With Adam away on an undeserved Vegas vacation – how did he get time off anyway? – some members of THN’s editorial staff have stepped up to fill the void and will answer your questions for this edition.
I was wondering about the college eligibility rules. I understand if you play junior hockey you get a stipend and that makes you unable to play in the NCAA, but if you played junior at 16-17 and did not accept the stipend (being that it’s a small amount anyways) could you maintain your eligibility and go to college at 18?
Rob McDonald, Calgary
Rob, the NCAA’s eligibility requirements are actually fairly rigid and you’d be surprised what would make a player ineligible.
For example, even playing a pre-season game for a major junior team is enough to make joining a college team virtually impossible and some prospects, such as Garry Nunn, have been involved in dubious situations with junior teams.
Nunn, who was considering going to the NCAA, allegedly signed a letter of intent to play with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants when he was 15, under the premise the letter would not be sent. Somehow, it did get sent, and Nunn’s chances of going to Minnesota State-Mankato were pretty much done.
That letter of intent would have cost him a full year of eligibility and he hadn’t even stepped on the ice. Once a player plays major junior, he is considered a ‘pro’ by the NCAA and cannot play college hockey in the U.S. – RK
In light of the little break in the schedule leading up to the Conference finals, I thought I would pose an interesting question to you. Who gets in the Hall of Fame in four years? The number of potential future Hall of Famers who might retire this year may cause problems for voters in four years. Right now I’ve heard the following names mentioned for retirement: Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and Jeremy Roenick.
While I think the majority of the players mentioned above will play at least another year, it still begs the question: Who would get in? Personally my picks would be Niedermayer, Hasek, Jagr and Selanne. Selanne beats out Sakic because he’s my favorite player.
Jeremy Encino, Calif.
First of all, the required waiting period is three years so players who retire from professional hockey in 2008 will be first-time eligible in 2011.
You have some interesting names on the list and you’re right, many of the nine will continue to play. Also to be considered for the first time in 2011 is Ed Belfour, who played in Sweden this year; Mats Sundin, who intimated retirement is an option; plus some second-tier stars such as Curtis Joseph, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight and Trevor Linden, should they retire.
But of the nine you mentioned, my top four for the Hall in 2011 would be, in order, Jagr, Hasek, Sakic and Forsberg. Niedermayer and Chelios would be a close fifth and sixth. – BC
Why isn’t Dino Ciccarelli in the Hall of Fame? He has at least 600 goals and 1,200 assists (Editor’s Note: Actually, 608 goals and 592 assists for a total of 1,200 points in 1,208 games) and has played over 1,200 games. Is this a case of being blackballed because of the Luke Richardson situation and other incidents?
Brian Smith, Macedon, N.Y.
I don’t think Ciccarelli’s high-sticking transgression on Richardson – or any incidents like that – have anything to do with the fact Ciccarelli isn’t in the Hall of Fame. While Ciccarelli did rack up impressive stats – he surpassed the 30-goal plateau 11 times, including four 40-goal and two 50-goal campaigns – most of his offensive exploits occurred during the 1980s and early ‘90s when NHL teams took their lead from the explosive Oilers.
Statistics from this era are somewhat inflated: Ciccarelli’s career-best 55 goals in 1981-82 might translate to 40 or 45 today. A very good total, yes, but not necessarily Hall of Fame-worthy. Fact is, not once in his 19 NHL seasons was Ciccarelli named a first- or second-team all-star. He never won an individual award or a Stanley Cup.
He only played in four All-Star Games (not that I’m a big believer that All-Star Game participation means a heck of a lot, but only four appearances in 19 years has to signify something about how he compared to his contemporaries).
Furthermore, several players who were active around the same time as Ciccarelli – and all of whom have more points – also are not shoo-ins for the Hall. Vincent Damphousse, Bernie Nicholls, Pierre Turgeon, Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk – who scored 640 goals, 32 more than Dino – and Adam Oates all collected a lot of points, but face an uphill battle to get inducted.
The Hockey Hall of Fame needs to be reserved for the best of the best, those players who are very, very special and impactful. Ciccarelli had a long and very productive career – and was great on the power play, where he scored 232 of his 608 goals – but he was never recognized as a dominant player of his generation. – SM
When was the last time a team won the Stanley Cup without having a previous Cup winner on its roster?
Gilbert Matthews, San Francisco, Calif.
Gilbert, the experts say previous Cup-winning experience goes a long way in building a champion and history supports that assertion. The last team to win it all without having a Stanley Cup ring owner on its roster was the 1988-89 Calgary Flames.
That club was co-captained by Hall-of-Famer Lanny McDonald and veteran Jim Peplinski. It also featured notable stars (or future stars) such as Joe Nieuwendyk, Al MacInnis, Doug Gilmour, Theoren Fleury, Gary Roberts, Mike Vernon and Joe Mullen. – JK
Do you think a proposal of the Leafs’ No. 7 pick for Jeff Carter would be viable and/or advisable from either side? Also, when did your ilk become American Idol judges? There’s been umpteen “best players in the world” this year. Sidney Crosby won the Pearson, Art Ross, and Hart at 19 years old and was leading the league in scoring before his injury. He now leads the playoffs in points on a one- loss Pens team, the Kid’s in a league of his own.
Greg Wells, St. Catharines, Ont.
First of all, I’m comfortable being any American Idol judge except Paula Abdul. If the video clips I’ve seen are any indication, that woman is a prime candidate to meet an odd, unfortunate ending.
As for your proposed trade, I was all ready to shoot down the idea because the last thing the Leafs need is to squander future building blocks in favor of immediate returns. But there are definitely aspects to this fantasy swap that make some sense.
First of all, No. 7 is a high pick, but it’s definitely not guaranteed-stud territory. From the Flyers perspective, Carter is slotted firmly behind Daniel Briere and Mike Richards on the depth chart. Considering the money they’ve already committed to those two centers, it’s difficult to see where the scratch for Carter, slated to be an RFA this summer, is going to come from. Philly wants to avoid sinking too much of its finances into one position and would probably be better off putting those funds toward improving its blueline.
Carter hasn’t asserted himself the way many thought he would through three NHL seasons, but if the Leafs truly believed getting him to score 35 goals and 85 points is as simple as giving him regular top-six minutes, they’d be awfully tempted to make the trade. Toronto has a dearth of talent up the middle, especially considering its prime middleman of the past 15 years, captain Mats Sundin, is 37 and headed for unrestricted free agency July 1.
I think you might be on to something, Greg. Have you heard the Leafs are looking for a GM? – RD
I have really become a huge Sens fan the past couple of years. I am really looking forward to the free agency season and had a couple of questions. What do you think the chances are that Ottawa will pursue Brian Campbell and would he be interested in going to Ottawa? Even though I really like Martin Gerber and Brian Elliott for goaltending next season, is there any possibility Ottawa could pick up someone better and if so, who?
Sean O’Reilly, Riverview, N.B.
If the Sharks are unable to sign Campbell to a contract extension, it would make sense for the Senators to at least kick the tires to see if he would be interested in joining them.
Of course, there is the issue of the salary cap and with Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson earning big bucks, the Sens might not be able to offer Campbell the big money other teams could.
One thing is certain, with Wade Redden most likely gone, following in the footsteps of Joe Corvo, the Sens have a lack of skill on their blueline that Campbell could address. As for goaltending, it seems most teams are looking for an upgrade between the pipes. My guess is, however, the Sens will be content to start the year with Gerber and Elliott. – MB
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