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Hart attack

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Anybody else looking forward to the amazing Betty White hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend? If she’s not sitting in the first guest chair on “What Up With That?”, and playing ESPN Classic women’s sports at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum, I’ll be intensely displeased.

But I never could be displeased with the caliber of mailbag questions (ssssmoooth ssssegue, huh?).

Thanks as always to everyone who sent in something – except for newcomers to this space who think I’m operating a personal answering service like Zoltar, the fortune telling machine from Big. I am not. Let’s move on:

Hey Adam, everyone keeps saying that the Penguins are going to win another Stanley Cup this year. In my opinion they say that about every team who won the previous year, but I’m curious about your opinion. I’d also like to know who you think will win the great Cup?
Simon Bergeron, St-Omer, Que.

Hey Simon,

My pick this week for the Cup is indeed – and in spite of their Game 4 loss to Montreal – the Penguins. I think they’ll have an easier time making it to the Cup final than any other franchise still playing post-season hockey – and they’ve got too many weapons who can be the difference-maker in any given game.

And you’re right, a certain element of the hockey world is forever hoping and praying for a bona fide dynasty.

Parity and random on-ice bounces make that likelihood very slim for any modern NHL franchise, but if you look at the Pens and see their young, massively-skilled core, you would be dishonest if you didn’t admit they have as good a chance as any to dominate for at least the next half-decade.

Adam, it is said that Philadelphia will be looking for a goalie in the off-season. I have heard they might trade Jeff Carter or Danny Briere and Claude Giroux for Carey Price.

Would any of this make sense to you? Or would it be possible to dump Scott Hartnell's and Danny Briere's contracts to bring in Evgeni Nabokov via unrestricted free agency?
John Mason, Newark, N.J.


The part about the Flyers looking for goaltending certainly makes sense. The part about dealing Carter/Briere and Giroux, not so much.

If Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren divests himself of a young, proven NHL asset such as Carter, it is highly unlikely he’d also surrender an up-and-comer such as Giroux – especially when what he’d be getting back in return is a still-maturing goalie who hasn’t always handled the pressure of Montreal with ease.

If they wanted to get rid of Briere, they would have to add another valuable piece from the Flyers organization to make his contract digestible for the team that would be acquiring him.

But I don’t know that you’d want to give up anything of core importance to acquire a goalie when there will be so many different netminding options available this off-season.

And when it comes to Nabokov, given that he’ll be nearly 35 as of July 1, why would Holmgren want to sign him to a long-term deal? For the sake of Flyers fans, here’s hoping he paid attention to the Nikolai Khabibulin signing by Edmonton and won’t go that route.

Hey Adam, Who do you see accepting the Hart Trophy as league MVP?
Dimitri Perdicaris, Toronto

Hey Dimitri,

As I’ve made clear, I think Sabres goalie Ryan Miller should’ve won.

But despite that injustice – and after talking to a few other writers who voted on the award – I think it will go to either Sidney Crosby or Henrik Sedin (my preference being Crosby).

Yes, I voted for Ovechkin as my Hart runner-up, but I suspect his on-and-off-ice transgressions have hurt him in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association this year.

That may not be fair, but that’s the reality.

Hi, Adam. I enjoy reading your columns, both online and in the actual THN magazine.

My question: I am a Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes fan and after seeing their resurgence this year, do you think 2010-11 will be a season (including playoffs) that the franchise continues to improve? In other words, can this team finally shake the ‘Curse of the Jets’ with respect to not only making the playoffs, but actually winning a round. I think they finally have a proper identity with respect to defensive structure implemented by Dave Tippett (who I think is a coaching genius) and with good, young players who are being nurtured along in the minor leagues and/or Europe (Kyle Turris, Viktor Tikhonov, et al), I think they could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Also, in your opinion, who do you think are the top three NHL coaches from the past 10 seasons? Sincerely,
Martin Schofield, Winnipeg

Hi Martin,

Thanks very much for reading regularly.

The NHL’s league-wide competitiveness just about guarantees there are no guarantees a team will follow up one sterling stretch with another (see the Boston Bruins during the ’09-10 regular season, or the Capitals during these playoffs), so I wouldn’t advise you to bet your life savings on the Yotes next year.

That said, GM Don Maloney has crafted a solid nucleus for the franchise – and they should be back in the mix not only for a playoff spot, but for home ice advantage as well.

My top three coaches from the previous decade? Good, tough question. There haven’t been any repeat winners of the Jack Adams Award the past 10 years – Pat Burns won it twice in the ‘90s – but here’s my opinion:

1. Mike Babcock (One Cup, two Cup final appearances)
2. Barry Trotz (No Cups or even conference final appearances, but look what he’s had to work with…)
3. Lindy Ruff (See the reasoning for Trotz, plus two conference final appearances)

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Ask Adam appears Fridays on Proteau also answers readers' questions in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show 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 His blog appears Mondays, 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.


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