This is the second-to-last mailbag I’ll be doing for a few weeks. After next Friday’s entry, I’m off until the week of Jan. 10, but my THN colleagues will step up in my stead, so keep your inquiries coming.
Adam, I just read your 2007 column about Don Cherry. Look, I agree with you to an extent. But I think we have to take Grapes with a grain of salt.
I have watched Coach’s Corner my whole life and I have mad respect for the guy just because he knows what he is doing in the context of hockey and also been around since the dinosaurs. But I do see why such a negative article could be written about his opinionated and somewhat prejudiced attitude outside of the game. But my question for you is: do you have any respect for Don Cherry?
Dylan Kelly, Edmonton
Sure I do. I respect Cherry for his obvious talents as a self-promoter, for his business acumen and for his charity efforts. But as a hockey force, I think he is hugely irresponsible and one of the most negative influences the game ever has seen.
A few years ago, I nearly choked on my tongue when someone tried to call Cherry an ambassador for the sport. My definition of ambassador is someone who promotes in a constructive manner and reaches out to other groups to foster lasting and fruitful relationships.
Cherry doesn’t do that. He tells his audiences who deserves to succeed in the game (Canadians) and who always will be inferior (everyone else). As I said on Twitter, he is Canada’s Confederate Flag – a symbol of good to some, but a beacon of bigotry and exclusion to others.
Adam, in regards to Sean Avery, why don’t opposing players get together and, every time a team plays the Rangers, have opponents, one shift after another, fight him?
The instigator rule wouldn’t be a factor because sooner or later Rangers players would have to stand up for him. After a few games in a row like this the Rangers coach would have his game plan screwed up so bad because the focus would be on Avery, not the team. The NHL might not like this, but it would send a real message to guys like Avery.
Gary Crawford, Saskatoon, Sask.
I’m no hockey tactician, but I’m guessing your solution wouldn’t work because (a) Avery would refuse to fight; (b) the opposing players would be given penalties; and (c) the Rangers would have power plays out the wazoo.
If there’s one thing I’ve had more than enough of, it’s this constant talk about “sending messages.” You want to send a message? Either use Western Union, or score more goals than the other team.
Hi Adam, I recently read (from Spector) that Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier is looking to trade Scott Gomez. It seems incredibly unlikely due to his $7.35-million-a-season cap hit, but if Gomez is still considered a top skilled center (which Bob Gainey obviously thought he was), what do you think are the chances this could actually happen?
Is the best we can hope for is taking back players with bad cap hits or problem players? I look at Buffalo, who are apparently dissatisfied with Tim Connolly and Craig Rivet; Calgary, Atlanta and Toronto all need skilled centers and have either cap space or spare parts that can be moved for space. Also, there are building teams like Carolina and the Islanders, who could take a prospect and/or draft pick to swallow the money.
So if Gauthier sets his mind to getting as little back as possible, or even paying to get rid of him, do you think there’s any hope of dropping that dead cap-space? Or are we stuck with a 50-point player making more than Joe Thornton for three more years?
Thomas Levesque, Windsor, Ont.
I know this is going to sound far-fetched to those with goldfish-caliber memories, but I saw Jason Blake traded last season with my own two eyes. Consequently (or unless that was a Lost-style “flash-forward” occurrence), I never could guarantee any contract (OK, other than Roberto Luongo’s and Ilya Kovalchuk’s) is un-tradable.
Still, it’s quite difficult to imagine a scenario that would see Gomez traded anytime before he gets to the last year of his deal (and becomes attractive as a cap room-provider).
And to address one of your examples – do you think Buffalo would throw away Connolly’s expiring contract for the privilege of paying for 246 more games from Gomez? Maybe if the Habs threw in a prized prospect and/or a draft pick, but that seems counterproductive to me. I can’t see any GM thinking that the soon-to-be 31-year-old will suddenly re-find his game at this stage of his career.
As I’ve noted before, if there is an amnesty period after the next collective bargaining agreement, the Habs may have a chance to dump Gomez’s final year without any penalty. But barring that, it will take a minor miracle to get him out of the Blue, Blanc et Rouge.
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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