Yeesh, you people (what do I mean, “you people” – sorry, but I’m having difficulty getting that Tropic Thunder joke out of my head) sure do send in a lot of great questions.
Once again, there were far more of them than I have time to answer. I’ll have to stick to the short answer format if I’m going to get to as many as possible. My apologies if you don’t see yours here.
Is it possible for NHL owners, GMs and/or player reps to come together and have a non-confidence vote to bring down that scum they call (Gary) Bettman? Could you list all the possible ways other than resignation that the NHL can find a potential hero to bring this joke they call a sports league to a real hockey league? Thanks from a fed up hockey nut,
Jim, Hamilton, Ont.
Hmmmnnn…Jim from Hamilton, eh? You sure you’re not Jim from Kitchener-Waterloo who’s sent this question from your solid-gold BlackBerry?
I think calling the commissioner “scum” is a bit much. Bettman never has been the monster some have portrayed him to be; in many ways, he dragged the hockey world into the modern age.
Problem is, in some instances (such as fighting and player protection) he didn’t drag it far enough; in others, he allowed his legendary stubbornness to get in the way (ESPN TV contract, anyone?) of necessity.
For those reasons and others, a group of NHL owners aren’t altogether pleased with him these days. The lost lockout year is an indelible black mark on his legacy – and with teams continuing to face financial difficulty, many are wondering why a season needed to be cancelled in the first place (other than removing Bob Goodenow as NHLPA big cheese and raising franchise values).
Some people around the league believe Bettman won’t be around the next time a collective bargaining agreement is finalized. But I wouldn’t bet the house on it; if there’s one thing you can respect about the man, it’s his ability to shrug off criticism (and often, logic) in the name of hanging tough and pressing forward. Or backward. Or in circles.
(Okay, that wasn’t quite as short an answer as I’d aimed for.)
Hockey is a team sport right? Then why do we have the stupid shootout? That leaves the poor goalie to carry the load.
Charles S. Schoenberger, Huntington Beach, Calif.
We have the shootout because (a) ties stink like a block of Camembert cheese wedged under the wing-pit of a bird’s corpse floating in a Bangladeshi river; (b) multiple overtime periods aren’t practical in an 82-game season; and (c) penalty shots are allowed in this game, as is 4-on-4 overtime, so the notion that there should be a “team solution” to end all games simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Hope you had a great holiday season and welcome back! When will teams once again be able to wear their home white uniforms at home games? I'm old enough to remember that old movie rule that good guys always wear white. I also used to love watching my team roll into other arenas with that menacing edge in black. It's already been years since the change to dark uniforms at home, but can you remind me what the rationale for it was? Thanks and have a great new year!
Derek Inoshita, Honolulu, Hawaii
Happy New Year to you as well. The NHL went to white jerseys on the road, first and foremost, to sell more third jerseys. The switch also gave each team’s equipment manager a break, as they no longer had to pack two sets of sweaters on long road trips.
Every year, fans write in and speak out about their preference for the old setup that allowed the visiting team to wow (or in some cases, horrify) the crowd with their dark uniforms. And every year, the league ignores their opinions in the name of commerce.
If this was the only instance where such a scenario plays out, I’d be shocked. Sadly, it isn’t and I’m not.
Dear Mr. Proteau,
What are the best Internet sources when it comes to player salaries right now and in the future?
Tammo Lotz, Leipzig, Germany
Dear Mr. Lotz,
There are a few reputable sources out there. We at THN currently use nhlnumbers.com and nhlscap.com.
I'm a big Wings fan, and I never thought I'd say this, but I really wish the Avs were better. I miss having one truly terrifying rival. So I am here by offering to personally pay someone to snow-blow Joe Sakic's driveway. Will you split the cost with me?
Brian Donnelly, Houghton, Mich.
Hell no, I’m not splitting any cost with you. Joe’s on his own, and I hope he’s learned a Wonder Years-like lesson about leaving manual labor to the experts.
As for one truly terrifying rival – you do realize the Chicago Blackhawks are going to qualify as one very soon, if they haven’t already, right? Perhaps you want to start assigning bodyguards and/or personal landscapers to Messrs. Kane and Toews.
