Hmmmmnnn…the first round of the NHL’s post-season has just gotten underway, but most of your questions are of the non-playoff variety. To each their own, I suppose.
Why do players always argue calls? The refs aren’t going to say, “Oh whoops, I made a mistake, no penalty.” The only thing that might happen is they will also get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
You’re preaching to the converted.
I understand it’s not as if NHLers are the only pro athletes who’ll tell officials with a straight face they’re as pure as Hannah Montana, then proceed to get all Courtney Love-ish when the zebras’ backs are turned.
But, like you, I’m well past the point of weariness every time I see a player scowling and telegraphing a few choice curse words so everyone in the arena and at home knows how utterly wronged he was.
And yes, I also understand the players believe that, by complaining, they might affect which team gets the next penalty after theirs. Still, as you saw in Thursday’s Flames-Sharks game – featuring six consecutive penalties to Calgary in the second period – bitching and moaning shouldn’t be and isn’t really a factor whatsoever.
As Roberto Luongo so elegantly put it, “the season ended on Thursday for me,” so I’m getting a head start on fantasizing about draft day dealings.
What do you think of my whimsical fantasy? Kevin Bieksa, Luc Bourdon, the Canucks’ 10th-overall pick and a third round pick for the Lightning’s first-overall pick, Paul Ranger and Ryan Craig? It shores up Tampa’s defense now and in the future, finally; and gives them a good pick in a good draft. As for Vancouver, they get to finally draft a quality prospect at center for the first time since Trevor Linden 20 years ago, a capable fill in for the loss of defensive depth and some depth at forward in local boy Ryan Craig.
Intriguing proposal. However, Bolts GM Jay Feaster has spoken publicly about his team’s need to replace some of the offense that departed with Brad Richards, so I would guess the Canucks would have to add some scoring power to the package going Tampa’s way. Throw Daniel or Henrik Sedin into that mix, and Feaster might very well be interested.
And that brings me to something that’s bounced around my head for a while now: I realize it borders on sacrilege in Vancouver to even suggest splitting up the Sedin Twins, but really, considering the state the Canucks are in, should any player or specific combination of players be off the trade table? I say no.
Back to ask about the draft again now that the lottery is over. I’m excited about the playoffs, but as a Kings fan, I’ve been looking to next season since December.
With the Kings winning the second-overall pick and needing to rebuild their defensive core, it stands to reason Dean Lombardi will take Drew Doughty. My question for you is: When do you think Doughty will have an impact on whatever team drafts him?
I know defensemen generally take more time to adapt to the NHL level of play, but do you think there’s a chance he could crack the Kings’ lineup next season and have an impact? Thanks!
Rory Weden, La Crescenta, Calif.
First of all, I wouldn’t be so sure Lombardi and the Kings (sounds like an Italian jazz band, if there is such a thing) are taking Doughty, as Peterborough Petes blueliner Zach Bogosian is making a late charge up the draft rankings. Either way, though, you’re right in thinking it’s likely L.A. will take a defenseman in the No. 2 spot.
You’re also right in thinking it takes longer for guys playing that position to develop, but you need look no further than Erik Johnson in St. Louis to see that Bogosian or Doughty could make an NHL roster as quickly as the second year after they’re drafted. Every case is different, of course, but there’s no arguing this is a younger man’s game now.
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