Greetings from THN.com mailbag land. Have you submitted a question and not seen it answered? Maybe I’ve answered it in The Hockey News magazine, or on THN Radio. Or maybe I’m purposefully ignoring it just to peeve you off. I’m not, but it is within the realm of possibility. Anyhow, happy Friday and thanks as always for your submissions (even the ones I can’t get to.)
Hey Adam, In last week’s mailbag, Mitch Wood from Battleford, Sask., wrote, ‘This is almost as terrible as when Americans needed a streak on the puck because they couldn't tell where it was. I wish they’d stop messing with our game!’ And the title of the mailbag was “American Leafs”?!?!
I am tired of seeing the Anti-American sentiment on this site. I know you can’t stop people making these comments, but you sure can keep them from showing up in your blog. I'm just shocked that in your response to the ignorant Mitch Wood, that you didn't mention the American Fans had nothing to do with Mr. Glow Puck, and we despised it just as much.
I apologize ahead of time to the Canadian people that don't fit this next part, but I’m tired of Canadians thinking they own hockey. The Original Six NHL teams had three Canadian teams and three American teams. If it wasn't for American revenue and media, hockey would not be as big as it is today. Are there some American markets that can’t support hockey? Sure, just as there are Canadian markets that couldn’t support hockey. So where are all the anti-American feelings coming from?
John Mason, Newark, N.J.
A couple things before I get to the heart of your answer: First of all, on a regular basis, we at THN get accused of just about every bias you can imagine. Some think we’re anti-Canadian, others say we’re anti-American. And after a while, it becomes apparent to us that any piece we publish is going to be interpreted in ways out of our control.
Secondly, I don’t subscribe to the view that you do a disservice to people by publishing unfavorable and/or distasteful opinions. The only way to have meaningful debates and conversations is for all people to be forthright about their feelings. And unfortunately, there is a sizeable contingent of Canadians who see the game as theirs to nurture and protect from so-called “outsiders.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean I agree with those small-minded people. In fact, I vehemently disagree with the Exceptionalist Canadian philosophy and all its tenets: you know, that Canadians somehow play the game better and are inherently more courageous simply because of their birth certificates; that the game is a static entity whose rules are to be handled like Faberge eggs (i.e. very delicately and/or not at all); and that there should be 10 NHL teams in Canada and five or six south of its border.
For me, the way you battle against that idiocy is by shining a flashlight on it and by (easily) poking holes in the alleged logic involved. Hockey isn’t popular enough for the game’s interested parties to start tearing each other down in the name of nationalism. We need as many Americans as possible playing, watching and loving this sport – and we need to educate Canadians by having honest debates about the brainwashing many of them have been subject to.
Adam, I did a little bit of research on newly signed Avalanche Joakim Lindstrom. I know he was a moderately high draft choice (41st overall in 2002), but other than that, I don’t know much about the guy. He scored two goals against Ottawa recently. What can we expect from him for the rest of the season?
Nicholas Duplessis, White River, Ont.
I recently spoke to Lindstrom for a short feature in The Hockey News magazine. He was a victim of Phoenix’s bankruptcy-triggered cash crunch; he wanted to stay in the NHL after the 2008-09 campaign (in which he had a respectable nine goals and 20 points in 44 games with the Coyotes), but the organization offered him only a two-way contract.
For a guy who had other options as he did, Lindstrom decided that wasn’t the best offer, so he left for the Kontinental League. There, he scored 30 points for his Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod team – and the following season, which he spent in his home country of Sweden, he led the entire Swedish Elite League in scoring (28 goals and 60 points in 54 games).
Still just 27 years old, Lindstrom appears to have found a great fit on a young Avs team. It’s impossible to say whether his hot start (two goals and three points in four games) will continue, but there’s little doubt he had enough talent to stay in the NHL all along.
Adam, do you see the removal of guaranteed contracts becoming an issue in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement talks between the NHL and NHLPA?
Andrew Sheehy, Scarborough, Ont.
No, I don’t. There have been rumblings NHL owners want to do what the NFL does and eliminate guaranteed contracts, but unless the NHL gets extremely aggressive in its negotiating stance, I think it will be a type of red-herring bargaining chip that owners put on the table only to secure concessions from the NHL Players’ Association in other areas of the CBA. Gary Bettman knows full well NHLPA executive director Don Fehr and the players would see that demand as an act of war – and another protracted work stoppage would almost certainly ensue. I don’t think there’s the stomach for that – especially considering the league has grown from a $2.1 billion business prior to the 2004-05 lost season to a $3 billion business today – which is why I think the guaranteed contract talk is so much hot air.
Quick question – what is your dream Stanley Cup final matchup? I don’t care about conferences. I just want to know which two teams you think would create the biggest spectacle for the NHL. Thank you.
Jordy Leveille, Trois-Rivières, Que.
Although there are a number of possibilities that would lead to a fantastic final, there is no way I can give you any other answer than a Maple Leafs-Canadiens showdown. All of Canada – especially in Quebec and Ontario – would be forced to choose sides and the storied history between the two franchises only would increase the passion. I’m sure people can make the case for a Flames-Oilers battle or a Bruins-Canadiens final, but for me, there’s no contest for this answer.