We’ve just had one of the best weeks yet in terms of mailbag submissions. Be sure to check the usual places where I answer the mail: here, in The Hockey News magazine and on THN Radio – to see what your fellow fans are interested in.
Hey Adam. Shane Doan is a free agent this summer and has already stated he would like to stay in Phoenix, but Brad Richards said the same thing about Dallas last year. Do you see Doan going back to Winnipeg and retiring as a Jet?
Jordan Grochot, Mississauga, Ont.
Let’s put it this way: if the Coyotes relocate to Nunavut, Lexington, Ky., or the top of an active volcano, I can see a scenario in which Doan considers a return to Winnipeg. Otherwise, I think he stays. You can’t really compare him to Richards, who spent just three full seasons with the Stars and had his greatest success in Tampa Bay. Doan has known only one franchise, for better or worse, and his loyalty should be commended.
Think of it as you would a young man who leaves home to start a career far away. If he’s had 15 years in that faraway place, chances are he sees that as his home now. Of course, that might change if the Jets offered Doan $10 million a season, but that’s not happening, either.
Hey Adam, What do you think the Panthers’ chances are of making the playoffs this year? And where do you see them in five to 10 years?
Andrea Mingrone, Miami
Florida has gotten off to a decent enough start, but at 9-6-3, they’re still essentially a .500 team right now. The veteran additions made by GM Dale Tallon may pay off in a playoff spot; however, I don’t think there are too many people out there who see them as a genuine Stanley Cup threat at this stage of the rebuild.
It’s so difficult to project where any team will be even a year from now. Injuries can change the picture significantly, as can ownership issues, draft development hits and misses, and a number of other factors. But if Tallon and management can be patient, the youngsters they have in the system give them as good a chance for future success as any franchise.
Hey Adam, I am from North Dakota and have been a Fighting Sioux fan forever. My first hockey game I went to I was five years old. Back then saying Fighting Sioux was awesome at the game. Now if you say Sioux or Fighting Sioux someone gets all over you about being hostile, and the NCAA wants the University of North Dakota to remove the nickname and logo for being hostile and abusive. The name has been around for 60 some years. My question is this for all hockey fans in the USA and Canada: should UND remove the nickname and logo? Fight on Sioux!
Jeremy Krause, Minot, N.D.
This is part of a larger discussion about societal symbols and the way time can change their perception. And though I certainly don’t speak for all North American hockey fans, I’ll just say this: I understand the allure of tradition, but if you were part of a culture that has been rolled over the way Native Americans and Canadians have in recent centuries, you might see the Sioux logo a little bit differently.
Hi Adam, I really enjoy your column, and I agree with you most of the time. I just wanted to add my thoughts about facial and eye protection in the NHL. I don’t think the players realize all the millions of lost dollars in career-ending injuries they are putting on the table when they choose not to protect their eyes. I don’t think those half shields are any good. I think you could ask Bryan Berard or Dan Paille about that. All the best to you.
Ralph McKenna, Braintree, Mass.
I’m guessing you’d like full shields or cages for all players, something that definitely would cut down further on the potential for catastrophic injury.
That said, consider how tough it’s been just to get the NHL to the point where the majority of players are wearing visors. There’s virtually no chance we see full shields, not only because of the players’ vanity and/or the perceived competitive advantage of going without eye protection, but also because of the marketing concerns that would come when players’ entire faces are covered up from camera view.
Hi Adam. With what’s going on in the NBA and what almost happened in the NFL with the lockouts, do you think the NHL is paying attention to what is going on and not wanting to get the same thing? Would the brass be more willing to work out some kind of deal where we won’t have another lockout, and fall down the same bottomless pit that the NBA seems to have fallen into?
Jeff Wise, Pensacola, Fla.
You’d best believe the NHL is paying attention. In fact, it’s no coincidence the same law firm (Proskauer Rose LLP) now represents all four major sports (NHL, NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball). That’s something to remember next time you hear a pro-owner media type concoct a sob story about player agents “colluding” amongst themselves to get their clients a better deal.
As for the chances of another lockout, I’ve said before I don’t think the NHL has the stones to be as aggressive as it was toward the players in 2004-05, but after seeing commissioner Gary Bettman’s posture as it pertains to dispute hockey revenue I’m starting to lose some of that optimism.
And make no mistake – with MLB announcing a new collective bargaining agreement and the NFL having avoided missing any of its games this season, another NHL lockout would be outrageous and the strongest indictment yet of Bettman’s reign. The league has grown from a $2.1-billion operation to a $3-billion business over the life of the current labor deal, meaning that anybody who tells you the NHL’s business model is somehow broken is deluding themselves. If the owners are demanding further concessions, that speaks to their greed and inability to control their free agent spending, not anything the players or NHLPA have done.
Hi Adam, while watching the Hockey Hall Of Fame induction ceremony this week, I wondered why no women were inducted this year. Could you help me out here because I really don’t understand. Thanks.
Arnaud Hudon-Turgeon, Montreal
The answer is simple: when the HHOF announced they would be inducting women into the players’ wing, they were careful to specify two things: first, there was no guarantee a female player would be inducted every year; and second, when a woman was inducted, that wouldn’t stop as many as four male players from being welcomed as honored members.