Vacation time is over, and the first order of duty is to clean out the backlog of questions you’ve sent in over the holiday break. As always, you can send your questions to me HERE, and I’ll do my darndest to answer them here.
What’s all this about the Leafs being sold to a Russian billionaire? I’ve heard varying reports about the validity of the rumor; what’s your take?
Jason Miller, Halifax, N.S.
Count me as a skeptic. What with Larry Tannenbaum’s right of first refusal on any sale of the majority of the team, as well as the delight the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund takes raking in hundreds of millions, it’s difficult to see any Maple Leafs sale taking place soon.
But even if it did take place, would you really want an owner who counts Tie Domi as a hockey consultant? Talk about your mixed blessings. That’s like scoring a ticket to a party at the Playboy Mansion; only to arrive and discover it’s the night they honor the custodians and their families with a balloon party.
How do coaches do it. You have all these elite players that are ripping up the NHL. How do coaches tell the players of this caliber what to do. Like a player like Sakic. He has been there for so many years. He knows the game just as well, if not better then them all. How do you tell him what to do.
Trevor Abraham, Geraldton, Ont.
First of all, my condolences regarding the question mark key on your keyboard.
As for Sakic, I don’t think there’s very much Avs coach Joel Quenneville has to tell his captain, other than the system he wants to employ during games.
Given the respect accumulated by Sakic over his career, most smart hockey coaches know to cut the future Hall of Famer as much slack as he requires. To do otherwise would be to take your job in your hands.
It seems that the NHL is afraid to put a second or third team into the Southern Ontario area, even though the population and interest would clearly support new additions. The experience that Jim Balsillie went through, as reported in the news, ended with another owner accepting an offer that totaled $20 million less than was offered by Balsillie for the Nashville Predators. This doesn't make sense. What did the NHL offer Craig Leipold to pass on the offer? And a second question...why doesn't the NHL want a second or third team in Southern Ontario? Obviously it comes down to dollars, but what are the major factors? Television rights? The Buffalo Sabres? Merchandising? Thanks.
Shrey B. Hansen, Toronto
Did you catch Thursday’s announcement of the sale of the Minnesota Wild to Leipold? There’s your answer to the first question. Any competent businessman would’ve pitched a fit at taking less money for his investment than he could get on the open market – unless there was a catch. A sweet, more lucrative catch. And dining out on the bottomless pit of passion Minnesotans have for hockey certainly qualifies.
Why doesn’t the league want another team in Southern Ontario? Three words: Toronto. Maple. Leafs. That’s the organization that has the most to lose – in terms of image, fan interest, merchandising, and TV money – if another team was around to contrast the woeful Leafs.
The Sabres probably wouldn’t be thrilled to see another team in their region, but make no mistake – the Leafs are the most interested party in maintaining a stranglehold on the most committed hockey fans on the planet. Should they lose it, they’d have to, you know, back up their boasts with a Stanley Cup every decade or so. Perish the thought!
I got your book, The Top 60 Since 1967, for Christmas. Good book, and I'm sure it was tough to narrow it down to just 60 players. I am, however, dumbfounded that Theoren Fleury is not included in this list. His statistics exceed many of the players you've selected in terms of goals, assists, games played and Stanley Cup wins. He was also the heart and soul of the Calgary Flames for many years and perhaps the best Flames player ever. Theo's off ice problems seem to have clouded the media's perspective to the point of blackballing the guy from inclusion in lists of great players. He deserves some recognition. Thanks,
Steve Laurie, Calgary
Thanks for picking up the book. There’s no doubt Fleury was a superstar in his heyday, a multifaceted player who, despite his size, could intimidate through both his offensive skills as well as sheer willpower.
Yes, he was a point-per-game player, but there were more than a few of those types (including Toronto’s Mats Sundin) who didn’t make the cut for our book. However, Fleury’s off-ice problems absolutely affected him and his teammates during the latter stage of his career, and that has to play a role in deciding his ultimate legacy as an NHLer.
And best Flame ever? I’m sure fans of Jarome Iginla will have something to say about that.
During overtime in the Winter Classic, the Pittsburgh coach got really upset because he had to kill the penalty with a long change. What does long change mean? And why did the defensemen and forwards have to switch sides when the goalies swapped ends?
Cassidy Liu, Toronto
A long change happens when a period change shifts a team’s bench to the far end of the defensive zone. Once that happens, its defensemen have to skate farther to get off the ice and bring out a set of fresh legs.
The defensemen and forwards always switch sides on their benches when goalies move to the other end of the ice, because you always want your blueliners coming over the boards closer to your goalie, and your forwards closer to the opposition’s goalie.
Do you think Tampa Bay should sign Curtis Joseph to a short-term deal, and why?
Jordan Philbert, Sherbrooke, Que.
No, because as presently constructed, the Lightning wouldn’t be a Stanley Cup contender if they brought Cujo aboard. Despite protests to the contrary from diehard Bolts fans, this team is going nowhere fast, much like last season’s Flyers and this season’s Maple Leafs.
And put yourself in Cujo’s pads – if you’re a veteran netminder in the twilight of your career still searching for your first NHL championship, do you align yourself with a team whose coach isn’t renowned as the most goalie-friendly guy in the league? Not a chance. Joseph has got no choice but to serve as a backup on a genuine contender.
Ask Adam appears Tuesdays and Fridays only on The Hockey News.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.