Mike Danton wants to return to the NHL

November 12th, 2009 by Burgundy Leave a reply »

Last night Sportsnet aired a brand new interview with former St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton. The hour long piece featured Danton in a no questions barred interview by Nick Kypreos. It was interesting, awkward and confusing all at once, but I recommend watching it if you get the chance.

Former St. Louis Blues foward Mike Danton

Former St. Louis Blues foward Mike Danton

I don’t want to get into what I think of the Danton/attempted murder story. Frankly I just don’t understand the story enough to write about it. There are so many inconsistencies with what David Frost, Mike Danton and filed reports say. Instead, I want to talk about is Danton’s desire to get back into the NHL.

It’s been more than five years since Danton last played in the NHL. Danton was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the St. Louis Blues in 2003 where he enjoyed a decent season with the club prior to his arrest and subsequent incarceration. During his interview with Kypreos, Danton expressed he is still capable of playing at an elite level. Danton insisted he could return to the NHL if Claude Lemieux could. This is where my problem lies.

Why do all comeback stories start with “if Claude Lemieux can do it…”?

It’s getting a bit old. First Theoren Fleury uses the line, then Danton… who’s next?

Lemieux’s comeback with the San Jose Sharks last season was anything but spectacular. It was mediocre to say the least. Here’s his stats:

18 games played, 1 assist, -5 plus/minus rating and 21 penalty minutes

Oh, he played one playoff game, too. But no results whatsoever. Sharks/Lemieux fans will be quick to point out Lemieux played on the 4th line and was used sparingly last season. There’s a good reason for that too.

Going back to Danton (the same argument can be made for Fleury too), why compare yourself to a player who saw 4th line minutes and made zero impact on the NHL’s strongest regular season team?

I’m all for a great comeback story. And if Mike Danton can find his way back into the NHL, great. But I don’t think he is doing himself any favors by pointing at the failure of Claude Lemieux last season.

As far as Danton’s return to the NHL… I don’t see it happening.

I have my doubts whether Danton can climb back to the NHL after such a long time away from it. He’s only 29, but he’s five years worth of steps behind other younger and better players. The game has gotten faster and he’s lost a step or two. It’s a double whammy for Danton. NHL players usually hit their stride by their mid 20s. Look at players like Ryan Kesler or Rick Nash – two very different players, but ones who’ve developed nicely with good structure and year over year improvements. By missing the majority of his key development time, can Danton really get back to the best hockey league in the world and make a decent impact? I really don’t think so.

And I haven’t even mentioned the (potential) negative impact his presence could have on an NHL team or the PR nightmare Mike Danton would bring.

Stay classy, Mike Danton.

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  1. owa says:

    Forget his ability for a second.

    I can’t imagine there’s a team in the NHL that wants this guy on their roster. He tried to plan the death of someone. That’s not killing dogs, drinking and driving, or getting into a bar fight; that’s trying to take a human life because they did you wrong.

    I know that Frost is an asshole, and probably deserves what’s coming to him, but it’s human nature to be wary of anyone who attempts what Danton attempted. Unless Danton can really bring serious skill to a team, I can’t believe that he’ll ever play in the NHL again.

  2. Burgundy says:

    Thanks for commenting, Owa.

    Certainly that’s the other side of this too. It’s not that I don’t want to touch on it… I have no idea what to say or think. Some have pointed to Craig MacTavish and the mistake he made at a young age as reasons for why Danton can/should get a comeback. Others have referenced Probert’s time in jail and return to the NHL… but yes, Danton was in jail for way more serious things.

    Personally, I don’t see Danton making any more than a decent 3rd line player at best. And that’s being nice. More importantly and to your point, I’d never have him on my team. Not only would I be concerned with the impact it would have on team culture, etc… that interview doesn’t tell me Danton understand’s what he did was wrong. He spoke like he had to go down this path to find himself… blah blah blah, but didn’t really show much remorse at all (my interpretation…). If I’m a GM for a contending team, I wouldn’t look at this guy as one more piece for us to challenge for the Stanley Cup.

