The NHL’s free agent frenzy is about 48 hours away and many of you question-askers are alternatively giddy and frightened to death of who your particular team may or may not sign.
However, many of you have other inquiries to make, so we’ll have to have a little balance between free agent questions and separate NHL issues.
First off, congrats to you and the magazine on your recent awards. Well deserved on both counts! You and the magazine do an awesome job of keeping us hockey fans informed. Can’t imagine not being a Hockey News subscriber! (And much as I love the website, I’ll never give up my print edition!)
Now, then, to the questions…
1. What the blazes happened with Versus’ airing of the awards ceremony? At the last minute they decide not to air it live and postpone it until 11 p.m.? And then, on top of that, they don’t even start it at 11 like they said. Instead it came on around 11:30.
Really shoddy treatment of one of hockey’s big nights. Any comment or detail on what happened there?
2. What are your thoughts on the Rangers re-signing Sean Avery? I hope he’ll stick around, especially since I just bought a jersey with his name on it. (My track record with jerseys isn’t very good…the last Ranger jersey I purchased was Dominic Moore. Really thought he could be a franchise player…)
Hockey rules … and so does your column!
George Fletcher, Bay Shore, N.Y.
Thanks for the very kind words. Your bribe check is in the mail. (But seriously, we’re proud of any and all recognition we get at The Hockey News. Sixty years after we printed our first edition Â– and in spite of countless rumors of our imminent demise Â– we’re still going strong.)
Moving on: though Versus’ attempted broadcasting of the NHL Awards turned into a debacle, I don’t think we can lump all the blame on the league, or the network.
Why? Because a CBC broadcast truck (which was providing the satellite feed for Versus) had major technical issues that night and nearly caught on fire, delaying the feed in the process. Some might say there should’ve been contingency plans in place, but the NHL has never been renowned for its all-encompassing foresight.
As for Avery, I’d bet he re-signs with your Blueshirts. He loves Manhattan and fills a need on that roster.
Now, do I think he’ll finish his career as a Ranger? Hell, no. Avery’s act has worn thin after a couple years on every team he’s played for; that trend probably won’t change at this point in his career.
If I were you, I’d invest in a Henrik Lundqvist jersey. That dude isn’t going anywhere.
Will the Islanders re-sign Ryan Smyth?
I am a disappointed Buffalo Sabres fan. This was the year, if any, to take the Cup, but things didn’t quite work out. I still think there is plenty of talent to still be a threat, along with another year of playoff experience (remember Ottawa, they lost a lot last summer but still made it to the Cup final this year).
Everyone is talking about how Chris Drury and Daniel Briere are leaving, but it’s the defense that might see the biggest change this summer. It looks like Teppo Numminen will not be back and fans here are fed up with Dmitri Kalinin and Jaroslav Spacek and just want them gone, even if we get nothing in return.
So Adam, what will Buffalo’s defense look like next year? Who is leaving town and who might we bring in? Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Tom Preissing quarterback the power play.
Brian B., Rochester N.Y.
There’s no chance another team is taking on Spacek’s contract, so they’ll need to spend some cash on the free agent front to improve.
Preissing might be a very good fit in Buffalo, but I think the Sabres’ defense corps needs a little more sandpaper than skill. And there are a couple unrestricted free agents who would help in that department.
I’m thinking in particular of Aaron Miller, a Buffalo native who has flown under most people’s radar while playing for the L.A. Kings since 2000. He, and fellow UFA Danny Markov, would make life much more difficult for those trying to get near Ryan Miller.
Will any team in the NHL take a chance on signing Alexei Yashin? My opinion is that any team that signs him would be making a giant mistake. I believe his NHL career is finished, unless he signs a contract for next to nothing. (And we know that’s not going to happen).
I say this because Yashin has not accomplished anything since being in the NHL, supposedly loads of talent, but he has done nothing. I would rate Yashin right behind A. Daigle as the biggest flops in the last 15 years. I think his future hockey career lies in the Russian league.
Fred B., NYC
Teams Â– especially the ones that lose out on the Briere, Drury and Scott Gomez sweepstakes Â– will be very tempted to make Yashin an offer. But because the optics of offering him anything more than a two-year, $6-million deal are so awful, I don’t think NHL GMs will pony up the money Yashin will want.
And because of that, we’re going to get a very good idea, very soon, of why Yashin plays this game.
If he’s in it strictly for the cake, he goes to Russia; if he’s as interested in winning a Stanley Cup, as his agent claims, he signs the type of short-term, bargain-basement deal Paul Kariya signed in Colorado a few years back. Improbable as it sounds, I think he chooses the latter option.
According to the NHL’s imbalanced schedule, the Northwest and Northeast divisions don’t play each other next year, and this means that there will be no Hockey Day In Canada this year (and every three years if the format continues).
You’re a smart man, so I don’t need to explain to you what a travesty this is. Are there any plans to circumvent this problem, or is the NHL going to slight its loyal fans for one of its lame-brained ideas again?
Josh Price, Tel Aviv, Israel
Unfortunately, the league is going full-steam ahead with its ridiculous schedule format, despite the legions of fans who voiced their disapproval of it this past season. And Gary Bettman wonders why he gets tagged with an anti-Canada bias.
Only in the NHL could a concept that has been completely embraced by a customer base be whittled down and minimized. For more proof, see Bettman v. Balsillie.
Ask Adam appears Fridays only on The Hockey News.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.