What a beautiful day in Toronto – and on the verge of a long weekend, too. Adam Proteau is enjoying his vacation, so the THN staffers chipped in to answer your questions.
Why was Paul Kelly removed as the executive director of the NHLPA? I thought he was doing a good job.
Patrick Michael Jordan, Winnipeg
Well Patrick, thanks for the easy one.
By all accounts, Kelly was doing a good job. He made some strides in such areas as player pensions, creating a partnership of sorts with the owners and was a darling of the media for his willingness to be interviewed and his candidness. But that doesn’t seem to have been good enough.
Not being a player myself or privy to any insider information, all I have to go on is speculation. And the speculation is that a hard-line contingent – or in Adam’s political parlance, an authoritarian junta – within the union felt Kelly was too cozy with the league; too willing to meet in the middle on issues. And he was ousted for it. There are also reports Kelly was caught – in Saskin-esque fashion – reading the confidential minutes of a union meeting, though he denies those allegations.
But that is just the speculation. We’re yet to know exactly what was going on behind the union’s closed doors and this story seems to change every day. -JG
Hello Adam, Is there anyway you can tell me what’s going on with the Rangers and Brandon Dubinsky? This situation is starting to annoy me as well as other Rangers fans. How can Sather not give this kid what he wants? It’s not like he’s asking for $3 million a year. We love Dubinsky and it would be sad to see this kid just leave after this year. Thanks and have a great day.
Anthony Giovi, Babylon, Ill.
The fact Dubinsky has been scrimmaging with his New York teammates bodes well for the process and from the looks of it, finding a way to squeeze him in under the cap is the stumbling block.
The Rangers currently have approximately $2.5 million in cap space left and that already doesn’t leave much room for mid-season tweaks. Things get worse in 2010-11 with 13 players already eating up nearly $46 million, so structuring Dubinsky’s deal will be key. Having said that, the Rangers rarely do right by their young players and there are rumors of them going after Phil Kessel, who would effectively replace Dubie should such a scenario unfold (unlikely as it may be). –RK
Adam, do you think the hockey pundits such as yourself and your THN colleagues can act as mediators between the NHL and groups looking to expand the NHL into Canada? I’m an American, but I would be happy to see teams again in Winnipeg and Quebec. The Coyote situation has muddled this debate because I think Jim Balsillie’s insistence on moving the team to Hamilton 1) puts an unfair burden on the other Pacific Division teams, 2) violates the concept of a franchise (otherwise you would only have teams in Toronto, Montreal, and New York), and 3) might actually create another basket case team (the Islanders and Devils never outdraw the Rangers even when they are Cup contenders, so why would a Hamilton team draw away Toronto fans?). How about you suggest to the NHL that they let Balsillie buy the Coyotes, but he must stay in Glendale this season and then can move to Winnipeg next season? This would show if the NHL is really committed to hockey in Canada and at the same time, show whether Balsillie is trying to bring teams to Canada or is just using this notion as a ploy to defy franchise rules.
Peter Ruvolo, Austin, Minn.
Peter: Some good thoughts, but I think any suggestion the league work with Jim Balsillie on anything is a non-starter at this point. The league has gone to incredible lengths to not only keep Balsillie out of the club, but to paint him as a businessman who lacks integrity.
And the fact of the matter is Balsillie wants to move the team to Hamilton, not to Winnipeg. It is a condition of his offer that he is allowed to move the team to Hamilton, which he has said many times is the most under-serviced hockey market in the world. He is fully within his rights to make whatever offer for the Coyotes he sees fit and the NHL is within its rights to fight him on it every step of the way. I think I’ll just let the distinguished Redfield T. Baum figure this one out. -KC
Is Patrick Kane’s spot on Chicago safe?
Thomas Mathieu, Oakville, Ont.
Absolutely. Kane may have had a run-in with the law this summer, but he’s still a kid and everyone makes mistakes.
Kane will turn 21 in November and will put up at least 70 points this season. Him, along with Jonathan Toews, are the faces of the burgeoning young Hawks franchise and as soon as Kane starts potting his own goals and assisting on others in October, no one in Chicago will be thinking about the cabbie mishap – though other cities won’t soon forget.
It’s not as though Kane has a history of this kind of stuff and he doesn’t have a Sean Avery aura that can conspire to ruin a team. Kane still has much growing to do – both on and off the ice – and the Hawks want him to do just that in the Windy City. –RB
When I was a teenager I noticed a lot of the captains and the alternates were the guys who had to work the hardest to be there (Kelly Kisio, Rob Ray, Jeff Odgers, Kelly Buchberger, etc.), but now it seems to be a perk given to stars as part of their contract (Heatley, Marleau, etc.). I’m just wondering if in the long run this will erode the quality of leadership at the NHL level and what your views are on this? P.S. I grew up watching the Halifax Mooseheads and don’t understand why Jody Shelley never had an ‘A’ in Columbus as he was the true off-ice leader of that team from what I understand.
Andrew Jordan, Ottawa
Certainly it does seem like star players can get an ‘A’ on their jersey a little easier than in the past, even a guy like Dany Heatley who’s acted a bit like another word that starts with A this summer.
Putting letters on pluggers is a nice way to recognize their efforts, but the truth is, players the ilk of those guys you mentioned work their tail off and set a good example no matter what’s on their jersey. It’s simply in their DNA.
I think a lot of the time teams give talented players a letter as incentive to grow into the leadership role because if the most skilled guys on a team are working hard, everybody buys in.
I also think a club has the right to revoke a letter, as San Jose did with Patrick Marleau this summer. If he’s not doing the job, find a better representative of what you want your team to be about. -RD
Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers’ question in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every other Friday in the summer from 4-5 p.m. EST on XM Radio channel 204. 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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