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Kings' ransom

How the Kings will fare in the tough Western Conference this season is anyone's guess. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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How the Kings will fare in the tough Western Conference this season is anyone's guess. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I understand why people enjoy cute animal videos, but when I see a headline that says, “Tiny Dwarf Goat Surfs On The Back Of A Sheep,” it’s official – we’re using up valuable bandwidth for all the wrong reasons.
 
On to the mailbag:
 
Adam, what are we going to do with Dany Heatley? I say nobody should sign him. He's a waste of money and effort.
Matthew Coyte, Montreal

 
Matthew,
 
I’ll never be mistaken as a Heatley apologist, but I have to say the vitriol directed at him is reaching ridiculous levels.
 
Did he and his advisors completely misread the mood and/or situation in Ottawa? No doubt – and I’d bet they would do things differently if they could get a situational mulligan.
 
Because of his actions, Heatley will experience more scrutiny and be afforded less professional leeway than at any point in his life, regardless of where he ends up. He’ll also need expensive earplugs each and every time he ventures to either Canada’s capital or Edmonton for as long as he lives.
 
But he isn’t Satan incarnate. All interested parties – fans included – should use all of August as a cooling-down period and look at the situation in September with some more perspective.
 
Adam, do you see the L.A. Kings making one more big move and grabbing an older free agent? Maybe a goalie or a winger?
Michael Richison, Orange, Calif.

 
Michael,
 
Because the Kings are under tremendous pressure to make the playoffs this year, I’d expect GM Dean Lombardi to use every tool at his disposal throughout the season.
 
If they do sign a free agent, odds are they’ll wait until closer to training camp, when panic begins to set in among unsigned players and asking prices plummet precipitously.
 
A goaltender and winger seem to be the natural positions for the Kings to address. However, Lombardi is a patient sort who, like most of his colleagues, might wait until November or December, when he has a better idea of the team as a whole, before biting on a trade.
 
Adam, Pittsburgh and Philly (and maybe New Jersey) are the only teams that will realistically compete for the division title in the Atlantic this year. Who do you think has the best chance?
Alex M., Thornhill, Ont.

 
Alex,
 
It’s nothing regular AA readers haven’t seen before, but I’ve learned the hard way never to completely count out Lou Lamoriello’s Devils. Still, you’re right – it seems the Atlantic crown will belong to Pennsylvania this year.
 
I picked Philadelphia to win not only the Atlantic, but the entire Eastern Conference last year – and this year’s Flyers are very likely better than the previous edition. If they can get good mileage out of Ray Emery and avoid the slow start they had in 2008-09, I’d have to say they’re my pick again to win the East.
 
That said, if the Penguins show no sign of weariness from their championship run, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see them battle the Flyers for top spot right down to the last game of the season.
 
Adam, is it time for Glen Sather to be fired? As a Rangers fan, I feel he is a clueless GM only focused on piecing together a "team" that makes it into the playoffs and squeaks out, to maintain his job.
 
He has no loyalty to his players who give their all for the team (ask Brian Leetch and now Blair Betts), can't construct a team with chemistry, rarely drafts well, overpays for over-the-hill players and cannot manage money.

 
I and many other Ranger fans feel like his time has come, especially after this past season and off-season. What is your take?
Jemaine J., New York

 
Jemaine,
 
I’ve been of the opinion Sather should be cashiered for, oh, somewhere in the area of my entire tenure at THN.
 
In fact, I’m so consistent on the issue that, if Sather has a long memory (which appears to be refuted by the Wade Redden contract and many others) and reads THN.com on a regular basis, he’d probably greet me the same way Harrison Ford greeted Sacha Baron Cohen’s title character in Bruno.
 
Unfortunately for Rangers fans, unless James Dolan finds himself in one of those soul-searching moments where he re-evaluates his baffling commitment to the GM and comes to his senses, the Blueshirts appear destined to have Sather calling the scatter-shots until retirement removes him from power.

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Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers' question in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every other Friday in the summer from 4-5 p.m. EST on XM Radio channel 204. 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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