Friday, July 6, 2007

The New Igor

Igor Grigorenko was interviewed recently, and a transcript has shown up at Russian Hockey Prospects, which I saw via James Jahnke at the Freep. It's a great read. Here's my favorite excerpt:
You probably followed Detroit’s last games against Anaheim during the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
I. Grigorenko: Of course. The games ended up being great! Nobody gave anyone an inch – everyone battled to the end. That is the kind of hockey that I like and that is why I am going to America.

But you are a playmaker?
I. Grigorenko: I am prepared for physical hockey and do not experience any problems with it. Let them be scared of me over there.
This is incredibly exciting. Word on the street is, Grigorenko drinks the blood of the innocent. I fully expect him and Jakub Kindl to be terrorizing the league within a few years, swooping from darkened heights to latch on to opposing players' jugulars before leaving their cold, withered corpses on the ice as they drive to the net. For a more conventional prospectus, I guess you could listen to what RWC has to say:
Sharp stickhandling skills and tricky 1-on-1 moves ... opportunistic scorer with quick, hard and accurate wrist shot ... terrific hockey sense ... intelligent offensively and equally capable of scoring and setting up linemates ... great on power play ... strong in traffic ... drives hard to the net ... stocky with rock-solid balance ... fiery intensity ... natural winger is versatile and also plays center ...

Injuries suffered in car accident have taken a step off his fast, shifty skating and could affect his ability to adjust to the high-tempo NHL game ... reports indicate he still feels pain in injured left leg ... sometimes lacks discipline and can take untimely penalties ... could elevate his defensive play ...
If Grigorenko can step in and score, say, 15 goals, with 4th line ice time, occasional 1st line duty with countryman Pavs, and occasional PP time, I would be delighted. He can go a long way towards replacing Calder and Bertuzzi.

There are a lot of open questions about the guy, though. How healed is that leg? How will he transition to the North American game? What will his nickname be? What number will he wear? To me the latter two are the most important.

First the nickname. There are a few basic ways to derive a hockey player's nickname. They are:
  • Add '-y/-ie' to the first name, or an abbreviated part thereof (e.g., Stevie, Cheli)
  • Add '-y/-ie' to the last name, or an abbreviated part thereof (e.g., Sammy, Ozzie)
  • Add '-s' to the last name, or an abbreviated part thereof (e.g., Drapes, Malts, Lids, Lils, Lebs, Dats)
  • Rarely, add '-s' to the first name (e.g., Pavs)
  • Add '-er' to the last name, etc. (e.g., Homer, Kronner)
  • Simply shorten the first name (e.g., Dom, Val)
  • Americanize some part of the name (e.g., Hank, Frankie)
  • Something completely random (e.g., Mule)
This leaves the following possibilities for Igor: Iggy, Griggy, Grigs, Iggs, Grigger, Igg, and, uh... Gregory. Grigs seems the most likely, but my vote is Gregory. That's just amusing. And let's stay away from Grigger, please.

As for the number? Grigs (see, I'm already doing it) seems to wear 34 in Russia, which is available here. But I'm not a big fan of goalie-numbers for skaters. How about 8, in honor a previous Igor? Matt Ellis currently wears 8, but he could probably be convinced to change (see comments about drinking blood above). Or how about 17. 17 is a badass number, and it's half of 34, so there's, you know, like, a numerological relationship or something. Gregory seems to have worn 21 for the WJC U20 team in 2002, and that number has been available for a while now. 20 would also be nice, as it would cleanse our numerical pallet of Robert Lang. He would undeniably look badass in 14, a power-forward's number. Doubt it's available though.

Alright, I just spent like a paragraph talking about jersey numbers. I'm gonna go read a book or something. Anyone have opinions for nicknames and numbers?