A mailbag column after a week’s absence means there’s a larger-than-normal backlog of varied questions from which to choose. (And speaking of vacation – did I mention I’ll be away for a week from July 14-18? And again Aug. 25-29? Hey, I could’ve taken off a whole month in a row, but I figured it’d be best if you miss me in small doses.)
Let’s begin with an inquiry from one of the hundreds of people who were mortified by a couple notable omissions from my pre-vacation list of the best hockey movies ever made.
Amazed in your list of Best and Worst Hockey movies that The Rocket did not make it. Very difficult to understand.
Len Barrie Sr., Victoria, B.C.
As I explained in my Monday blog, it’s really not all that difficult to understand. It was my list, so I put up the movies I liked most and least. No slight against either The Rocket or Mystery, Alaska; I just enjoyed the ones I listed more than either of them.
And if I may be so bold, Mr. Barrie, since your son’s business partner with the Tampa Bay Lightning (Oren Koules) is a high-falutin’ movie producer, perhaps you could convince the two of them to make an English-language version of The Rocket that American fans (who can’t cope with subtitles) will appreciate.
Once they get that ugly defense corps situation straightened out, I mean.
Apparently in Pavel Kubina’s contract there is a ‘loophole’ granting a few days in which the Leafs can trade him around the draft. I’m confused how this works.
Do players sign with a ‘no-trade’ clause that still permits a few days window for the owning team to trade anyhow? I’m confused.
Thanks for the help,
Michael Domeracki, Boulder, Colo.
Kubina does indeed have a 45-day window in his contract that allows the Leafs to trade him to any team of their choosing. That window began at the NHL draft, and extends into mid-August.
There is no single type of no-trade clause contract. Some are specifically limited, like Kubina’s and the one Sean Avery just signed with Dallas, while others are all-encompassing and also can contain provisions prohibiting their team from waiving or demoting the player as well (Bryan McCabe’s current deal with Toronto being one of the prime examples).
In essence, it’s all up to the player and the team. But don’t worry about being confused. I get the same way about lots of other things.
For example, I’m confused why there are people out there who haven’t packed up their Christmas decorations yet. If it were up to me, I’d make it legal for those lazy so-and-sos to be beaten with the bulbs and ornaments until they store them away.
I’ll thank you for your great column even though you won’t be the one to read or answer this question. Nevertheless, here it is:
What are the Blue Jackets trying to do? I thought they had finally found out what their identity was in the ’07-08 season, when they became a strong defensive team. But their drafting suggests the opposite.
I was surprised to see them draft Nikita Filatov a year after Jakub Voracek. Drafting Filatov just seems wrong to me since they won’t use him properly unless they hire a new coach this season. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to have so many offensive weapons under a defensive system.
So what’s going on? There seems to be some kind of mix up between Ken Hitchcock, Scott Howson, and their scouting team. Or am I wrong?
Sam Schneider, Springfield, Ohio
Thanks for the kind words. And, just so you know, every Ask Adam question arrives directly in my email box. I can’t reply to them all, unfortunately, but I do read them. Sometimes they send me scurrying into the fetal position, or force me to flip through an encyclopedia of neuroses, but that’s just a natural and accepted hazard of the workplace.
I’m not so sure what direction the Jackets are headed in, either. They’ve got some excellent components and made some risky trades – for instance, is Nikolai Zherdev really that much of a lost cause that you trade him for two mid-tier defensemen? – so I could see them finally making the playoffs this year just as easily as I could see them missing out on the post-season again.
Should the latter scenario come to pass, I think Hitchcock gets the hook. He wasn’t Howson’s hire to begin with, so there’s a natural out there for the GM to take. And you can bet the new coach would be someone who is a better fit for the Jackets’ talent than the current guy may be.
At this moment, would it be fair to say the Leafs are the worst team in the NHL?
John Yates, Stamford, Conn.
Yes, very fair. (Although the Canucks might give them a run for their money.)
But that’s not to say Cliff Fletcher isn’t doing the right thing by tearing this group of inflated egos and underachievers apart. Short-term pain for long-term gain is how most franchises succeed; it finally looks like the Maple Leafs are buying into that philosophy.
Why hasn’t any team signed NHL coaches who were just fired? Paul Maurice is a good coach who just had a crappy team, Bob Hartley has won a Cup, and Marc Crawford has done a lot for all the teams he’s been with.
Mike Harland, Kitchener, Ont.
What, no mention of Joel Quenneville, Pat Burns and Pat Quinn? They’re looking for work too, you know.
The Kings are the only team still looking for a bench boss and I think Quenneville might be a good solution for them. But I wouldn’t put it past GM Dean Lombardi to look to the American League for his next coach – and I couldn’t fault him for doing it, either.
As Bruce Boudreau proved with the Capitals last season, there are many talented coaches able to help teams. I think you’ll see John Anderson prove the same thing in Atlanta, though he may need a couple years to better that transitioning group.
Regardless of who fills the Kings position, you’ll see some of those old faces back in a reasonable amount of time. When some teams struggle and stumble out of the gate in ’08-09, it will surprise no one to see a veteran coach supplant whoever gets the hook (I’m looking at you, Alain Vigneault and Andy Murray.)
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