Steven Stamkos watches his teammates on the ice against HC Slovan. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
The mailbag doth returneth to Fridays. If thee wish to question me, please doeth so by going HERE. And remember, if your inquiry fails to appear here, check THN’s magazine – you might see your name and question on real paper product.
With the Canadian Football League moving to automatically suspend players for putting an unnecessary risk of injury on another player, it is a clear sign the tolerance for violence in pro sports is shifting.
If even football can make moves to increase player safety – without the players’ consent I might add – when does the NHL adopt a similar rule? My guess would be in about 50 years, but we can always hope...
Scott Carpenter, Riverview, N.B.
Yes, we certainly can hope.
How utterly bizarre, though, that a violent sport such as football actually demands a modicum of sportsmanship and respect from their athletes.
Don’t they understand their superstars will be besieged by cheap-shot artists bent on committing dastardly acts they know will go unpunished? And that thousands upon thousands of fans will stop watching the games if they take fighting away?
Why, it’s almost as if the CFL treats their players like rational adults and not self-indulgent, retribution-obsessed, man-children. The nerve!
Is it possible Steven Stamkos, who had expressed his willingness to be drafted by the Leafs, could be signed to an offer sheet in three years?
They'll be done rebuilding, have cap space with a lot of entry-level contracts and would definitely love to have him. They likely won't mind giving up the draft picks for him, either.
Justin Gilfoyle, Petrolia, Ont.
Just so you know, that sound you’re hearing is the sound of thousands of non-Leafs fans having a good belly laugh at your expense. You’re right, I’m sure the Leafs won’t mind surrendering a few measly picks for Stamkos; however, I’m just as sure the Tampa Bay Lightning’s fans, ownership, management and players would mind just a smidge.
Wow, they actually pay you to write about hockey?
Carl Flintoff, Ottawa
Yes, they do. And since you’re so dignified and insightful, I’ll tell you the secret of how I landed the gig: I bombarded the staff with mindless, one-line putdowns in question form until they knocked on my door and begged me to sign a contract. Which means you’re well on your way to sports-typing glory, my friend!
You so-and-so, I want to such-and-such to you for this-and-that.
Now that I've got my hate out, I would like to respectfully disagree with your prediction about my beloved Canucks. A not-widely-known fact is that with eight games to go, the Canucks were playing the Wild and the winner got first place in the Northwest.
My point is, the Canucks were better than their final standing indicates if they were playing for the third seed with eight games to go, and their top six defensemen played an average of 53 games over the entire season.
This team won't win the Stanley Cup and I don't think GM Mike Gillis has improved the team, but it is also not much different than the team that won the Northwest two years ago. If (a big if) our ‘D’ stays healthy and Roberto Luongo looks more like the 2006-07 Luongo than the April ’08 Luongo (not a big if), we will have an outside shot at third.
Do you have an argument for why the Canucks are 14th? Tenth, I can see, but Luongo and our ‘D’ don't deserve 14th. Feel free to edit this (at your leisure) to make me sound smarter than I am.
Josh P., Burnaby, B.C.
Right back at ya, you @%!#&.
I can see why you’d take umbrage with my assessment of the Canucks. In my defense, I’ll note that only nine points in the standings separated Vancouver’s 11th-place finish from St. Louis’ 14th-place result. To me, the concept of second-last sounds like more of a slight than it actually is.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say the Canucks’ defense stays healthy all year and that Luongo is in peak form. Where in the name of Stan Smyl and Tony Tanti are the goals coming from? From soon-to-be-34-year-old Pavol Demitra? From twice-traded Steve Bernier? From Kyle Wellwahahahaha (note, this should say ‘Wellwood’ but I can’t even bring myself to type it without laughing)? C’mon now.
Let’s face it – the league’s eighth-worst offense last season looks like it got worse. And if you pull out a best-case scenario for the opposite result happening, that means you’re hoping for best-case scenarios at forward, on defense and in goal. I just don’t see all those things coming to pass; and in the super-competitive Northwest Division, that very easily could spell disaster for Vancouver. And 14th place.
Is Alexander Radulov going to be playing in the NHL this year? Who is going to be on Sidney Crosby's wing? Ruslan Fedotenko? Pascal Dupuis? Is Steve Bernier going to be on the wing with the Sedins? Is Mike Smith going to be the starting goalie for the Bolts?
Daniel Lacey, Toronto
I doubt it. I don’t know. I said, I don’t know! Why do you keep pressing me on this topic? I’d bet he will get a shot with the Swedes at some point in the season. And yes.
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