It’s April 15, which means it’s time to salute the greatest birthday club in history. Current members include Ilya Kovalchuk, Tim Thomas, Air Canada Centre PA announcer and DJ extraordinaire Andy Frost, and one-hit UK “singer” Samantha Fox. And me. Congrats to us all.
Why are you and THN so anti-Flyers? Poor Alex Ovechkin got shut down the other day, so that means no coverage for Philadelphia. You and the league want the final in the East to be The Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby show.
Lou Kessler, Sarasota, Fla.
Why? Because the only way you get hired at THN is to swear on a stack of Valeri Kharlamov sticks that nothing pro-Flyers shall ever appear in one of your stories.
We also employ one staff member specifically dedicated to weeding out even the slightest positive mention of anything orange and black (including Lindsay Lohan and her leggings fixation), and, once a month, we have a secret candle-lit ceremony in which small shards of a Roman Cechmanek jersey are danced around and provided sacrifices for.
On the non-sarcastic tip: Would I prefer to see a Crosby/Ovechkin showdown? Sure I would, and I don’t believe I’m the only one.
That doesn’t mean I’d be crestfallen to see another franchise wind up winning the East, but as a member of the media, I make no apologies for hoping to see a showdown that pits two of the league’s marquee superstars against each other. If that makes me wrong, I don’t want to be right.
I honestly don’t understand the outcry against Sean Avery for his stick waving in Game 3 against the Devils. Attempting to distract a goaltender ought to be considered no different than attempting to screen them.
If you call that “unsportsmanlike,” then 99.9 percent of the activity that goes on in front of the net could be called that, too. To quote Brendan Shanahan: “Show me the rule book. What’s the rule? If they’re going to change a rule in mid-season, they need a 30-0 vote of the Board of Governors.”
This is just another example of Avery getting the short end of the stick. In games, he has to deal with being hooked, held, and interfered with, but never gets the call. Just because he isn’t a superstar doesn’t mean people should be allowed to obstruct him, while a funny look at Crosby lands someone in the penalty box.
Brendan Sullivan, Staten Island, N.Y.
I agree – it’s not fair to vilify Avery on this one, although I do think he pushed the boundaries of the “spirit of the game.” Avery’s reputation almost certainly played a hand in the speed with which the NHL moved to make his action illegal, but to be completely honest, I was heartened to see Gary Bettman and the league react quickly and with great authority.
Shanahan’s “30-0” comment in particular rubbed me the wrong way. As a veteran who knows all too well about how long it takes the league to make changes to the game, the Rangers winger should be thankful Bettman didn’t hide behind a need for a unanimous vote and instead acted like a true troubleshooter ought to.
If only Bettman would show a similar sense of urgency on more pressing matters such as visors, hitting from behind and no-touch icing, there’s no doubt his business would benefit.
Who do you think will be left for the Islanders to draft with the fifth-overall pick? Is it possible to get offensive help like Nikita Filatov? Will the Islanders look to an offensive player ranked outside the five spot or just draft the best player available?
Thanks, Jack Lupo, Conklin, N.Y.
According to most mock drafts, Filatov should be around for the Isles to pick at No. 5. With the lack of a transfer agreement between Russia and the NHL, choosing any player from that country carries with it a bit of risk.
However, considering that, in THN’s most recent Future Watch edition, all five of the Islanders’ top prospects were forwards, GM Garth Snow may want to look at a blueliner instead of Filatov.
And if somebody goes off the grid with one of the first four picks, the Isles definitely could land someone such as Niagara Falls Thunder defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Most scouts I’ve spoken with think you and other Islanders fans would be quite happy with him.
I am very pleased with the fact Kevin Lowe has locked up two of his RFAs already this off-season. If he hadn’t, there isn’t a doubt in my mind Brian Burke or other GMs would be running their fax machines dry with offer sheets.
Because of the speculation and the Dustin Penner deal last summer, I have a question: Do RFAs have to accept offer sheets from other teams? For example, could Penner have turned his nose at the Oilers’ and wait for the Ducks despite the huge pay raise?
Greg Lekivetz, Edmonton, Alta.
Theoretically, yes, Penner or any RFA could ignore a massive offer sheet from another team.
But realistically, if that were to happen, there would be a scintillating contest between the guy’s agent and the NHLPA to see who gets to pummel the player into semi-consciousness first. In other words, don’t hold your breath.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
Enter THN’s Free Playoff Challenge for your chance to win a 2008 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special Motorcycle. Contest closes at the start of the third round.