A hockey writer can’t go on a week’s vacation in late June anymore without tons of news breaking.
But before we deal with some of the stories I missed whilst away, let’s address what apparently was of great importance to readers: My list of the five best and five worst hockey-related movies ever made.
Rarely have I received more email correspondence wondering – sometimes politely, sometimes not so much – when and where it was that I’d lost a significant amount of marbles to make me exclude either Mystery, Alaska or The Rocket from the list of best hockey films.
For the record, it’s not that I hated either of those movies. In fact, there were aspects of both I enjoyed quite a bit.
But here’s my favorite part of that particular list – it’s my list. Therefore, I get to rate ‘em however I want! (For more on this philosophy, click here.)
• Now, let’s talk about the team that has made the biggest post-Cup splash on a variety of fronts: the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Under new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the Bolts have been making all kinds of headlines. They fired ex-coach John Tortorella and replaced him with longtime TV talking head Barry Melrose; they selected Steven Stamkos first overall in the entry draft; in an extremely classy move, they also drafted David Carle, a youngster whose hockey career was prematurely ended by a just-discovered heart condition; this past weekend, they acquired and signed forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from Pittsburgh; and they acquired the Wild’s Brian Rolston in the hope of getting his name on a deal as well.
That’s what I call a lasting first impression. It may not mean much if the Lightning can’t find at least two additional above-average defensemen, but it’s undoubtedly a way to show the organization’s fans they mean business.
• The Maple Leafs have been one of the busier teams so far this off-season, clearing out deadwood like Andrew Raycroft, Kyle Wellwood and Darcy Tucker from the roster in favor of players who appear to represent the type of long-term rebuild the franchise has so desperately needed for too long.
Now, GM Cliff Fletcher has turned his focus toward convincing Bryan McCabe to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal out of Toronto.
While I’m all for NHLers standing up for themselves and fighting for a clause they negotiated in good faith, McCabe’s reticence to leave a franchise that’s obviously rebuilding has to make you wonder about his competitive nature.
Besides, does he really think that, by sticking to his guns and staying a Leaf for the rest of his contract, the questions asked of him and animosity toward him and his albatross of a contract will somehow fade away?
I doubt it, and that’s part of the reason why I suspect we’ll eventually see McCabe relent and agree to be moved.
• Last, but certainly not least – Rest In Peace, George Carlin. This writer will miss you dearly.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News’ online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, 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.