Hide your wife, hide your kids and hide your husband, because we’re answering mailbag questions out here! (You know the routine – you send me questions, I pick some and answer them either here, in The Hockey News Magazine or on THN Radio.)
Hey Adam, of the final four NHL playoff teams, there are many players who deserve a Stanley Cup and have waited a long time. Who do you think deserves it the most and why?
Matt MacDonald, Winnipeg, Man.
That’s a great question. I always tell people that, since I began my pro writing career, I no longer have a favorite team and instead, I cheer for individuals on each team I’ve come to like as people over the years.
On the Sharks, I cheer for people such as Doug Wilson (easily one of the most approachable and respectful GMs in the league), Douglas Murray and Logan Couture. On the Canucks, I cheer for Manny Malhotra, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard and Chris Higgins.
On the Bruins, I hope Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly do well. And on the Lightning, I cheer for Martin St-Louis, Teddy Purcell, Dominic Moore, Eric Brewer and Steven Stamkos.
That doesn’t mean I hope all the players I haven’t mentioned don’t perform to and beyond their capabilities. I’ve just gotten to know the aforementioned people to various degrees and appreciate what they do and manner in which they do it.
Adam, could you explain what a “hometown discount” entails? With Curtis Glencross giving a hometown discount to Calgary, it made me think of how much a player’s wages goes towards cost of living, player agent cost and other details that the public is aware of. With Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, he did take less than his market value; I was very impressed and wonder if a player does something like this if he is rewarded in other ways that the public is unaware of. Could you elaborate? Thanks (and love the podcast),
Ry Swanson, Kentville, N.S.
You’ve worked a bunch of different angles into your paragraph. I’m just going to focus on the essence of the hometown discount concept. There aren’t any bonuses in the form of brand new cars or extra Christmas hams handed out to players in return for taking less money on their official playing salary. In fact, the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement expressly forbids such an end-run around the cap.
No, a hometown discount really is exactly that – less money in exchange for the comforts of a familiar surrounding and employer, for the ties that have bonded a player to a community and for the sake of his teammates (in other words, so that there will be more money under the cap to spend on a better quality of teammate).
It isn’t an entirely emotional decision; in some cases, local advertising opportunities can help a player recoup some of those discounted dollars. But for the most part, the decision represents a real sacrifice.
Hey Adam, being a Canadiens fan I believe they need to get bigger up front in the off-season. What player or players do you think the Habs should try to sign on July 1? Also, do you think the Habs will buy out Scott Gomez or do they wait one more season?
Mike Leoci, Oshawa, Ont.
I think Montreal does need an infusion of size, but to argue they need an army of big men is an insult to smaller, but large-hearted players such as Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta. The right answer is augmentation, not demolition.
As for Gomez, I believe GM Pierre Gauthier already has made it clear the team expects the veteran center to be back next season to see if he can rediscover the offensive magic that landed him his massive (and now untradeable) contract. Even if he can’t, with two additional seasons left on his contract after the 2011-12 campaign, a buyout still will be unpalatable for management and ownership.
Hey Adam, Do you think Miikka Kiprusoff’s trade value is at an all-time high for a team like Philadelphia? Do you think they would be able to get a player such as Jeff Carter?
Kodi Symmonds, Medicine Hat, Alta.
I’m sure the value of all great NHL goalies has risen in the view of the Flyers. But with Calgary aiming to improve on a standout second-half run this year with the same cast of veteran characters next season, there is next to no chance the Flames would part with Kiprusoff.
Hello Adam. With the recent death of Derek Boogaard highlighting the tragic lives the enforcers led by some NHL enforcers, do you think Donald Fehr and the NHLPA will push for better benefits for proverbial “tough guys” in the upcoming collective bargaining agreements or will it continue being an “apply-at-own-risk” profession? Thanks,
Michael Bradburn, Whitby, Ont.
Hello Michael. If I had to choose between your two answers, I’d choose the latter. While the NHLPA is much better at educating players regarding the dangers they face (especially enforcers who take shots to the head as a necessary part of their job), the predominant hockey mentality is that players understand the risk involved when they sign a contract.
So while it would be nice to see the league and players’ union figure out a way to improve the health care and coverage NHLers receive now, I doubt very much that will happen.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.
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