Sather's fate, Kovalchuk's next team, more reader questions
It's been a while since we dipped into the old mailbag, and you've sent in a batch of good questions and comments lately. So, here we go...
In a perfect world, the Rangers would take a lesson from the Capitals, who wisely dealt with a similarly difficult situation by banishing
But this is New York and it would be one of the boldest moves of his career for Slats to walk up to
Look, Sather's done a miserable job in his tenure in New York. So bad that he might actually have to pay for it after this season is over. But I don't think he'll do anything that dramatic and risk expediting his departure. He'll leave it to the coach to sort it out.
I think Kovalchuk is outta there. I don't have anything inside on this, just a gut feeling that if he was inclined at all to extend with the Thrashers, he could have made it happen by now. With the B's struggling to score goals, I can definitely see them kicking the tires when
Sure, Kovalchuk is a world-class sniper and a gamebreaking talent, but can anyone honestly see this guy fitting into
Sure, the symmetry is obvious. The Thrashers have to protect their long-term interests to avoid a Bouwmeester-like fiasco, and the Bruins have a clear need for someone whose shots don't naturally migrate to the opposing goalie's chest emblem. They have the young proven talent, picks and prospects to make a compelling offer, and might even have the stones to part with a player like
The B's may be willing to move a significant roster piece or two, but that would pose a challenge to their depth and hurt their competitiveness this season. And they'd be giving up too much of their future to settle for Kovalchuk as a rental. They'd be hard pressed to find the cap space to sign him to an extension (at around $9 million per) without a dramatic counterbalancing move like dishing off
If you have to rob Peter to pay Paul, there's not a good reason to make this deal. So what's the most likely landing spot if the Thrashers decide to move Kovy? Bet on Colorado.
I think Atlanta would like a proven player who can step in now and help them, but why would anyone pony up more than a draft pick? The talent is there, but Lehtonen is frah-gee-lay. Maybe a team looking to hit a home run would offer a second-rounder, but at this point, the Thrashers might have to settle for a third.
Come on, Tyson, I've never dismissed them. I've simply expressed reservations. Certainly could do the same this year, but I've learned my lesson. I'm going to pick the Canadians simply because it's a bad bet to go against them, especially on home ice. I have questions about their lack of center depth (man, they could use Stamkos, Tavares, Duchene, O'Reilly and Bailey), but they'll attack with a well-rounded group up front and should get better goaltending from
Look for Sweden to oppose them in a rematch of last year's gold medal game. The Swedes are far more experienced, have the tournament's best goaltender (
After that, I've got
Excellent use of an astronomical term, Mike! But let's face it: if your name's not
It's probably a reflection of the media more than Zajac's play that his name hasn't been in the mix, because he could assay a fourth-line role nearly as well as the more highly touted
But it's the same problem for Zajac as it is for so many other Canadians -- the talent pool is too deep and he's in over his head at that level. And if he was on the radar, he hasn't done his candidacy any favors over the past couple weeks. Zajac has just one goal in his last seven games and really looked like he was fighting it in recent outings against the Habs and Panthers. If his game continues to develop, say, to the 30-goal, 80-point range, he'll be in the mix for 2014. But now isn't his time.
He's still a restricted free agent when his contract expires this summer, so no need to rush into any Kovalchuk-style pre-deadline decision. That said, I'm sure McPhee has run the numbers and knows he's going to have to make the tough call this summer.
No doubt, Semin's a special talent, and when he's on his game his impact is on a plane just below that of
Semin is imperfect, but he's a package that most teams would be happy to live with if they could afford it. And the Caps might not be able to. McPhee already has more than $32 million committed to just 12 players for 2010-11 and he has one must-sign: center
Semin will be looking for a significant raise over his current $5 million. At this point, I'm not sure McPhee can justify it in terms of his contribution, let alone find space for him under the cap. At least if he's forced to trade him, McPhee can expect a package that matches or exceeds what Boston got for Kessel.
I think you'd get better odds betting on
Expansion, though? I pretty much guarantee that's going to happen and probably within your five-year frame. The money is too significant and it bypasses the players and goes directly to the owners (at least under the current CBA). Best bets? Toronto/Southwestern Ontario and Kansas City, with Quebec City and Las Vegas in the mix.
It's not so much about penalizing an effort to win as it is a competitive integrity thing. You don't want to see a team "accidentally" losing a game that might impact the standings in a way that benefits that team.
Rule 84.2 lays it out. In part:
The rule's been invoked a couple of times in the past. For example, there was one game late in the 1999-2000 season when
Of course, you'll still see the occasional case like this one when a short clock and an offensive zone face-off make it worth the risk.
I think the line of takers will be as long as the one clamoring for a sequel to
Interesting suggestion, Mr. B, but I'll say Murray is fine where he is. I certainly understand why Blues fans are frustrated with the team's consistent inconsistency, but that's the hallmark of a young team, isn't it? Expectations, both internally and externally, were grossly inflated by that hot finish last season, but the Blues were running before they knew how to walk. This team is talented, but it needs time to work through its growing pains. Murray's done enough to deserve the chance to work through those pains with them.
Oh, and say hi to Mortimer and Randolph for me.