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Throwing Filatov to the Wolves

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Adam Proteau is out enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having in Toronto this week, so his comrades have stepped in to answer your mailbag questions.

Let’s get right to it.

The Sudbury Wolves have drafted Nikita Filatov in this year’s CHA import draft, what do you think the chances of him actually playing for the Wolves in the 08-09 season?

Shawn Skiffington, Sudbury, Ont.


I’d put the chances at about 50-50. Columbus has a lot of skilled wingers right now – Rick Nash, Freddy Modin, Kristian Huselius and you can probably pencil in rookie Jakub Voracek as a top-sixer, too.

Assuming all is well, they may want to ease Filatov in to North American hockey by letting him run up some big numbers in Sudbury.

Filatov already speaks excellent English, so there won’t be as much of a culture shock and he’ll be surrounded by talent on the Wolves; Jared Staal, Eric O’Dell and incoming rookie John McFarland are all blue-chip prospects.

On the other hand, if Filatov comes to Blue Jackets camp in the fall and blows the doors off, coach Ken Hitchcock may just have to find a place for him. – Ryan Kennedy

We've seen league revenues increase each year since the lockout, thereby increasing the salary cap. What happens if the league loses money during a year? Does the cap go down? If so, do all players have their salaries rolled back like the first post-lockout year, or do teams cut players loose to fit under the cap?

Andrew Lee, Kingman, Ariz.

Dear Andrew,

In this collective bargaining agreement, the players receive a percentage of league revenues based on how high those revenues are. If the league lost money, the players would have to pay escrow money in order to get in line with their share of revenues.

If the cap goes down, teams simply have to be under the cap in order to play, meaning they would have to trade, release or buy out players in order to meet the salary cap requirements.

There would be no rollback, but the players would have to pay out of the escrow they give to the league every year. By the same token, if revenues are higher than expected, players receive all their escrow back and more to get in line with their percentage of revenues. – Ken Campbell

I have always wondered how the NHL manages to capture the amounts of ice-time during full strength, shorthanded and power play situations for all 40 or so skaters. Minutes played is a very important stat in today's game.

Bob James, Kimberley, Ont.

Hey Bob,

Minutes played is tracked electronically. The NHL employs two people for each game, one to track the home team, one to track the away team.

The game clock is recorded on a laptop. When a player leaves the ice it is a matter of clicking “off” that player’s jersey number and clicking “on” the jersey number of the player entering the ice surface. It works together with the game clock, so if there is a man advantage the program recognizes it.

So, when a player leaves the ice his playing-time clock is “frozen” until he returns. The program also allows full lines to be clicked on and off at once.

Each person assigned to track minutes played has two laptops, one to record time on ice and one to record plus-minus. – Rory Boylen

My son is very interested in writing a letter to his favorite player, but the only address we can find is to the arena. Any idea where we can send it so the player receives it? Any predictions on how the Capitals are going to do this year? They haven’t been very active signing free agents besides Jose Theodore.

John Smith, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hi John,

While I can’t say for sure that every team has the same policy, the ways to go about it if you want to reach a Capital, for instance, is address the letter to the player and send it to the Caps’ practice facility.

Kettler Capitals Iceplex

627 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 850

Arlington, VA 22203

My guess is that approach would work with the majority of NHL teams.

As for the Caps’ fortunes next season, I sure like their chances to win the Southeast Division. You’re right, they haven’t been overly aggressive in terms of free agent signings, but they’re banking on all their young players taking another step forward together.

If Jose Theodore provides consistent puckstopping, there’s no reason Washington can’t go deep into the playoffs.

Thanks for writing in. - Ryan Dixon

What is happening with Antoine Vermette, are the Senators going to sign him, who is waiting for whom?

Guy Girouard, St-Amable, Que.

On July 5, Antoine Vermette was one of 15 NHL players to file for salary arbitration. If the two sides can not come to an agreement beforehand, Vermette and the Ottawa Senators will argue their respective cases in front of an arbitrator on July 31 in Toronto.

Some of the players who could be used as a measuring stick by an arbitrator to determine Vermette’s salary include Calgary’s Matthew Lombardi, Boston’s Chuck Kobasew, Toronto’s Alexander Steen, Florida’s Stephen Weiss, Chicago’s Patrick Sharp and Columbus’ R.J. Umberger.

The two sides will exchange arbitration briefs 48 hours before the hearing and can continue to negotiate right up until the time a decision is rendered, which is supposed to be 48 hours after the hearing concludes. - THN

Kristian Huselius had 66 points last year. So Columbus, a team that has never made the playoffs, gives the guy $4.75 million. Managment keeps saying they’re trying to make the playoffs when they sign a guy who doesn't touch a fly. Huselius has never been called a "superstar" so why is he making that much?

Mike Harland, Kitchener, Ont.

For starters, Kristian Huselius is a very skilled player. You are right in that he is passive, but he can produce points. Did the Blue Jackets overpay to get him? Of course they did. And so did just about every other team that signed unrestricted free agents this summer.

Because most teams locked up their best players to long-term contracts, it created a false market for second-tier players who cashed in big-time. Huselius was among them. That said, the Blue Jackets have never made the playoffs and Huselius brings a proven scoring ability to town.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. – Mike Brophy

Adam will return to answer your questions July 25. Check back next week as THN staffers tackle the mailbag.

Ask Adam appears Fridays in the summer only on The Hockey To send us your question or comment, click HERE.

Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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