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European vacation

Miikka Kiprusoff had 45 wins and a .903 save percentage for the Flames last season. (Getty Images)

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Miikka Kiprusoff had 45 wins and a .903 save percentage for the Flames last season. (Getty Images)

Mailbag! Get your mid-August mailbag here!

Hey Adam, two questions for you: One, with Cory Schneider's spectacular play in the American League last year showing us he's ready for the show, would it be better to trade him for depth or call him up and trade Luongo? (I love Louie, but the Nucks could get anybody they want for him.)

And secondly, I'll be in Europe this fall and am planning on catching a DEL game in Germany. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on a good team to see?
James Barnabe, Ste. Agathe, Man.


Hey James,

I think it’s clear the Canucks aren’t going to be moving Luongo anywhere (other than the table where a new contract extension will be awaiting his signature), but that makes Schneider a valuable trading chip for Mike Gillis. Besides, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the many examples of goalies who dominated in the American League, yet couldn’t reproduce such levels of success at the NHL level; better to stick with the devil you know, no?

As for your trip to Germany, I’d suggest you catch an Eisbären Berlin game. That organization has won four of the past five DEL championships, including back-to-back titles the past two seasons. They’re easily the best hockey team owned by L.A. Kings boss Philip Anschutz – and they’ve got a sparkling arena that’s only a year old.

Adam, how do you think the Blue Jackets will do this year compared to last year?
Matt Boschmann, Winnipeg


Matt,

Let me be perfectly clear: I think the Jackets are going to make the playoffs. I don’t know they’ll make an abundance of waves once they’re there, but Ken Hitchcock is too savvy a coach – and GM Scott Howson has given him a plethora of young talent to work with – for me to imagine Columbus takes a step backward.

Hi Adam! If the Coyotes do get moved to Hamilton, what disasters would it cause to divisional and conference alignment? Must admit, the "evil" side of me sees the NHL leaving them in the Pacific Division just to mess with Uncle Gary's favorite owner-who-never-will-be.
Art Hebbeler, Catonsville, Md.

Hi Art!

I wrote about this a few months back, but I’ll repeat it for you: any relocated Western Conference team is likely to stay in the West, regardless of where it winds up, simply because there’s no Eastern Conference team that would improve its current situation by moving over there.

I could see a couple teams (Detroit and Columbus) moving east eventually, but only under the otherwise abominable prospect of expansion.

Think of it this way: the New York Yankees and their cross-town rival Mets play in the same city, yet in different wings of Major League Baseball. It wouldn’t be ideal, but there’s no reason the NHL couldn’t make a similar scenario work with two teams in Southern Ontario.
 
Hello, Adam. Love the column. I was wondering if you could help me out with this one – I have been watching hockey for 17 years and the one thing I always wondered was, who are the commentators employed by? Growing up watching the Rangers with Sam Rosen and John Davidson, I always found it odd that different pairs would work national broadcasts together, like Doc Emerick and J.D. Also some commentators have been known to work other sports as well. I was just wondering how that all worked out? Thanks!
Michael Collins, Stormville, N.Y.


Hello, Michael. Thanks for the kind words.

The employer of TV and radio analysts really depends on the particular situation.

Related Links

In the case of national broadcasters, most are employed by the network on which they appear. However, the majority of TV and radio broadcast crews are employed by the teams they cover.
 
Hi Adam, I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could answer:

1. What do you think it will take for the Sharks to make it to the Stanley Cup final? And do they have that combination this year?

2. When do you think the NHL might expand to Europe? And what will prompt the move? I doubt the Netherlands would be the right market, but there are many cities/countries that should be able to support NHL teams quite well. Thanks!
Brian, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Hi Brian,

1. I think it will take the best effort of Evgeni Nabokov’s and Joe Thornton’s careers, as well as key contributions from San Jose’s much-boasted-over collection of developing talent, to get them a Western Conference title and more. But I’m not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt again until they win a couple playoff rounds.

2. In my estimation, you’re unlikely to see the NHL expand to Europe for a minimum of five years and quite possibly longer.

That process could be accelerated by a series of collapsing NHL markets – as well as a lack of North American-based alternative locations for those markets – but otherwise, the logistics and costs associated with a serious investment in the European market are simply too onerous to be addressed in 1,000 days.

Hey Adam, considering a defensive approach by new Flames coach Brent Sutter and the arrival of Jay Bouwmeester on defense, do you think Miikka Kiprusoff will have similar stats than the ones he had two years ago (40 wins, 2.46 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and seven shutouts)? Cheers,
Vince Poirier, Toronto


Hey Vince,

I’m a bit confused – you know Kiprusoff won 45 games last year, right? Are you saying you expect him to win five fewer games on a better defensive team?

Whatever the case, if Kiprusoff gets off to one of his standard slow starts – his save percentage didn’t break the .900 mark last year until the second week of December – there will be more than a handful of Flames fans ready to cast him off and look for another potential savior between the pipes.

Hmmmnnn…Kiprusoff for Nabokov, anyone?

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.

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

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