The Hockey News mailbag saga continues with the latest Friday edition. Keep your questions and comments coming.
I always tell my kids there's no glory in defense (they are all defensemen). What do you think? Also, do you think Tony Hand could have made it in the NHL? Over here we all like to think he could have.
I have to say I'm now completely hooked on your column having only recently discovered it. Keep up the good work!
Charles Glasby, Worksop, Notts, U.K.
Thanks for the kind words. Glad to have you on board.
As a former defenseman, I can tell you there definitely can be glory in being a blueliner. In fact, I was renowned in my local league as the master of the diving pokecheck-from-behind to stop a breakaway.
(Sure, if you want to get all historically accurate and nitpicky about it, I gained proficiency in that skill only by allowing forwards to whip by me fast enough to give me a severe case of windburn, but that’s mere detail.)
Seriously though – your kids and all young D-men should know they’re playing a position that, with the exception of the checking forward, is the least glamorous of any in hockey. The rules at the NHL level have been altered to remove advantages defensemen have developed over the years and, unless a defender is blessed with premier offensive talents, they rarely receive the degree of praise most other members of the team do.
As for Hand, my fellow Scotsman played most of his career in an era where his smallish size (5-foot-10) would have been regarded as more of an issue than it would be in today’s NHL. The league’s improved stance on obstruction would’ve helped him, as well. But, having never seen him play, it’s hard for me to say with certainty whether he had the all-important foot speed necessary to hang with the big boys.
Which goalie should Tampa Bay acquire and who should they put on the line to acquire said goalie?
Jordan Philbert, Sherbrooke, Que.
Good question, especially because it involves the team whose “Big Three” I most enjoy figuring out ways to break up via trade.
As always, this is pure speculation, but, given the chaos and seemingly lowered expectations surrounding the Dallas Stars, why wouldn’t Lightning GM Jay Feaster make a play for Marty Turco?
Granted, to land Turco, Feaster would undoubtedly need Brad Richards to waive his no-trade clause to free up the required salary cap space, but I think a Richards/Johan Holmqvist swap for Turco and, say, Philippe Boucher represents a win-win for both sides.
In such a scenario, the Stars would receive a bona fide producer of offense and a short-term backup for Mike Smith; the Bolts would land a proven elite-level goalie, as well as a smart, skilled, veteran blueliner. But the best part for Tampa Bay? They’d put an end, once and for all, to precisely this type of never-ending speculation.
Long time reader, first time writer. Enjoy your column every week! I have a question about delayed penalties. Can you please tell me why a team gets penalized by scoring during a delayed penalty? I feel as though if you score a goal during the span before the about-to-be penalized team touches the puck, the penalty should still count.
I think if the league wants to add scoring this could be a good way to start.
Sean Schnipper, Long Island, N.Y.
Long time writer, longer time reader. And thanks.
I don’t know if you can say a team is ‘penalized’ when they score during a delayed penalty, but I don’t dislike your idea, either – especially when scoring throughout the league is trending down once again.
I’ve said for a while now that the over-coaching in the NHL is killing the game and after watching bench bosses adapt to the new obstruction rules and develop a different method of the trap system so that they can play safe, boring hockey, I believe it now more than ever. Therefore, I say no option, including yours, should be off the table when it comes to improving the offensive chances and creativity of the sport.
Evidently, I’m not the only one; Sabres GM Darcy Regier made some extremely interesting comments in today’s Buffalo News and I’d like to focus on some of the remarks he made in John Vogl’s story:
“It’s not about whether (the Sabres are) winning or losing…it’s about when I watch games, it’s about the excitement. It’s a great game…but we’ve got an opportunity, I think an obligation, to make it more exciting…I don’t want to go back – no one does – to an era where we just kind of clog the game up. It’s important to create the flow and the excitement, and the skill players to have the room to demonstrate their skills.
“If we can’t make the goalies smaller, then I don’t know what other options we have but to consider making the nets larger…It still comes down really to two things…the players playing the game and the future players playing the game have to choose to play this game because it’s the most fun game of any game available to play. That ensures the top athletes in this sport. The other part of it is the people in the stands have to say this is the most fun game to come watch, the most entertaining product to come watch of any of the sports we can attend. That’s the challenge.”
Right on, Darcy. In the words of my man Jeremy Roenick: Wake up, NHL. Wake up.
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