With Adam on an extended Christmas holiday – returning next week to answer your questions – THN staffers address your queries on this calm, Friday afternoon.
Hey Adam, What do you think of Cory Schneider this year? He has no regulation time losses yet this season. Do you think he can win the Calder? And the Canucks, is this their year to go all the way? Oh, and one last question: do you think Atlanta’s mascot, Thrash, will pull another "publicity stunt" to boost his team's attendance?
Jasper Watrich, Moose Jaw, Sask.
The season’s still young, so, yes, I think Cory Schneider could win rookie of the year honors, but it would take a cruel twist of fate in order to make that happen.
In the past 25 years, five goalies have claimed the Calder and only one has played less than 50 games (Martin Brodeur’s 47 in 1994). In order for Schneider, who’s on pace to play 24 games, to reach those totals, he’d have to play the bulk of the Canucks’ remaining games. That’s not going to happen unless an injury befalls Roberto Luongo and, even though he’s had his shaky moments, no Canucks fan wants that.
If a goalie is to win the Calder, a much better bet is either Philadelphia’s Sergei Bobrovsky or Washington’s Michal Neuvirth, both of whom are putting up solid numbers and on pace to surpass the 50-game mark.
And I’m certain we’ll see another stunt. Atlanta is third-worst in NHL attendance, so the team is sure to try unconventional ways to draw fans. In fact, ‘Thrash’ gave away the bride during a recent wedding ceremony (no joke) between two season-ticket holders during the intermission of a game against the Bruins Dec. 30. I applaud the creativity. – EF
What should the Boston Bruins do with Tyler Seguin? It seems he's playing less and less every game - last game he played 6:30. Should they send him back to junior or make him another healthy scratch?
Joe Cordova, Burnaby, B.C.
The 6:30 of which you speak was an aberration; about half of Seguin's average ice time this season (he played 14:21 two games later versus Toronto). It was a big game against an Atlanta team Boston could very well be jockeying with all season for playoff positioning, so it’s not the kind of game in which coach Claude Julien is going to give an 18-year-old rookie much time. Boston also had to kill five penalties against the Thrashers, something Seguin does not yet do - he has 36 seconds of PK time all season.
And if he's a healthy scratch every once in a while, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a great view from the press box and any player can learn from watching up there, especially a teenager straight out of junior.
As for sending Seguin back to junior, I would have done that to begin the season, but it's too late now. Dominating in the Ontario League and playing in the World Junior Championship would have been great for the kid, but at this point it wouldn't do anything for Seguin's development to demote him. He's better off practicing and playing with NHLers than joining a middling Plymouth Whalers team, even if he would make them better than they are. - JG
Adam or who ever may be responding, I am aware Swiss goalie Ben Conz was somehow undrafted. I mean, watching him the past two world juniors has been jaw dropping. I am assuming he is ineligible for the 2011 draft. So my question is: can Conz sign in the NHL, regardless if he has a Swiss contract or not?
Dylan Kelly, Edmonton
Conz was first eligible for the NHL draft in 2009, meaning he’s actually been passed over twice. His Swiss League contract status isn’t really significant because NHL teams will get a final chance to spend a pick on him at age 19 this coming June at the draft in Minnesota. Now that he’s put together two quality WJC tourneys, don’t expect him to fall through the cracks again. But don’t just take my word for it. - RD
Obviously Sidney Crosby is an elite talent in the NHL. But do you feel as if the NHL is alienating a vast majority of fans by consistently thrusting him into the media spotlight? Sure, every sport has their spokespersons, but to me, the NHL seems to be relying a little too heavily on one person to "save" the game, while ignoring the 700 other players in the league. What do you think?
Aaron Tom, Hilliard, Ohio
I couldn’t disagree more. When you’re the fourth-ranked sport in the United States of America and employ a young, marketable superstar who has earned pretty much every hockey accolade under the sun before the age of 24, you’d be crazy not to promote him. The best players from every major sport are treated the exact same way.
As the face of the league and its top player, Crosby will have his many supporters and, naturally, his many detractors, who will go to any length to cast him in a negative light. It’s like this with every superstar in every sport. It was like that with Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and so many others before. And whether it’s positive or negative feedback, there is no denying Crosby ignites attention to the NHL. Even when he’s mentioned in brief passing in an article that’s not even about him, you’ll still get feedback focused on Crosby. Heck, how many people click through to a Crosby story just to say how much they don’t want to read about him? That’s pretty silly.
The NHL was bashed by some for putting Crosby in another Winter Classic this year against Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals, but take one look at the impressive TV ratings and that says all you need to know about Crosby’s draw power. People will watch him to enjoy his play, while others will watch him to root against him or nitpick some insignificant shortcoming.
Basically what it comes down to is: if you really don’t want to watch him (even though his sublime talent is undeniable to the objective eye) or read about him (even though his achievements are noteworthy) there are plenty of other games to watch and stories to read that don’t involve Crosby. But Crosby coverage will always be magnified because it’ll attract his fans and those who will go out of their way to voice how much they don’t like him.
And as proof, this question and answer will likely attract the most feedback in the comments section below - positive or negative. - RB
I am a big fan of hockey, but there are just three things I cannot figure out about the NHL. 1) Why are players allowed to take time off for "personal reasons" and do they still get paid while injured? 2) What exactly are future considerations and why would a team trade for them? 3) How is the salary determined for a player on a two-way NHL contract that is demoted to the ECHL? Anything you can tell me would be helpful.
Alex Mingrone, San Jose, Calif.
Players are allowed to take time off for personal reasons because, like us, they are human beings with lives outside hockey. The most common type of leave is being present at the birth of a player’s child. Illness and death in the family are other frequent reasons. In 2008-09, Taylor Pyatt took time off from the Vancouver Canucks after his fiancee died in an auto accident.
Players do get paid while injured, unless they were injured in a non-hockey incident, such as Minnesota’s James Sheppard, who damaged his knee in an ATV accident last summer and hasn’t played since. In some cases (long-term injuries to highly paid players), the team will get 80 percent of the salary reimbursed by the team’s insurance company. This is the case with Calgary’s Daymond Langkow, who hasn’t played this year after a hockey injury last season.
Future considerations are included in trades generally when teams want to complete a deal, but can’t agree on equitable compensation. They usually turn out to be draft picks, which have a wide range of value depending upon round. When a player on a two-way contract is demoted to the ECHL, he gets paid his AHL salary and it is paid by the NHL team. NHL contracts used to allow an ECHL salary, but that changed with the most recent CBA. - BC
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.
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