First of all, Happy New Year! Now Adam, what is wrong with the Pittsburgh Penguins right now, why are they slumping? And do you think they will even make the playoffs this season? Thanks! I wish you and all the guys at THN all the best for 2009! Cheers,
Joerg Hayden, Villach, Austria
Same to you. I think the injuries to blueliners Ryan Whitney and especially Sergei Gonchar have been more devastating to the Pens than anyone thought they would.
I still can’t imagine a team with that much talent will miss the post-season, but it’s clear they’re going to have to jettison coach Mike Therrien to do so.
What are your thoughts on Mike Modano? I think his career has been vastly underrated. He was a first overall selection, a 50 goal-scorer, a Stanley Cup winner and has been with one organization his entire career. I think it's interesting that he is not mentioned in the same categories of Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, Denis Potvin, etc. Do fans/media of the NHL really not recognize Americans? Or would you clearly put him in a class below the players I mentioned. I'm a big hockey fan, but I don't think I would see too many articles on Modano if he injured himself with a snow-blower or started considering retirement. Thanks Adam, you're the best!
David Wardle, Sydney, Australia
The snow-blower jokes are out in full force, it seems.
What do I think of Modano? I think he’s a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. I think he’s one of the greatest players, American-born or otherwise, of his time. And I think anybody who would tell you otherwise owns a pair of pants that require immediate extinguishing.
You guys at THN are great. Keep it up. My question regards the Flames. Being a fan, I see the Flames as a very good team, but not great. Even when they play their best, they eventually fall to the likes of San Jose, Detroit, and Montreal. They are in almost all games, but come up short. What, in your ever-humble opinion, do the Flames need to "take it up a notch?" Fans in this city have been screaming for Darryl Sutter to get a first line center to help get Jarome Iginla the puck, but how can they do that (they usually run between $4-7 million a year), stay under the cap, and not mess up the team chemistry? Or is it that they have the personnel, but it’s an effort thing? Thanks Adam, hope you had a good holiday!
Pete Glanville, Calgary
Thanks for all the nice words. I don’t think you can squeeze too much more of an effort out of the Flames as presently constituted; Mike Keenan has quietly done a very good job with that group.
The Flames are tight against the cap, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see GM Darryl Sutter make a play for a front-line forward at the trade deadline.
Welcome back and Happy New Year. The scoring has been colder than the wind chill from an Alberta Clipper here in Minnesota. I want to know what Doug Risebrough should do with the Marian Gaborik disaster? What kind of trade is available (considering the cap) and who is both available and a viable option for this team? Also, shouldn't there have been a Plan B or C formulated during the off-season? A recent article in a local paper implied that Dougie was expecting offense from his youngsters. I'd like to know who he was referring to and should he be concerned about getting the boot for his recent inability to sign needed players? Thanks Adam. If you don't get to this in your column or online, I do listen to your show on XM.
First of all, bonus points for you for being an XM Satellite subscriber and listener to The Hockey News Radio Show. I would’ve answered this there, but we’re doing a roundtable edition today, and a special, (hopefully) star-studded show during All-Star Weekend next Friday in Montreal, so I wouldn’t have had the chance to answer this live on the air for a few weeks.
As far as the Wild goes, I spent a good thousand words dealing with them in a Proteau-Type column that will appear in our “Best of Everything in Hockey” issue that should be out next week.
You’re right – the Gaborik situation represents a massive failure for the organization. Few believe he’ll be back next season – and even fewer believe Risebrough will be able to deal the oft-injured Slovakian for even a fraction of his talent value.
It’s for that reason I think a change in management is due for the Wild. Risebrough - and coach Jacques Lemaire - has had a long enough opportunity to build something special for fans who are among the best in the league and, though the fault doesn’t lie only at his feet, the fact of the matter is he hasn’t done so.
Managers like Dave Nonis and John Ferguson were cashiered after a far shorter period than Risebrough has had. And, anyway, it’s about time fans who love the game as much as Minnesotans do get to watch a free-flowing style that has been the polar opposite of what the Wild does most games.
Who do you think will finish first in the race for first overall in the league between San Jose and Boston?
Andante Ferguson, San Jose
San Jose. And you’re welcome for the reverse jinx, Bruins fans.
Ask Adam appears Fridays only on TheHockeyNews.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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