Gary Roberts skates against the Detroit Red Wings during the Stanley Cup final. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
A hockey writer can’t go on a week’s vacation in late June anymore without tons of news breaking.
But before we deal with some of the stories I missed whilst away, let’s address what apparently was of great importance to readers: My list of the five best and five worst hockey-related movies ever made.
Rarely have I received more email correspondence wondering – sometimes politely, sometimes not so much – when and where it was that I’d lost a significant amount of marbles to make me exclude either Mystery, Alaska or The Rocket from the list of best hockey films.
For the record, it’s not that I hated either of those movies. In fact, there were aspects of both I enjoyed quite a bit.
But here’s my favorite part of that particular list – it’s my list. Therefore, I get to rate ‘em however I want! (For more on this philosophy, click here.)
• Now, let’s talk about the team that has made the biggest post-Cup splash on a variety of fronts: the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Under new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the Bolts have been making all kinds of headlines. They fired ex-coach John Tortorella and replaced him with longtime TV talking head Barry Melrose; they selected Steven Stamkos first overall in the entry draft; in an extremely classy move, they also drafted David Carle, a youngster whose hockey career was prematurely ended by a just-discovered heart condition; this past weekend, they acquired and signed forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from Pittsburgh; and they acquired the Wild’s Brian Rolston in the hope of getting his name on a deal as well.
That’s what I call a lasting first impression. It may not mean much if the Lightning can’t find at least two additional above-average defensemen, but it’s undoubtedly a way to show the organization’s fans they mean business.
• The Maple Leafs have been one of the busier teams so far this off-season, clearing out deadwood like Andrew Raycroft, Kyle Wellwood and Darcy Tucker from the roster in favor of players who appear to represent the type of long-term rebuild the franchise has so desperately needed for too long.
Now, GM Cliff Fletcher has turned his focus toward convincing Bryan McCabe to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal out of Toronto.
While I’m all for NHLers standing up for themselves and fighting for a clause they negotiated in good faith, McCabe’s reticence to leave a franchise that’s obviously rebuilding has to make you wonder about his competitive nature.
Besides, does he really think that, by sticking to his guns and staying a Leaf for the rest of his contract, the questions asked of him and animosity toward him and his albatross of a contract will somehow fade away?
I doubt it, and that’s part of the reason why I suspect we’ll eventually see McCabe relent and agree to be moved.
• Last, but certainly not least – Rest In Peace, George Carlin. This writer will miss you dearly.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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