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Pace yourself

Jeff Carter is on pace for 53 goals this season. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Jeff Carter is on pace for 53 goals this season. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

By the time you read this, I’ll be in beautiful Montreal, doing sportswriter stretches (hint: they start and end with a bent elbow and a pint or 10 of beer) and preparing for Sunday’s “big” NHL All-Star Game.

It wouldn’t be another intriguing and occasionally terrifying mailbag without your contributions, so thanks once again.

Adam, thanks for the fun-to-read mailbag and mixing sly remarks with interesting answers. As a lifelong Flyers fan I was wondering, what do you think the odds are that Jeff Carter will win the Rocket Richard Trophy? (Turn off your reverse-jinx before answering.)

Did anyone expect him to be leading the league in goals scored for so much of the season so far? With him and Mike Richards, it makes for a pretty good first round draft class for Bob Clarke in 2003 (or was it Paul Holmgren who was behind those choices, too?).

Dave M., Paris, France


Dave,

It’s safe to say nobody projected Carter to be at or near the top of the league’s goal-scoring leaders this season. And it’s just about impossible for me to bet against my favorite player (he wears No. 8 for Washington) in the race for the Rocket Richard. Honestly, I think it’s Alex Ovechkin’s award to lose, at least until Ilya Kovalchuk gets out of Atlanta.

You’re right, that was a pretty healthy crop of prospects Philly had that year. They also picked Alexandre Picard, now playing fairly well on defense for the Ottawa Senators. Credit for those selections definitely deserve be given to Clarke, although Holmgren (assistant GM at the time) and Philadelphia’s scouting staff should get a shout-out or two, too.

Hi Adam, your columns are always great. Thanks for writing.

I have been hearing a lot of talk about removing the instigator rule. Can you explain this rule and why removing it would be a good or bad idea? Thanks!

Jeff, New Jersey


Jeff,

I answered a different version of this question about a year ago. Mostly, the instigator was put in place in the early 1990s to curb the proliferation of goon-like behavior common to the ‘70s and ‘80s-era NHL.

Many players today are frustrated with the rule, because they believe they ought to be the ones laying down the law on the ice. However, if the league had responsible owners and a commissioner with any inclination to truly and properly police the game as every other reputable pro sports collective does, NHLers would have no choice but to adapt.

I’m afraid those who buy into the “no instigator = a safer league” line of thinking aren’t seeing the forest for the trees on this issue. Probably because their vision capabilities have been blurred thanks to repeated encounters with knuckle sandwiches.

Adam, my friends and I were discussing the Andrej Meszaros/Filip Kuba trade from this past summer and we realized that a first round pick was sent to Ottawa for Meszaros. Does that mean Ottawa (ignoring their own performance and pick this season) has good odds at having the No. 1 or No. 2 pick?

Thanks. Great job with the mailbag.

Mina M, Oakville, Ont.


Mina,

Thanks right back at you. Unfortunately (if you’re a Senators fan), the pick Ottawa acquired in the Meszaros transaction is the San Jose Sharks’ pick the Lightning received as part of the Dan Boyle/Matt Carle deal.

That means it’s almost a certainty Ottawa will have a pick at the top of the first round, and also at the bottom.

Hey Adam, I really like your articles. Keep up the great work.

Last week, you answered a question about how the Calgary Flames need a first line center. Now here's where my concern as a Rangers fan kicks in: Do you think the Flames might pursue a player like Brandon Dubinsky, who is going to be a free agent this summer?

Dubinsky has played first line minutes and can feed the big scorer of the team (I mean, look at his rookie season with Jaromir Jagr.) Would Dubinsky be a good, affordable fit in Calgary?

Gabbi Ricchi, Metuchen, N.J.


Hey Gabbi,

I appreciate your appreciation. Dubinsky might very well be a good fit with the Flames or most other teams, but because he’s a restricted free agent after this season, it’s unlikely he’s swapping uniforms for a good long while.

Adam, how much more patience should Kings fans expect to have before we give up on this franchise under non-caring owner AEG? It has been 15 years under their clueless rule and other than developing downtown L.A., what have they done for the team?

No playoffs since 2002, millions under the salary cap and no relief in sight. All we hear about are the prospects, but we don't have enough room for all of them on the roster anyway and at some point potential has to become reality.

Drew Janner, Los Angeles


Drew,

It’s difficult to refute your argument. I still think Dean Lombardi has assembled a tremendous collection of young talent, but there’s no question the Kings urgently require some veteran know-how to push them into the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign.

The Kings’ competitive level has been somewhat on the streaky side since the franchise’s inception more than 40 years ago; that certainly hasn’t helped them become a fixture in the minds of most Los Angeles residents. But if Lombardi can find them some goaltending and bring in three or four crafty vets, they might have a chance to make a dent in the collective consciousness as early as next year.

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.

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