Only two more mailbag columns before we take a one-week hiatus for the Christmas break, so if you’ve got a question that just can’t wait until then, get it in to me soon.
If there were ever such a thing as a perfectly played hockey game, would it have any score?
James Statichuk, Kenora, Ont.
I love this question. It’s like something I used to get in philosophy exams. What’s more, it gets to the heart of one of hockey’s most fundamental problems – the idea, at least among NHL coaches, that a high-scoring game equals a sloppy, mistake-filled game.
That’s an attitude that has to change, and after my interview with NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly Thursday – read more about it here – I think that’s an attitude that will be targeted to a much greater degree in the coming years.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with a 1-0 or 2-1 game in my mind, so long as the quality scoring chances number in the dozens. But the hyper-coaching of the sport does nothing but make the game less exciting for everyone but the most hardcore fans.
Here where I live everyone is crazy about college basketball: Especially the Kentucky Wildcats.
My son and I watch every Bruins game. We have the NHL Center Ice package through our cable TV provider. My family and friends think that we’re crazy for watching hockey over basketball or football. How can I get my family and friends interested in the game of hockey?
David Blakeman, Nicholasville, KY
As an NBA devotee and someone who only gets interested in college basketball when it’s time to pick my March Madness pool, I can assure you and your son that everyone else in your circle are the ones who should be fitted for straightjackets.
Converting them into NHL fans, however, is a tough road to hoe. Personally, I’d tie them to chairs, make them watch old tapes of the 1970s-era Montreal Canadiens and 1980s-era Edmonton Oilers, and throw in the occasional hack to the shins with a hockey stick if they refuse to come around.
I jest, of course. The reality is, most people need to grow up with a sport to appreciate it on a diehard level, and those who don’t appreciate it likely won’t ever appreciate it. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. They may very well thank you for your persistence one day.
First of all, I love reading the mailbag. It’s by far my favorite part of The Hockey News website.
I consider myself a very knowledgeable fan of the NHL, but there is still something I need to know. How is it decided which NHL team gets the first chance to select a player off waivers?
Cameron Paul, Winnipeg
Thanks for the kindness. Glad you enjoy this corner of the site.
The team that gets first crack at any player on the waiver wire is the team that possesses the worst record in the NHL at the time. The choice then continues in reverse order of the league’s standings, meaning the first-place franchise has the last opportunity to claim the waived player.
Since there was a recent blog item on THN.com about whether Nicklas Lidstrom is the second-greatest defenseman ever, where would you say Chris Chelios ranks among the all-time greatest defensemen?
Chris H., Bangor, Maine
I also love this question, because it provides me with the chance to make my publisher happy by promoting the book I wrote with Ken Campbell, The Top 60 Since 1967: The Best Players of the Post-Expansion Era.
In that book, a panel of experts voted and ranked Chelios the 32nd best NHLer since 1967. He finished behind fellow blueliners Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Lidstrom, Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey, Larry Robinson, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis.
I’m sure you could make an argument Chelios deserves a higher rank, but personally, I wouldn’t (and didn’t) rank him ahead of any of those superstars. That’s not to be construed as a negative comment on his abilities, but when you get to that level of the NHL’s all-time upper echelon, you’ve got to be damn near perfect to be right at the top.
Ask Adam appears Tuesdays and Fridays only on The Hockey News.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.