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Stay classy

Brendan Shanahan has 656 goals in his NHL career. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Brendan Shanahan has 656 goals in his NHL career. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

I’m in vacation mode next week, but my co-workers will “gladly” pick up the pace, so keep sending your questions to the usual location (askadam@thehockeynews.com).

Until then, I bid you a fond adieu – and pray the NHL doesn’t try to step in and outbid me.

Hi Adam! I love your work! Long-time reader, first-time asker.
I was wondering, with Steve Yzerman gone and Joe Sakic now retired, who would you consider to be the "classiest" player in the NHL? People always say you look at Jean Béliveau when discussing class as a hockey player. Do you think the sport will ever have a superstar of that model again? Thanks!
David Wardle, Sydney, Australia


Hi David! Nice to hear from you. But I have to say, either you’ve got an imposter sending me AA questions from Down Under, or your memory is worse than mine.

In any case, I did some quick straw polling around THN headquarters and with the help of writer/editor John Grigg and web content specialist Rory Boylen, we came up with a good group of names who could easily carry the torch for Stevie Y and Burnaby Joe in the ultra-classy department. In no special order:

Nicklas Lidstrom
Jarome Iginla
Daniel Alfredsson
Mike Modano
Teemu Selanne
Paul Kariya
Saku Koivu
Brendan Shanahan
Scott Niedermayer
Henrik Zetterberg

To answer your other question, I think in this day and age, with the scrutiny given to every aspect of an NHLer’s existence, there will always be some miserable Internet denizen to pick apart the character traits of any player.

Think of it in reverse: if camera phones existed in Beliveau’s day – and each second of his on-ice career was chronicled by high-definition cameras – don’t you think there would be at least a few instances in which the legendary Canadiens captain would have come off in a less-than-positive light? I definitely do.

Adam, with Dany Heatley trying to force the Senators’ hand on a trade, do you think the Bruins have a shot at landing him? Marc Savard's deal is up after this year and, at age 32, he probably won't be re-signed (based on talent in the pipeline) and then there is Phil Kessel – plus salary cap issues to consider.

Dealing both Savard and Kessel for Heatley is way too steep a price, but do you think a deal centered around either Savard or Kessel is palatable enough to get the Senators to trade Heatley within the division?
Bruce Whitman, Athens, Vt.


Bruce,

In terms of a talent-for-talent trade, that might be the best offer Sens GM Bryan Murray receives for Heatley. But there’s a reason why it hasn’t happened and likely will never happen.

In making such a deal with Murray, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would be taking on a $7.5 million cap hit each season until 2013-14. He could fit Heatley under the cap this year, but as the seasons go by and key Bruins such as Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron require contract extensions, Chiarelli would eventually have to sacrifice part of his core to keep Heatley around.

All that for what – a guy who may quickly sour on a new coach, or his ice time and poison the room while he works out a new reason to demand a trade? I don’t think so.

Adam, do you think any team will sign Theo Fleury now that he is attempting a comeback?
Jason Dowd, Boston


Jason,

Fleury needs to show he’s committed to a comeback bid the same way Claude Lemieux did in San Jose last year: by first toughing it out on the buses in the American League and having an impact at the minor pro level.

Without such a commitment, I don’t think there will be a single bite for Fleury’s services. It makes far more sense for franchises to develop their young players than it does to give a former NHLer – even a former star NHLer – a roster spot.

Dear Adam, I was reading THN's 2009-10 Yearbook and noticed the Maple Leafs forfeited a pick. What does that mean? They just gave it up? Do they get an extra pick for next year? Please answer. Thanks!
Sam Tiedemann, Waterloo, Ont.


Dear Sam,

The Leafs were penalized last season for awarding defenseman Jonas Frogren a $750,000-plus signing bonus that violated the collective bargaining agreement. In addition, they were fined $500,000.

Adam, love the insight, knowledge, and humor you bring to us fans (or I'd be asking someone else this). That being said, I do have a question regarding the Coyotes. If anyone worth anything is willing to place personal info on their BlackBerry, how can one prospective owner be deemed "untrustworthy?”

Given the maniacal moves made by current owners (franchise names withheld, yet rather visible), would a new owner with the money to actually buy a team legally be so bad? Seems to me the old boys’ network is at it again.

Also, what wine would you suggest as a compliment to what the commish will surely have to eat at the next CBA meeting? Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Mark Stead Sr., Schenectady, N.Y.


Mark,

Thanks for reading. As I noted in my web column yesterday, Bettman and the owners who support him are doing themselves no favors in their latest effort to undermine Jim Balsillie.

Yeah, they could succeed in shutting the BlackBerry boss out of the ownership group by purchasing the Coyotes and re-selling them to Jerry Reinsdorf. But already, fans in Canada are even more incensed with Bettman and wonder where his drive to keep a franchise in the same location was when the Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets were in trouble.

Doubtless, the league will answer that question with any number of legalese excuses. But actions speak louder than lip-flapping – and the league’s actions say all that needs saying on its utter unwillingness to challenge the Maple Leafs’ stranglehold on the Southern Ontario region.

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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