A quick reminder – after Friday, the mailbag feature will be on holiday hiatus for a week. I’ll be back a week after that. Thanks in advance for your co-operation in this matter, etc. etc. and more of the same.
Do you think there will ever be a steroid investigation in the NHL? I know Don Cherry thinks it’s ridiculous, but I don't think so. I can see a lot of bottom-end players taking steroids to get to the next level. There are also a couple of NHLers who are past their prime playing pretty good hockey right now.
Todd B., Ottawa
The only way the NHL will ever commission a steroid investigation is if Martin St-Louis shows up on the cover of Iron Man Magazine next fall looking like a heyday-era Lou Ferrigno and pointing to a needle jutting out of his forearm. Even then, I’d bet the league would chalk it up to an isolated incident and all but forget about it.
Most people I speak with in the industry about ‘roids feel similar to Cherry, insofar as the bulk the drug normally provides users just wouldn’t help most NHLers become better players. But I believe there are more guys juicing – either to get bigger, or to speed a recovery from an injury – than the league’s testing would reveal.
Goodness knows, the lack of off-season testing for players opens a loophole for them to take advantage of.
I am a fairly new hockey fan and have two basic questions: Firstly, what counts as an assist? I believe that if a player passes the puck to another player on his team, and the second player passes to a third player who shoots and scores, the shooter gets a goal and the two players who passed the puck to him get assists. However, what if this happens – Pittsburgh Penguins power play: Sidney Crosby passes to Mark Recchi, who passes back to Sidney Crosby who shoots and scores. I know Mark would get an assist, but is it possible for Sidney Crosby to get both a goal and an assist on the play? Second question: Please explain the plus/minus stat for players. Thank you very much. I really enjoy The Hockey News and am fortunate to get the games on Versus. I especially like the NHL highlights in your daily email. Thank you,
Chuck Ballenger, Oklahoma City
Thanks for the niceties. I always enjoy hearing from people new to the game.
Straight out of the NHL’s official rulebook, here’s how assists are awarded:
“An assist is awarded to the player or players (maximum two) who touches the puck prior to the goal-scorer, provided no defender plays or touches the puck in between.”
Under your Crosby-to-Recchi-back-to-Crosby scenario – which would be one mother of a feat now that Recchi has moved on to Atlanta – Sid the Kid could not get an assist on the goal he scored.
As for your second question: When a team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal, all players (except for goalies) on the ice for that team receive a “plus” in the plus/minus category. When a team is scored upon in the same scenarios, all of its players on the ice receive a minus. The plus/minus total represents the amount of pluses less the amount of minuses.
I admit right at the start that I'm not asking Adam a question, but offering a comment on the subject of turning people into hockey fans. The answer: Get to their kids/grandkids. At age 55 I had little interest in any sport and was barely aware of the NHL. Then my nine-year old grandson started playing youth hockey. Although he's 23 now and plays only the rare pickup game, I am a diehard, devoted fan, with season tickets to our local ECHL team, and the TV mostly tuned on NHL channel (or Versus, or Fox Sports when the Sharks are on). The other answer is to drag them to some games, and if they don't see the light after three or four matches, they never will.
Dick Estel, Fresno, Calif.
Appreciate the suggestions. I agree, the younger they are when you try and convert them, the better chance of success you’ll have.
If it worked for the smoking industry, the Teletubbies and Hannah Montana – side note: Did anyone ever imagine Billy Ray Cyrus’ kid would rake in more money than him? – it can work for hockey, too.
Do you think there is any chance J-P Dumont will stay in Nashville? Thank you for your time.
It’s possible Dumont will stay a Predator after he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, but it isn’t a certainty. The 29-year-old will earn $2.5 million this year, which is somewhat of a bargain given the fact he’s on pace to approach the 20-goal plateau for the third straight season.
Ergo, he’s due for a raise, and Nashville’s new ownership will face one of its first real tests in trying to retain his services. Like all potential UFAs who aren’t signed to a contract extension prior to the trade deadline, he could be swap shop material, especially if the Preds are on the periphery of the playoff race.
Do you think the Rangers are going to make any big trades? I say moving Marek Malik for a prospect is a great idea. The rest of the team seems to be coming together well; I'm just afraid of history and watching the Rangers trade away the future (not Malik) for some old used-up talent.
Sean Michota, Rutherford, N.J.
Big trades for the Rangers? I doubt it, unless Jaromir Jagr demands to be reunited with Michael Nylander in Washington sometime soon.
The Blueshirts do have a lot of expiring deals this summer, including those of Jagr (if he doesn’t reach some performance-related contractual clauses, and it doesn’t appear he will), Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Sean Avery and Malik. And let’s not forget, soon-to-be restricted free agent Henrik Lundqvist still has to back up his own personal Brinks’ truck and name his price to continue as the Rangers’ savior.
I’d expect GM Glen Sather to get maybe one or two of his UFAs re-signed before the season ends, but not all of them. That’s not to say those who aren’t signed will be dealt, but it does mean Sather has to be careful about making major moves before he’s got a good idea of where his payroll will be in 2008-09.
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