The 67th in our 118-part series.
It doesn’t seem fair to write a post about Pando and Madden without giving some love to Sergei Brylin. It seems like our unsung trio has been slowly but surely sung. Madden had his day in the sun when he won the Selke, and PandoNation has grown in such numbers that he came close to winning it this past year. That means that Sarge’s sung year must surely be upon us. There’s lots to celebrate when it comes to our snack-sized three-time Cup winner. Seriously, he’s the interchangeable-est part on a team that prides itself on interchangeable parts. No matter where the coaches ask him to go, Sarge is there, putting in yoeman’s work and never complaining. Need a fill-in on the top line? He’s your man. Need a wee guy to put in a few hard-driving fourth-line minutes? Ask Sarge. Want a stalwart to stand in with Pando and Madden on the checking line? He’ll do it well. Left wing, right wing, center, he doesn’t care. He just plugs himself into whatever spot needs him, and carries on.
Sarge is like that perfect cardigan sweater that somehow manages to dress up enough to wear to a nice dinner, but it also the best sweater for wearing to movies. You’d never pick it as your favorite article of clothing, but when it finally starts to come apart of the seams, you realize you can’t imagine your wardrobe without it. Due to his insane durability (Sarge’s knee problems get resolved faster than some guys can get stitched up after an errant high stick) we can’t imagine Sarge unraveling anytime soon, but when he does, sung or not, we’ll all realize there were never be another like him. (Plus, what would a retrospective of Stanley Cup celebration footage be without that always-delightful shot of Sarge tripping over the boards on his way out to the ice in ’95?)