Once again, AA readers (a term I hope I haven’t accidentally misappropriated from psychics with alcoholic clients) have outdone themselves with great inquiries for this week’s mailbag.
For the umpteenth time, if you don’t see your question answered here, make sure you pick up the latest copy of The Hockey News magazine and check out the latest edition of The Hockey News Radio Show on XM Satellite Home Radio, Home Ice Channel 204.
Any possibility the Lady Byng Trophy will someday get renamed the Joe Sakic Trophy?
John Wickner, Anaheim, Calif.
I’d say yes – with a significant emphasis on the “someday” section of your question – because any renaming of the Byng would have to be only one part of a complete modern makeover of all the NHL’s awards.
That’s something I think a lot of people would be in favor of, but since it’s been 10 years since Wayne Gretzky has stopped playing and the league still hasn’t named an award after him – an outrage that was underscored by the Mark Messier Leadership Something-Something – it doesn’t appear to be a priority for upper management.
Which is somewhat odd, as the league didn’t stick with tradition when it scrapped great old division names such as Patrick and Smythe. But as we’ll see yet again with a question below about supplementary discipline, expecting linear, rational decisions from the NHL is akin to believing your local cable company is hard at work figuring out ways to shorten your average time on hold when you call in with a problem.
In other words, while such an event is possible in theory, virtually all past experience with the current brain trust rules it out.
Your columns are awesome and Ask Adam’s always good. I would just like to know if the Canucks win the Stanley Cup this year, would Roberto Luongo go and collect it from Gary Bettman?
And how do you like the Canucks’ chances? And one last question: Who, in your opinion, is going to start for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympic Games?
Gary Preteau, Winnipeg, Man.
Always nice to hear from a brother-in-closely-spelled-surnames again.
I can’t imagine the league would be crazy enough to deny the Canucks’ captain his due in hoisting the Cup, so I’m going with “yes” for your first question.
For your second, I’m going with this: I really like the Canucks’ chances against Chicago. As long as Luongo continues to play as he’s currently playing, I think they’re 40/60 to beat Detroit in the Western Conference final and 60/40 to beat Anaheim. And I like any remaining team from the West to at minimum push the Eastern Conference champ’een to seven games.
To complete the trio of Luongocentric questions – when Martin Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s wins record in mid-March, I’d have said the Devils goalie starts for Canada at the Vancouver Games. Since then, I’ve exercised the right to change my mind. How can you not go with the league’s best goalie – especially in front of his hometown crowd?
As a Canucks fan, I enjoyed you getting embarrassed a bit after your pre- and post-season predictions for my beloved team. And if I were the type of guy who enjoys saying I-told-you-so, I would refer you to this mailbag.
In answer to your question there, we got our scoring from our top two third liners, of course! Who didn’t see that coming? (Josh raises hand). Actually, having a healthy ‘D’ was the big difference this year. Yes, we got Mats Sundin, and yes, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows stepped up in a big way, but we also went two months without Luongo and still managed to win the division.
My question is this: With the Sedins playing so well in the playoffs, will the Canucks find a way to keep them around? Enjoy predicting against the Canucks next round!
Josh P., Abbotsford, B.C.
Go ahead, rub it in. I average approximately one sizeable bomb of a prediction each year – and I can’t deny this year’s lack of faith in Vancouver qualifies as a bunker-buster of one.
But I don’t believe I was alone in worrying about how the Canucks would come together under new GM Mike Gillis. And in fairness, I don’t think their organizational depth has been tested to the same degree the injury bug tested it in recent years.
If the Sedins are absolutely intent on remaining together, it seems to me there won’t be too many teams with the available salary cap space to bring both in when they become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Vancouver is one of those few teams – and the deeper the Canucks’ playoff run, the more of an assurance it is that both the team and the players will want to continue their partnership.
Could you please answer my question by finishing this statement: ” If I were Craig Leipold, I would hire ___________ for my GM, because he __________________. I also think ______________ would be a good choice for coach of the Wild, because _____________.”
I enjoyed the video of your trip to Columbus and Podcasts of The Hockey News Radio Show with Mike Ross; keep up the great work. Thanks Adam!
Monica, Northern Minnesota
Thanks back at you for continually coming up with great questions. This one is particularly good because it does some of the writing for me. Using your template:
“If I were Craig Leipold, I would hire Montreal Canadiens director of player recruitment and development Trevor Timmins for my GM, because he, like Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, represents a new wave of barely heralded hockey evaluators with good records of identifying and enhancing NHL-level talent who just need an opportunity.
I also think Guy Carbonneau would be a good choice for head coach of the Wild, because not only do he and Timmins have experience working together, Carbonneau also would allow for a drastically looser (read: more enjoyable to watch and play) offensive structure than Jacques Lemaire, while at the same time demanding reasonable levels of defensive tenacity.”
Donald Brashear was just handed a six-game suspension in the playoffs, that seems a bit long for a play that wasn’t even whistled a penalty by the referees. The league’s decision obviously annoys me as a Caps fan, but even more so as a fan of the NHL…well, former fan.
Why is the league so inconsistent with its disciplinary actions? It’s not players’ reputations – Avery’s Game 5 antics could’ve warranted a suspension from the league, in my opinion, if not just a benching from his club. Why does Mike Cammalleri walk away clean after committing the same exact face-off-punch-to-the-head Daniel Carcillo was suspended for the previous day?
It’s so draining to follow such a backwards league; I’m about to give up. In conclusion, what’s your take on the Brashear suspension and the league’s post-season disciplinary action to date in general?
Thanks, Ken Zinser, D.C.
I share your frustration. My preferred manner of coping with it is to imagine I’ve tumbled down a rabbit hole, into an alternate universe where concepts such as “precedent” and “equal punishment for equal deeds” are unable to penetrate the ears of the locals.
I’ll say about Brashear the same thing I say whenever one of the NHL’s resident goons goes over the line: aren’t these the policemen we so desperately require for the game to function and for tickets to continue to be sold?
I mean, I liked Bad Lieutenant as much as anybody, but when it comes to hockey, I like my policemen to be the ones doing the policing, not the ones in need of it.
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Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers’ question in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every Friday from 3-4 p.m. EST on XM Radio channel 204. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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