Columnist Adam Proteau examines a trio of topics, including the ongoing fallout from Steven Stamkos’ social media adventures, Martin Brodeur potentially joining the Canadiens, and the inexperience of Anaheim’s young goalies.
On the first weekend in September, here are a few medium-sized hockey thoughts for your consideration:
• Lightning star Steven Stamkos addressed the media in Tampa Bay Thursday and talked in greater detail about his adventures on social media this summer. Stamkos said he mistakenly pressed the favorite button on a Tweet from THN’s account linking to my story on him potentially coming to his hometown Maple Leafs when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2016.
“You press the favorite button by accident and an hour later Twitter blew up,” Stamkos said. “But you live and learn and I’ll be more careful on the favorite button the next time around.
Sounds reasonable, right? Who among us hasn’t made a similar slip? And here’s the thing – if it was only one tweet, I’d be inclined to take Stamkos at face value. But Stamkos didn’t just favor one tweet. He subsequently favorited a second tweet linking him to the Leafs.
Now, one mistaken favorite, I understand. Two? And both just happen to be about the same topic? Sorry, but I’ve yet to hear a satisfactory explanation of how that happened.
As I said in the initial story and in a follow-up post, there’s every possibility Stamkos returns to Tampa Bay. A lot can happen in a couple of seasons. However, he’s been very careful not to categorically state he’ll sign an extension with the Lightning. And until he does, the inconsistencies of his actions and explanations for them, combined with the whispers in the hockey world he is interested in coming home, will keep people watching him with a keen eye.
• So Martin Brodeur wants to play in Montreal, does he? I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Some teams might still see Brodeur’s stellar pedigree and status as arguably the greatest goalie ever as reasons to bring him in, but I think for the sake of the Canadiens and Brodeur himself, this is an idea best left to our imaginations.
We all know the Habs are Carey Price’s team, and that, if Price is healthy all season, the most Brodeur could hope for is 20-25 regular season games and a nice spot on the bench for the playoffs. But what about the worst-case scenario? What if Montreal had to lean on Brodeur for a long stretch of time, and he looked every bit as ready-for-retirement as he has for the last few seasons? What an ugly end to a Hall of Fame career that would be.
Sometimes a risk-reward reveals too much risk and not enough reward. I think that would be true for Brodeur in Montreal.
• Speaking of worst-case goaltending scenarios, is anyone a little troubled that the Anaheim Ducks – the best team in the Western Conference last season and a bona fide Stanley Cup frontrunner – are giving their goaltending reins to two players (sophomore Frederik Andersen and rookie John Gibson) who have a combined 31 regular-season games and 11 playoff games of NHL experience?
I know both players are highly-regarded, and I also know Ducks GM Bob Murray signed veteran hand Jason LaBarbera as insurance, but young goalies can struggle with consistency, and this is a squad whose best players are older players, meaning they need to win sooner than later. So don’t be surprised to see Anaheim investigate other netminding options as the season progresses. They’ve got more than enough salary cap space ($10.1 million) with which to make a big move if need be.