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Christmas curses

Tim Thomas has been outstanding for the Bruins this season and was featured on the cover of THN's Dec. 15 issue. (Photo by Brian Babineau/Sports Action Photography)

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Tim Thomas has been outstanding for the Bruins this season and was featured on the cover of THN's Dec. 15 issue. (Photo by Brian Babineau/Sports Action Photography)

Hello again, hockey obsessives. This here’s gonna be the last web mailbag until Jan. 9th, when the THN team will fill in for a week until I return from an extended hibernation. Until then, all the best to you and yours over the holiday season.

Adam,

PRELUDE: If the THN cover curse goes three-for-three, and Tim Thomas hurts his elbow or has a disagreement with his snow blower, Boston hockey fans are gonna be quite mad. They finally have a team to talk about with their "brethren" (who brag unceasingly about the other three sports) and you just exacted the biggest whammy in sports on them.

As a Whalers fan, I thank you!!!!

ACTUAL QUESTION: What is the disposition of goals scored in shootouts? I like to think I'm a knowledgeable hockey fan/player, but I have no clue. Do any of the goals count as individual stats (for or against)? Are game-winning goals credited? Or are all the shootout stats logged as team stats? And since wins and losses are credited/debited to the goalies, wouldn't the awarding of the balance as team stats be inconsistent? Thanks for the info.

Kevin Lynch, Bristol, Conn.


Kevin,

Congrats on taking the Ask Adam question to a new level. Preludes? What’s next, epilogues and forewords?

In terms of the THN curse, it does seem to be in fine form this year, taking out Joe Sakic, Martin Brodeur, Luke Schenn and the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in general. That’s why I continue to lobby for four straight Gary Bettman cover stories. Keep your fingers crossed.

Anyhow, no, shootout stats do not count toward any player’s individual numbers (other than goalie wins and losses, of course). The winning shootout team gets one goal added to its goals-for totals and the losing shootout team gets its goals-against number bumped up by one.

But dude, you’re complaining about inconsistency of logic in the NHL. That’s like bitching about an unattractively muscular 50-year-old woman onstage at a Madonna concert. It’s what they do best!

Hi Adam,

I was reading The Hockey News a couple days ago and saw an article about Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin; it said they were both drafted in 2004, but Ovechkin won the Calder Trophy in ’06 and Malkin won it in ’07. Could you tell me why that is please?

Jack Douketis, Hamilton, Ont.

Jack,

Simple, really. Though Ovechkin and Malkin were selected in the same year, Ovechkin came to the NHL immediately after the 2004-05 lockout season, while Malkin stayed in Russia and played in the elite league there for the 2005-06 campaign.

Hey Adam,

When is The Hockey News getting a replacement senior writer for Mike Brophy? Love your stuff…keep up the amazing work!

Thanks,

Frank McCallam, Sudbury, Ont.


Hey Frank,

We replaced Broph on the back page with Hall of Fame hockey writer Eric Duhatschek a while back; and I’m helping with the lifting now in regards to Broph’s other former duties at the magazine.

That leaves Ken Campbell as our sole senior dude. I mean, Senior Writer. I think he likes it better when you affect a stereotypical Mexican accent and call him Señor Writer.

Dear Adam,

Several players I had high hopes for this season have struggled thus far and I would appreciate your thoughts regarding their potential production for the remainder of the season.

Brent Burns and Jason Pominville have left me frustrated and I'm inching closer to seeking replacements for them. Would I be wise to remain patient or cut my losses? I'm in a one-year league with limited trades (G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG). Thanks.

Mark McAuley, Hastings, New Zealand


Dear Mark,

As I’ve said before, I’m not the guy you should approach for fantasy hockey advice. Maybe you should send this question to our fantasy expert, Darryl Dobbs, where he may address it in his Fantasy Mailbag.

But I don’t mind telling you how I feel about both players and having you take from that what you will.

Burns is like any other player in Jacques Lemaire’s ultra-defensive system: unlikely to get anywhere close to a point-per-game average, no matter how talented he is with the puck.

Were you aware that only two players in franchise history have ever broken the 70-point mark in a single season? And only one – Marian Gaborik, who’ll be leaving town as fast as his Slovakian tootsies can take him, in part, because of Lemaire’s system – has ever reached the 80-point plateau?

That’s why it seems to me you always have to lower your offensive expectations for any member of the Wild.

As for Pominville – like virtually every member of the Sabres, he isn’t having his best season. But he’s still on pace for 63 points this year; considering he’s only 26, I suspect this is just a bad blip on the radar for him.

Hi Adam,

Can you please explain what happens to an NHL team that is close to the salary cap when the cap goes down (I think slightly in 2009-10, but significantly in 2010-11)?

The player contracts are guaranteed. If teams have to trade for cap space, what happens if there aren’t enough buyers?

Bernd Boelte, Hattingen, Germany


Hi Bernd,

If the cap does drop significantly, teams have a few more options than simply dealing players to get under the maximum salary expenditure.

If players are less than 35 years of age, they can be bought out or demoted to the American League – or even decide “on their own” to play in Europe, a la Radim Vrbata in Tampa Bay this season – to reduce a team’s cap hit.

Anytime I’ve talked to somebody at the league about what happens if a team doesn’t get below the cap limit or above the minimum, they shrug their shoulders and laugh it off as a possibility in theory only.

So I think it’s fair to assume teams always will find a way – at least, to curtail their spending excesses. If they can’t reach the salary cap floor, the team and the league have bigger issues to deal with.

Hey Adam,

The NHL's current point system has long been debated, but I've recently discovered a new idea, awarding teams points based on how they win, not on how they lose (as in points for an overtime loss).

Disregarding historical records, but just based on fairness, what do you think of awarding two points for a win, one point for an overtime win and no points for a loss?

Daren Bukator, Fort Erie, Ont.


Daren,

I agree with the underlying principle of your theory, but with all respect to your system, it doesn’t take your logic to its rational extreme.

What I’m saying is, you don’t differentiate between an overtime win and a shootout win. Surely, a shootout win is less of a victory in the traditional hockey sense than a 4-on-4 overtime win, right? So why should we be rewarding shootout specialist teams with the same surge in the standings?

Lucky for you, my system of three points for a regulation time win, two for an overtime win and one for a shootout victory (and none for any kind of loss) addresses all your concerns.

It gives the biggest advantage to teams that win within the first 60 minutes, followed by a smaller bounty for teams that win while playing as a team.

If you need individuals to squeeze out a ‘W’ for you, well, take your one stinking shootout point and work on your team game, you know what I mean?

Ask Adam appears Fridays only on TheHockeyNews.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.

Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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