After a week’s absence, the mailbag returns – and this time (just like every time) it’s personal. As always, if you don’t see your question answered here, be sure you check the THN magazine and listen to THN Radio on Sirius/XM to see if I dealt with it in one of those forums. And my apologies for those questions I don’t get to.
Adam, in your Jan. 20 mailbag, you mentioned the possibility of the Caps trading either Alexander Semin or Mike Green. Exactly what chance do you think this has of happening, and who do you see as a possibility to come to Washington for these players?
Ron Watkins, Crofton, Md.
Given Semin is an unrestricted free agent and that Green is a restricted free agent and highly valued puck-moving defenseman, I don’t think there’s any doubt Semin is more likely to be moved.
But there are aspects of both players that make them difficult to move. Semin is one of the most notoriously inconsistent upper-tier NHL talents and with just 12 goals and 28 points, he’s being outscored by Troy Brouwer (15 goals) and defenseman Dennis Wideman (34 points). Yes, Semin is 27 and in theory has a lot of good hockey ahead of him, but the prospect of shelling out wheelbarrows of cash in a long-term deal for him doesn’t appeal to most of the league’s GMs right now.
Green, on the other hand, has been plagued by health issues – specifically, a groin problem that has limited the 26-year-old to only 10 games this season. If you’re a GM, do you really want to part with young players and/or draft picks and/or prospects to acquire a guy who may not be able to play for you for very long? I’m not sure you do.
Nevertheless, if the Caps are still life-or-death to make the playoffs by the Feb. 27 trade deadline, Washington GM George McPhee may have little choice but to shake up his roster and move one of the two out. I wouldn’t put the chances at better than 50/50. And it’s impossible to say what he could get in return for either guy, as there are so many moving-target factors at play.
Hey Adam, why are Canadian fans so arrogant towards us here in the U.S.? They boo and act like we are uneducated with the sport. We get the “hockey is our sport” thing. Do you think we should move all the teams in lower North America to Canada? Then perhaps we here in the USA can start a new league.
I have been playing hockey since the ‘70s and coached squirts and juniors for 15 years. We Americans love hockey. We do not need Canada’s approval, nor Pierre McGuire and Eddie Olczyk to explain every play to us, nor having everyone at the NHL All-Star Game thanking Canada for the holding the game there. I hope next year in Ohio everyone thanks America for having the game. Adam, just the whole “we invented the game and belongs in Canada” is old. Thanks Adam, I love reading your articles.
Brian Goodwin, Tremont, Pa.
First of all, you have to be careful not to assume all Canadians are that myopic. We’re not. Some of us understand what really matters in hockey’s big picture – celebrating skilled and talented players from anywhere on the planet.
But there’s no denying the arrogant exceptionalist Canadian attitude exists among certain fans. I can only chalk it up to insecurity on their behalf. And it certainly makes them seem very small. As time goes on, I’m hopeful we’ll see that group of people shrink even more than it has already.
Adam, after having an amazing month of December, but a so-so month of January, do the Avalanche make the playoffs? I would think that with a return of a healthy Matt Duchene in a couple weeks and if Peter Mueller returns to pre-concussion form, the Avalanche would be in pretty good shape. The only question mark would be in goal. Your thoughts?
Priit Kaskla, Garden Grove, Calif.
I wasn’t sold on the Avs as a playoff team prior to the start of this season and I’m still not. They’ve played at least one more game than all the teams ahead of them in the Western Conference playoff race and have lost four straight games.
Of course, there’s a chance they put together a nice streak as they did in late December, but I think it’s just as likely they remain as inconsistent as they have all year and wind up missing out at the end. They’re still a very young team that needs more depth all-around, a better defense corps, and as we’ve seen with the struggles of Semyon Varlamov, more help in net. There’s lots to like in Denver, but lots to question as well.
Hey Adam, Why isn’t Adam Larsson among the top candidates for the Calder Trophy? He leads the Devils defense corps in ice time, which is very impressive for a rookie. He’s a great defenseman, one you can build a team around. Why is nobody talking about him?
Adam Genova, Etobicoke, Ont.
You’re right, Larsson hasn’t been getting the hype of a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Gabriel Landeskog, but that has as much to do with the position he plays as anything else. There’s also the fact fellow Devils rookie Adam Henrique (13 goals, 34 points) has stood out with the kind of offensive numbers that people take notice of.
Is that entirely fair to Larsson, who’ll be the key cog in New Jersey’s defense corps for years? Of course not. But in the grand scheme of things, he cares more about winning than any individual honor.