-period deficit en route to an unlikely 5-3 victory.
[...] "Players are made in the playoffs, [...] and you never know what to expect going in, so I think it's good for your confidence to know that you can play and contribute," [said] Purcell, who had never played an NHL playoff game until this spring but has chipped in four goals and 11 assists and ranks third in team scoring. [...]
Yes, but also a mere two points behind the league leaders in playoff points, who happen to be his teammates Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. Purcell is tied with that loser Pavel Datsyuk and that washed-up fool Henrik Sedin. Three points ahead of pathetic Daniel Sedin. etc. etc. [big laugh that turns seamlessly into sobs a la Yosemite Sam.]
Purcell played a couple of seasons in the United States Hockey League, then played one season at the University of Maine before the Kings signed him as a free agent in 2007. He played in 91 games for the Kings, splitting time between Los Angeles and the club's AHL affiliate in Manchester, over three seasons before the trade to Tampa [...].
"I guess it's been motivation my whole life. I was never drafted in the junior leagues either. [I] went to college when I was a 21-year-old freshman, so I was old as you can be going into college. [...] I always had doubters [...]; wasn't strong enough or wasn't fast enough and wasn't physical enough. So I guess it's always nice to prove those guys wrong, but I've always believed in myself and always knew that if I work hard, hopefully good things will happen. Just real fortunate that I wound up here in Tampa after the trade from L.A. and can't be more grateful for that," Purcell said.
The Lightning could hardly be happier, either.
"He's always had poise with the puck. I think what we were discovering with Teddy now is that when it's a tough game, when [...] there's not much space out there, he can do the same now as what he was doing before when he had a lot of space," head coach Guy Boucher said. "And to me, that's a major evolution of his game, because that means that what he was doing in the American League and college ranks, he can be doing in games now and not just during the regular season; he was doing it in the biggest games. [...]"
This is me, back in December 2009:
If you are reading this you have already read the other Kings blogs and you have seen the irate comments venting all over Ted Purcell. Ted Purcell is lost. Ted Purcell falls down. Ted Purcell is not NHL calibre. Ted Purcell shouldn’t be on the first line. Ted Purcell has naked pictures of Terry Murray. This, and every comment ever made last season about Kyle Calder now with Ted Purcell search/replaced in.
Ted Purcell is a rookie with something like 87 NHL games under his belt. He is not doing anything at all offensively this season. He has been solid on the other side of the puck, but he is infected with the worst case of goal-scoring blue balls I have ever seen. It’s easy to blame him for not "making the most of his opportunity." The opportunity being playing on the first line with Anze Kopitar. But in order for that to be an opportunity, Kopitar would have to be playing well, and he’s not.
[Kopitar is] in the middle of a 20-something game scoring drought, in which he’s scored twice. Teddy Purcell has been on his line for 2.5 games.
Teddy Purcell is a rookie who has not yet found his "game." Maybe he never finds it. I bet he does. Somewhere else. But I can’t shake the feeling that playing with Kopitar is not so much Murray’s attempt to jump-start Purcell as it is Murray’s (maybe unconscious?) attempt to jump-start Kopitar. And that’s messed up.
Look at the evidence. Everyone’s always trying to "find someone to play with" Kopitar. Who have we seen? O’Sullivan. Okay, he has his own problems; but that didn’t work. Matt Moulson. He was derided endlessly for wasting all of our time on the first line for ten minutes last year. Brown; he’s bugging me, too; but at least they used to have chemistry. Now they have to be separated. (I advocated for the separation and still think it’s correct, but you have to add Brown to the list of RW1 casualties). Now Purcell.
Don’t get me wrong. Purcell is not playing well [offensively]. But remember how old Robert Lang bounced around and was one of those (Purcell-ish) fairly big bodies with lots of skill but with something missing supposedly until he found himself on Jagr’s wing and the all of the sudden he’s got 600-700 points in the NHL.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Kopitar is supposed to Jagr-up Teddy. Because Kopitar is the 6-7 million dollar man. He’s our Jagr. Except maybe he’s not. Yeah, yeah, he’s 22. But, really, so what. Purcell is 24 and everyone says he’s too old to still be learning. And Kopitar makes the big bucks, and wears an A, and is on billboards. He should be able to get Teddy a few goals or at least a "helper" or two. Why can’t he?
I do know these three things: (1) these four losses are not on [Purcell], (2) he's going to have a career, eventually, (3) as a King, he's probably doomed. (bonus 4th thing) I hope he busts out of it and tells everyone to shove it up their five-holes.