Once again, it's time to haul out the overstuffed mailbag and address some of your more salient questions and missives.
C'mon, Leslie. At 29, Afinogenov has done all the scratching he's going to do. The Sabres seem to realize that what they see is what they get -- a player with great wheels and remarkable puck skill, but without the jam to translate them consistently onto the scoreboard. He'll tease you with a burst of creativity then rip out your heart with a series of brain-dead turnovers. European leagues are filled with guys like that, proof that it takes more than talent to be a solid pro.
Problem is, every other team has figured out that there's more sizzle than steak to Afinogenov's game. They see a guy who has a career high of 23 goals and has put up at least 50 points just twice in his eight seasons. And $3.5 million may not buy much these days, but it should get you more than four goals, which is the furious pace Max has set for this season.
Remember: this is his contract year. If this is the best he can come up with when his financial future is on the line, what's Afinogenov going to produce when he's comfortable? All that said, you have to think there's some team out there that will regard Max like some brooding, misunderstood boy from the wrong side of the tracks who just needs someone to believe in him. It won't be the Rangers -- they aren't going to clear cap space for a distraction like this -- but it's possible that some offensively-challenged squad like the Panthers, Islanders or Hurricanes might dream of seeing what he could do with a fresh coat of paint.
If the Sabres do find a sucker, they might be looking at a mid-round draft pick in return. Whatever curb appeal Afinogenov still possesses is pretty much obliterated by that cap hit
You're right about the Flyers needing a solid pro prospect in their system --neither
Of course, he could up his eventual value over the next few days. With Luongo shelved for the next few weeks, the 2004 first-rounder is about to get his first shot at NHL action.
The Stars have been tinkering with the formula all season, but nothing yet has restored the confidence and cohesiveness that made them such a force last spring. Now their options are limited, especially within the constraints of the salary cap. That's not a happy scenario for co-GMs
The most likely action? Shore up the goaltending. The team's lack of faith in
A more likely option is
What if they pick up a goalie and continue to struggle? I think
On the plus side, this isn't a bad year to go into the tank, especially for a team that could use some high-end talent up front. Even if
You kidding? 'Round these parts, we're stoking the WJC hot stove 50 weeks a year, and the absence of a clear cut starter for the defending champs is prime fuel for the fire.
I like Tampa Bay prospect
The backup job could go to either
And don't be surprised if London's
The next couple weeks will tell. The Coyotes lost No. 1 center
For that to happen, Jokinen has to be back in the lineup by the Canadian roster deadline of Dec. 10. He's a tough guy (the injury broke a 397 consecutive game streak), so returning early is a possibility. Still, at this point, the odds are against Turris returning to defend the gold medal he helped win last year in the Czech Republic.
Doesn't seem like that long ago that all letters from Philly asked what was going to happen with their sucktastic defense. All of a sudden, Philly's blueliners are being talked up like the 1973 Canadiens. Give credit to GM
In fact, both have played so well that neither Jones nor Parent will be handed a job upon getting a clean bill of health. Jones, who hopes to return by Dec. 6, will be eased back into the lineup, giving Alberts the bird's-eye view from the press box. There's some thought Jones could be dealt to clear some cap room (the Flyers are just $200,000 under right now), but it says here he'll stay in Philly.
Parent, penciled in to return later in the month, is likely to be assigned to the AHL. The 21-year-old would benefit from the development time. Rookie
Well Shanny Fanny -- if that is your real name, you have my sympathy -- I don't expect to see him wearing black and orange. Despite his preference to stay on the East Coast, I think St. Louis is his only real option. They've got the cap room and a real interest in welcoming him back. The Flyers have neither. Sorry.