How about three goalies as the top NHL MVP candidates this season: New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere and San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov?
No, you say? Because netminders already have their own award, the Vezina, you say?
How about three snipers on non-playoff teams: Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier?
Again, no? Because they can’t be that valuable if their team doesn’t even make the playoffs?
How about three injured guys: Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson and Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg?
No, you say again, because they’ve missed too much time?
Have it your way.
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, it is.
(But if you would just come around to my way of thinking, we could all agree the final three should be Brodeur, Lidstrom and Ovechkin…with young Alex coming out on top, regardless of whether his Capitals make it into the playoffs or not.)
Ain’t Patrick’s Day
No, this isn’t another rant on the Patrick Roy/Jonathan Roy controversy. You’ve probably seen, read and heard enough on that ugly incident already.
Rather, we’re talking about the news Pat Quinn is returning behind the bench to guide Team Canada’s entry at the world under-18 championship in Kazan, Russia, on April 13-23.
Quinn, of course, was at the helm for Canada’s gold medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City – his most recent of nine bench stints for Canada at international events – and he has a lengthy coaching resumé (30-plus years) with NHL stops in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto.
Since his dismissal from the Leafs job a couple years ago, Quinn has focused on his role as part-owner of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. Which makes this task – coaching junior-aged players at an international event – a seemingly perfect marriage for a man of Quinn’s background and pedigree.
But here’s a couple hypotheticals to consider (and I’m considerate enough to include my own responses to my own hypotheticals; you’re welcome): Can Quinn, at 65 years old, effectively communicate with a team of 16- and 17-year-olds? (Who knows…maybe his presence and reputation will be enough.)
And, in his latter years with the Leafs, Quinn gained something of a reputation for relying on his veterans while forgetting about the younger Leafs. What’s he going to do with a team full of kids? (OK, this is basically just the same question as above, approached from a different angle…so, please refer to my previous response.)
And Finally, A Salute
After 33 years covering the game, reporter Neil Stevens recently retired from active duty with the Canadian Press.
If you’ve read a hockey story in a Canadian newspaper at any time since the mid-1970s, there’s a good chance Stevens wrote it. As well, he inspired and served as the mentor for a legion of up-and-coming Canadian sports reporters – probably a lot more than he was aware of, or would admit to. A throwback journalist, you didn’t see Stevens on television delivering quips and “insider” views as multi-(media)-tasking became the norm. Rather, he stuck to his roots – he covered the event, and wrote the story. Period.
Stevens will continue to do some writing for Canadian Press, covering hockey-related sports such as figure skating and lacrosse.
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