  3. No more hockey for you says:

    I think he is mentally ill and in denial. He needs serious help dealing with issues, esp the freak Frost. Get help and start a new life.
    That David Frost needs to to go jail and fast. He has destroyed lives and families playing his sick sexual and controlling games…a real sicko/pervert, aka Chester the molester in disguise…wake up people!!!!

  4. owa says:

    Good point on the MacT stuff, Burgs. I actually never knew that about him :O

    If Danton wasn’t a dime-a-dozen player (the guy has 14 points in 87 games), then he might have a shot. If he were a real unique guy; he might have a shot. If he were a 60+ player who has had an impact in the past, he might be given the chance to redeem himself because there might be a team who thinks he could put them over the edge. A Danton-esque player isn’t a “put you over the edge” player. Nor is he an impact player, ergo; I doubt he ever plays again.

    Although I do feel bad for the guy. His life was ruined through a combination of bad decisions and Frost. If Frost doesn’t happen to this kid, maybe he makes a living as a 25-30 point player. I most certainly feel bad for the kid. :(

  5. Burgundy says:

    I think you are bang on Owa. You can get a ‘Danton-like player’ who’s younger and has less baggage fairly easily. And yeah, he never had tremendous NHL stats. In fact, he’s spent more time in jail than he ever did in the NHL…

    Had he kept himself together and Frost-free, he’d probably still be in the NHL doing the 20-30 pts per year thing. Just like Tootoo or Ruutu or any of those other guys. It is a shame. I hope he gets his life together (hockey or no hockey). Like the other commenter said, I’m not sold that he’s 100% ‘with it’ either.

  6. SCSF says:

    I agree with the previous comments.

    One additional roadblock would be the simple fact that it becomes extremely difficult for felons to cross the border. I highly doubt there’d be any diplomatic overtures on behalf of Danton in order to ease that burden.

  7. Champ says:

    I watched the interview and I’m not convinced that he’s mentally prepared to move on to life without Frost. The way he answered the question Kypper put to him about Frost you can tell there are still numerous outstanding issues remaining. And I agree that crossing the border will be next to impossible given his history. Wish him well regardless of what happens.

  8. PD says:

    first off you can tell he is lying when he talks about his story. he doesn’t answer the questions properly, he hums through the answer talking about irrelevant things. the best thing for his would be to move on from hockey and frost.

  9. Burgundy says:

    @ PD – Totally agree. The story doesn’t add up at all. And check this out: http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=305708 Apparently Danton will resume playing hockey at the University level, playing for St. Mary’s out East. I love how criminals can take University classes at Queen’s U when most Canadians can’t even get into that school because standards are incredibly high… nice…

    (thanks for the comments, guys).

  10. Guy says:

    Its funny how people mention the MacTavish incident like it wasn’t that big of a deal. He actually killed someone from utter stupidity and got one year and resumed his career like nothing ever happened. One year, a human life…..where was the justice there?. If he was Joe Shmo he would have gotten multiple years and his life would have basically been ruined and he would have never heard the end of it. But because MacTavish was a pro athlete “he made an honest mistake, lets give him a year in club fed, a second chance and lets sweep this incident under the rug”. I wonder if the girls family did that about the whole situation, and how they felt that some drunk ass**** got special treatment in their daughters death?.

    Dany Heatly, another case of someone being a absolute moron, killed his friend and teammate, from utter stupidity, did he even get punished?. Oh yeah his punishment is that he’s gotta live with the fact that he killed his teammate, but like MacTavish his career resumed without any delay. I guess the fact that he broke the law and took a human life and could have killed more people is null and void now that he “feels bad”. If I did the same thing I’d be in jail for a minimum 10 years. And this happened in Georgia, a state where they take no crap from any offender especially someone who causes death of another human…don’t they?

    Mike Danton- Hired a hitman which ended up being an undercover cop to kill his father who apparently was a huge ass****. No taking of human life ever occured, he got 7 years (Mactavish got 1 and Heatly got none for actual murder just to refresh). He did his time for his sin. But it would be bad PR if any NHL team gave him even a chance to play pro hockey again. But its not bad PR that Heatly just resumed like nothing happened, Or MacTavish. Two teams with players that committed murder. A guy who indeed did something dumb but didn’t actually kill anyone, but he doesn’t get a second chance. I’m no math whiz, but something doesn’t add up here.

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