If it’s Friday, it must be mailbag time.
(Oh, and if you heard me talking this past Wednesday on CBC radio’s ‘As It Happens’ program about the NHL’s recent decision to forbid fans from wearing any team sweater other than the home team’s at arenas throughout the league, relax and check what day Wednesday was.)
What happened in the Mathieu Dandenault situation? He asked to be traded, but never was. Please fill me in.
Mike. B., Kitchener, Ont.
The Dandenault situation is the same as the Nick Boynton and Scott Clemmensen situations; each player – for very different reasons – failed to find a good fit with their individual team and were slotted to be moved, but each team’s GM couldn’t find the appropriate trading partner to replace what would be a departing asset, so they all stayed put.
Dandenault, Boynton and Clemmensen are unrestricted free agents at the end of this season, so each will be able to search for a better opportunity on their own this summer. They also represent one of the early waves of veteran players left relatively high-and-dry by the collective bargaining agreement and uncertain economic times.
Unfortunately for the players, I think there’ll be more of those waves crashing upon the league’s shores in the next few years.
Love your stuff. As a life long Eddie Belfour fan, I want to know, what’s happened to ‘The Eagle?’ I know last year he played in Sweden. Has he officially hung them up?
Thanks, James M., Toronto
It certainly seems Belfour’s playing days are behind him. For the most part, NHLers don’t file retirement papers with the league, as there’s really no advantage for them in doing so. And given the extent of the back woes that plagued him late in his career, I very much doubt he could come back at age 43 and look anywhere close to as good as he once did.
In regard to an ‘official’ announcement, you’d need to presume Belfour was at all interested in the media for you to assume a press release or news conference was coming.
And as someone who watched Belfour wince his way through Toronto media scrums in the early-to-mid-part of this decade, I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.
I am a huge Canucks fan and I know Daniel and Henrik Sedin are going to become UFAs on July 1. I was wondering: will they end up on a different team, stay with the Canucks or something else? I would like to know what you think will happen.
Devon Barker, Port Alberni, B.C.
If the Sedins truly intend to play together beyond this spring, odds are they won’t have too many alternatives other than Vancouver. That’s because they’ll each be looking for a salary in the $6-7 million per season range and there aren’t many, if any, franchises other than the Canucks who’ll have the requisite salary cap space to add two forwards for $14 million large.
Now, some GM might think about clearing enough space to accommodate both brothers. But given the aforementioned economic uncertainty, I can’t see such a scenario materializing. And, anyway, with things going so well for the team right now, why would they want to go anywhere else?
Why do refs let players fight instead of breaking them up as soon as it starts?
Alan Guo, Fort McMurray, Alta.
They do so because they’ve been told by the league’s head of officiating Stephen Walkom to allow fighting. And Stephen Walkom tells them so because he’s been told by commissioner Gary Bettman to allow fighting.
Although some like to imagine officials ‘deciding’ games or the style in which they’re played, the truth of the matter is that owners and league management dictate exactly what is and isn’t verboten. So if you feel like complaining, complain to head office, not to the guys in black-and-white stripes.
I always enjoy these weekly questions and answers (though I’m not always sure which I enjoy more). Will you answer me this: Why is Steve Mason getting serious attention for the Vezina Trophy?
His numbers as of April 1: a 2.22 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 10 shutouts and a 32-18-5 record in 56 games. People are saying he is responsible for Columbus’ jump from also-ran to playoff team. Pascal Leclaire’s numbers last year: a 2.25 GAA., .919 SP, nine shutouts and a 24-17-6 record in 54 games. Not much difference, eh?
Tim Thomas, Niklas Backstrom, Evgeni Nabokov and even Pekka Rinne all have better numbers than Mason this year. I’d take any one of those or several others (Roberto Luongo, Jonas Hiller, Cam Ward) over Mason for the Vezina. Mason would get the rookie goalie of the year, maybe, but it’d be close with Rinne.
And what are the chances they could make an exception this year and give the award to a tandem instead of an individual? You’d have to give it to Craig Anderson/Tomas Vokoun. How many games did they steal? Another possibility: Scott Clemmensen/Martin Brodeur. Or maybe Martin Gerber/Curtis Joseph? Ha!
Aaron Benson, Provo, Utah
I don’t get to vote on the Vezina – that’s for NHL GMs only – but if I did, I definitely wouldn’t cast my ballot for Mason.
I don’t even think the Jackets backstopper should be the runaway winner for the Calder; yes, he’s been spectacular for Columbus, but in addition to the stellar performance of Rinne – who was identified by THN at the start of the season as an off-the-radar player to watch – L.A.’s Drew Doughty also has been a standout for the Kings all season long.
In my view, Thomas should be the Vezina winner, simply for the fact he currently leads all goalies in goals-against average (2.11) and save percentage (.932).
And as for bestowing an award on a goaltending tandem, the NHL already does that with the William Jennings Trophy; it goes to “the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 (regular-season) games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it.”
Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers’ question in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every Friday from 3-4 p.m. EST on XM Radio channel 204. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.