Is it the Tuesday after my meager week-long vacation already? Not that I’m unhappy to answer your questions (which, as always, can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org), of course. At least, not the ones in all caps.
Even though it has been said so many times before, I have to say I love your column. I am a hardcore fan and I know the game, but I can't grasp why penalty minutes are a valued statistic. If giving the other team a chance to score by being lazy or reckless (with stick or limbs) is commended, then I must know nothing about the NHL. I can understand taking penalties to intimidate, like roughing in a scrum, a late hit, or fighting majors, but keeping your team a man down should not be applauded.
Devin Cornia, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
You’re preaching to the converted, my friend.
Though I can’t seem to locate the story now, I distinctly recall an NHL player almost bragging recently about how penalties were “part of his game.” Which is bizarre, because you certainly don’t see NFLers or NBA players holding up the penalties they get assessed as a source of pride.
Then again, the NHL does more than a few things differently than just about every other pro sports organization. For instance, most other leagues don’t “sell hate” as the NHL claims it does. They sell skill and I’d love to see that philosophy promoted in the hockey world instead of heaping kudos on guys who play on (read: over) the edge.
Will Minnesota sign Marian Gaborik this year?
Ben Von Jagow, Stittsville, Ont.
Some of the same hockey people who correctly speculated last summer that Marian Hossa wouldn’t re-sign with Atlanta are making the same bet about Gaborik. Until his signature appears at the bottom of a long-term contract extension with the Wild, that speculation is bound to continue.
Were I a Minnesota fan, I wouldn’t feel overly confident that GM Doug Risebrough & Co. could hold onto the talented Slovak. That team has been treading water for a long time now and certainly wasn’t among the big movers and shakers this off-season.
Unless the Wild comes up with a hugely successful ’08-09 campaign or acquires a front-line star to accentuate Gaborik’s talent, there’s every chance he tests the open market next summer.
Just wanted to write and say that I’m really enjoying your column again. I find myself laughing uncontrollably and eager to read what you write; I just wanted to throw a “great job” at you. My question is this: Do you think now that Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Raycroft have been booted from Toronto, they'll have an amazing comeback year? It seems to me that anyone who leaves Toronto seems to thrive in a change of scenery.
Steve D., Vancouver, B.C.
I’m going to throw a “thanks for the kind words” at you. Okay, maybe not “throw.” “Lob,” sounds a lot more customer-friendly.
That said, I’m going to have to disagree with you on your assertion that anyone who leaves Toronto winds up thriving. For proof, see Alexander Khavanov, Dmitri Khristich, Jonas Hoglund and about 400 others I could name.
Unless he’s suddenly discovered what a dumbbell and treadmill looks like the past couple months, I’m not optimistic Wellwood is going to be reborn on a sub-par Vancouver team – not to mention, in the rough-and-tumble Western Conference.
The book on Raycroft is not terribly complimentary. Everyone in the league knows to shoot high glove side on him; until he’s plugged that hole in his game, it’s far from a certainty he’ll resurrect his career with the Avs.
Do you think Ottawa’s holy trinity will carry the Senators far, or is a high draft pick more likely?
Brennan Dixon, Moncton, N.B.
Ottawa’s holy trinity? I’m hoping you mean Rich Little, Paul Anka and Alanis Morissette, but I’m guessing you’re referring to Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza.
If so, I’ve got to be honest – I’m not feeling great about the Sens thus far. They’ve got holes on the blueline and at forward, and their goaltending situation is anything but a confidence-builder.
Craig Hartsburg may yet be able to succeed where Jacques Martin, Bryan Murray and John Paddock failed, but few will be surprised to see the Sens take a step back this season. How far back? Unfortunately, not far enough to be a frontrunner for the John Tavares/Victor Hedman sweepstakes, but possibly far enough to miss the playoffs altogether.
You know, the same place where their cross-province rivals in Toronto have made a home since the lockout ended.
Longtime follower of "Ask Adam" and subscriber to The Hockey News. I was wondering if you could give us some perspective on the Islanders’ management plans. Putting aside Doug Weight’s signing (obviously a stop gap until younger players are ready) do you feel Snow is serious about a youth movement, will Charles Wang allow that to happen without tampering and is this a viable plan to rebuild a once proud and storied franchise – one that used to be the NHL model? Thanks for your time!
Andre Garabedian, New Hyde Park, N.Y.
There’s been a good amount of stop-gappery going on in Isles country for many-a-year now, with few positive results. So I think Snow recognizes the team’s only option for improving in the long-term is by building through the draft, which he certainly was trying to do in Ottawa.
Will Wang allow him to do so? If he’s finally learned his lesson from past years, he will. Both owner and GM have to know that, absent a brand-new arena (which won’t be built for a few more years, if at all) or superstar of the Sidney Crosby variety, it’s going to be beyond tough convincing any worthy free agents to take a chance on the Blue and Orange.
The only way to achieve what they want to achieve is by building a winner and the most proven way to do that is to take your lumps and be patient.
Finally, I think, that’s what’s happening on Long Island.
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