Hello. This is a hockey-themed mailbag. Actually, this is the lead-in paragraph to a hockey-themed mailbag. Did you know how difficult it is to write a different lead-in-paragraph to a hockey-themed mailbag after a few years of writing different lead-in-paragraphs to hockey-themed mailbags? Well, it is. Now, your questions.
Adam, a couple of years ago I had a Letter To The Editor published in THN entitled "Right For The Throat" regarding goalies who choose not to wear neck protectors despite their obvious benefits. A few nights ago I saw Dwayne Roloson take a shot very close to his throat in a game against Montreal and sure enough he wasn't wearing a neck guard. Play was stopped for a few minutes, but ‘Rollie’ shook it off and played the rest of the game.
On that same thought, why do so many players wait until after a serious eye injury to wear a visor? Just this week we saw Manny Malhotra's season ended by a puck to the eye. The term "Darwin Award" might sound cruel, but "unfortunate" doesn't do it justice either. Grandfathering in a visor rule will not affect a single player currently in the NHL. Of course, it shouldn't have to be in the rulebook anyway, it should just be common sense. Like I said in my article two years ago, who has to be told to wear a cup?
Steve Dicker, Paradise, Nfld.
Did you catch Douglas Murray’s quote-of-the-year candidate this week? Here’s what he said: “Hockey players are idiots. You have to get hurt first so you know the value of it. That's what we do. I didn't put a visor on until I took a puck in the eye and scratched my cornea. You don't think you need stuff and then you add on as you hurt yourself. It’s plain stupid.”
That essentially says it all for me. In many ways, players are like any other segment of society in that they are unable to understand what the real risks are of any particular problem until they encounter that problem face-to-face.
I really like Malhotra as a person and a player, which makes it all the harder to see him fall victim to a situation that was entirely preventable. Now his own career appears to be in jeopardy and his team and its fans are deprived of a key component for a potentially long Stanley Cup playoff run. Players can tout their libertarian views all they want, but that view only makes them more susceptible to the incredible amount of anguish Malhotra must be feeling these days.
To risk quality of life for some slight perceived advantage - for me that’s not worth it and I suspect deep down, Malhotra may be feeling similarly today. I’d say other players should learn from him, but if players didn’t learn from Bryan Berard a decade ago, I think only true leadership in the NHLPA and from the league office can make visors mandatory and take that alleged advantage away from all NHLers.
Hey Adam, what do you think of the Ducks this year? Think they’re gonna make a run in the playoffs? And what are your thoughts on Ryan Getzlaf being captain, not Teemu Selanne?
Kyle Schaafsma, Englehart, Ont.
I didn’t have Anaheim as a playoff team in my pre-season predictions, but they’ve proven to be a much more resilient team than I thought and GM Bob Murray has made some solid trades to give them a good shot at one of the lower post-season seeds in the Western Conference.
Do I think they’ve got a chance to upset a top seed? Not a great chance, I confess, but if Jonas Hiller can find his game again, stay healthy and get hot the Ducks have a solid enough mix of veterans and youngsters to make it out of the first round.
As for Selanne not being captain: the guy is 40 years old, at the end of his career and, given his Hall of Fame accomplishments, he doesn’t need to wear a ‘C’ to be a leader and have the respect of all Ducks players. Most fans put far more stock in the captaincy than do NHLers.
Hey Adam, I have always wondered how NHL players get paid. Do they get paid every week or every two weeks like a regular job? Or do they get paid up front when the contract is signed?
Harley Briceland, East Berlin, Pa.
Here’s a great blog from NHL player agent (and former THN staffer) Rand Simon that answers your question much more fully than I could. If you need a shorter response, the answer is players are paid every two weeks during the regular season, unless they’ve been given a signing bonus, which is paid - you guessed it - at the time the contract is signed.
Hi Adam, it seems to me the Vancouver Canucks have two logos: one is a stylized ice hockey stick and the other is a jumping whale. Which is the correct one? Sincerely,
Ronald Matzdorff, Berlin
Both Canucks jerseys are ‘correct.’ The jersey featuring the whale is their standard uniform, while the jersey featuring the stick is an alternate uniform used sparingly and/or for special occasions.
Hello, Mr. Proteau. I was wondering what your thoughts are on doing away with helmets in the NHL. I don't remember why they made the players wear them. I just thought it would cut down on the head shots.
Sherry L.C. Purvis, Oceanside, Calif.
Hello, Ms. Purvis. At the risk of sounding dismissive and mean, I don’t think much at all of doing away with helmets. Taken to its logical extreme, the notion that less protection equals more safety would also dictate that having no equipment on would cut down on all injuries. It’s simply untrue.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.
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