As I prepare for a week off the grid, I have a single overriding hope: that the NHL makes it through the next seven-to-10 days without either another ugly instance of on-ice blows to player melons or league brass’ bungling that traditionally follows such incidents.
One can hope, can’t one? If not, then one is going to move on and get to your questions. (And remember, though I won’t be around next week, other members of the THN gang will be happy to address your inquiries.)
Adam, which teams currently near the bottom of each conference do you believe will be successful next season?
Alex Foote, Toronto
This topic has become a semi-regular thing for me, but we’ll do an abbreviated version this year.
In the Eastern Conference, I think it’s clear that, after a dreadful start and some major injuries, the Carolina Hurricanes are much better than their current spot in the standings suggests. Once they add a top young player in the draft this summer, they’ll most assuredly challenge for a playoff spot.
As well, I think Toronto has a fair-to-good shot at being in the playoff hunt next year; they too had an abysmal beginning to the season, but since then, they’ve scratched and clawed their way to semi-respectability and should have better results in 2010-11.
In the West, I’m going to reserve judgment on the Edmonton Oilers until their brass makes expected significant off-season alterations to their roster. Same with Anaheim and Dallas, who both have a few notable forks in the road to navigate come summer.
But I’ll harbor a guess and say Columbus should be better as well. If you take their miserable December output (2-9-5) out of the equation, they’ve essentially played at a .500 clip the rest of the year.
Adam: Please, please, please, I beg you, use whatever power or influence you have to get the Columbus Blue Jackets to stop playing AC/DC's ‘For Those About to Rock’ every time the Blue Jackets score. They've been doing it for years and it needs to stop.
The NHL has realized that throwing octopi on the ice when the Red Wings score is a tradition that had clearly run its course; surely the NHL must realize playing that obnoxious song was quaint for a while, but it is a tradition that needs to end. For the sake of hockey fans everywhere, can you get them to stop?
Chris Champion, Lansing, Mich.
If I had any pull in Columbus, don’t you think I could’ve avoided this business last year?
That said, I empathize with you – if not about that particular song, then certainly regarding the tendency some NHL in-game entertainment teams have to lean on the same audio or video time and again.
Here in Toronto, the Air Canada Centre crew long ago snuffed out any remaining appreciation I might’ve held for Stompin’ Tom Connors’ legendary Hockey Song.
Nothing against one of Canada’s cultural touchstones, but I’d like to collect every existing copy of that tune, bundle them up and give them the Superman 2-eternal-crystal-prison treatment. (And don’t even get me started on Cotton-Eye Joe.)
How can you make your voice heard and get the Jackets to change? The same way anything is done in the NHL: either call or write the people responsible, or elbow the team’s best player in the head.
Adam, why does the Norris Trophy for best defenseman usually go to the highest scoring offensive defenseman? Do voters not look at the defensive part of a blueliner’s game or their plus/minus?
Warren Dunford, Leamington, Ont.
I don’t know you can make that argument. Nicklas Lidstrom won six Norris Trophies in the past decade – and while he did so partially because of his offensive abilities, his defense played a large role as well.
Still, I’ve said for some time the league should look at creating a defensive defenseman award (named after Rod Langway, of course) to honor that type of player.
Hi Adam. A lot of Canadian hockey fans are unhappy with the NHL. They figure it is over-expanded and that there should be more Canadian teams. I've always thought Canadian fans should stage a careful boycott of the NHL in order to pressure the league into rationalizing its operation (meaning contraction and relocation).
Without enough Canadian revenue, what else could the league do? Do you think this is a viable idea? Yours,
Richard Beamish, Budapest, Hungary
Talk of an NHL boycott has floated around for years and for various reasons, but there hasn’t been an effective one seen yet.
In fact, there was better organization for the movement to vote Rory Fitzpatrick into the 2007 All-Star Game. So I have trouble believing a boycott can happen either soon or easily.
Adam, why doesn't the NHL follow the Olympics and award three points for a regulation win? I know they don't want to make statistics non-comparable with the past, but they have already done that by awarding three points after a tied regulation game. Why not fix it and make it worth it to try hard to win in regulation?
Benjamin Yeremy, Devon, Alta.
You’re preaching to the choir, my man. Besides, stats show that, in the current season, the removal of the so-called ‘loser point’ would result in an even tighter playoff race.
So if it makes less sense from a business perspective, the present standings system ought to be altered at the end of this season, right?
Not right. As the Coyotes/Balsillie/Predators imbroglio has demonstrated, the NHL’s idea of straight-ahead, good-sense-equals-greater-profit capitalism is peculiar to say the least.
It only makes sense that their rules and governance of the game have their own irrational qualities.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. 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 THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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