Eventually, I’m going to find some snappy opening paragraph I can re-use extensively for the mailbag introduction each week. For now, though, this is as good as it gets.
(On second thought, maybe I can use this over and over instead. Nice goin’, me!)
Never mind the All-Star travesty with the MVP award. Maybe it's time to have the visiting team’s media rep pick the three stars in Florida. Vancouver loses two road games in overtime against Tampa Bay and Florida recently and the home team got all three stars twice. What a joke. I've heard the term “homer” when it comes to describing how hometown media people favor their teams and aren't objective. This just goes to show that Canadian fans are right when they say certain American fans and media are ignorant when it comes to hockey.
Jim Steiner, Emerson, Man.
What? Are you trying to imply that subjectivity has corrupted the 100-percent-pure-and-never-wrong approach of the media? I refuse to believe it.
I also refuse to accept that only Americans can be ignorant about the game. I mean, there is a significant portion of Canada’s population which believes (a) only Canadians can play hockey “as it was meant to be played” (i.e., by adding an unhealthy dose of reckless violence to an otherwise beautiful sport); (b) only Canadians can appreciate the subtle nuances of hockey; and (c) only Canadians have the mental fortitude and drive to captain a Stanley Cup-winning team.
In hearing that kind of idiocy on a regular basis in the Great White North, I can forgive relatively minor examples of it in the U.S.
And you should, too.
I was just wondering if you think it’s time the Vancouver Canucks say goodbye to Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Matt Cooke and start looking to rebuild, because I think so.
Travis Ryan, North Vancouver, B.C.
I think you’re onto something. However, as long as the Canucks are in the midst of a playoff race, there’s little to no chance GM Dave Nonis goes bananas in the next month and strips his roster in the name of starting over.
The Canucks are like a lot of post-season-bound teams in that there’s extensive pressure on them to win, at minimum, two playoff rounds this season.
If that doesn’t happen – and if they don’t get any scoring help prior to the Feb. 26 trade deadline, I don’t think it will – Vancouver’s team next season will look significantly different than this year’s group. And unrestricted free agents such as Naslund, Cooke and Morrison almost certainly will be goners.
If the NHL was to drop the second referee and get rid of the instigator rule, do you think that would clear up some of the unnecessary penalties we still see called, with the enforcers making sure nothing cheap happens behind the play?
Greg B., Powell River, B.C.
I love when readers don’t know whom they’re sending questions to.
Now that trading season is upon us, do you think the NHL will ever do something about the “rental” acquisition being able to re-sign with former team? That has happened a few times now and while everyone seems so upset about crybaby Brian Burke’s un-retired stars coming back for half-seasons, how come no one ever mentioned the shadiness of the Keith Tkachuk deal last year? You remember when Atlanta traded a "draft choice" for Tkachuk at the deadline last year and then, after the season ended, a few days short of him becoming a free agent, the Blues traded...you guessed it...a “draft choice” back to Atlanta for him. That just reeked of a pre-arranged wink-wink deal, didn't it? Or am I still looking for a second shooter on the grassy knoll?
Bob Lombardi, Jericho, Vt.
First of all, everybody knows there was at least a second shooter, if not more, in Dallas. And anyone who implies otherwise is likely a shady, shadowy government type or extremely unfamiliar with the laws of physics. (Can you tell I’m a John Kennedy assassination-phile?)
The Tkachuk deal definitely failed the smell test for more than a few hockey observers, but the NHL didn’t seem to mind at all. And I don’t think you’ll ever see an end to rental players – at least, for the remainder of the current collective bargaining agreement.
Teams are so tightly restricted by the new labor deal that the only recourse they have to clear the decks comes in the form of the late-season fire sale. Most people – and NHLers – understand how that tends to cheapen any championship to a degree, but they also understand the practical realities of the situation.
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