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Island unto himself

John Tavares of the New York Islanders has two goals and five points in four games this season.. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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John Tavares of the New York Islanders has two goals and five points in four games this season.. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Next week’s mailbag will be composed by the author in a runaway silver helium balloon garage attic. Keep sending (or floating) your inquiries in to the usual location and we’ll keep aiming for new hoaxes heights.

Hey Adam, the way John Tavares has played so far at the NHL level has really impressed me. He has started the season on fire, averaging more than a point per game in his first four games. I wondered when he got drafted if his play between the bluelines would hurt his chances of being a hotshot NHLer, but so far he has played great and is helping the Islanders be competitive.

Do you think Tavares is the real deal and will score more than 30 goals and 70 points this season and help the Islanders become a competitor for years to come alongside Kyle Okposo?
Peter Hammin, Lumby, B.C.


Hey Peter,

As I say in virtually every hockey-related conversation lately, it’s far too soon to start dropping proclamations about the destinies of any particular team or player.

But there’s no doubt Tavares is playing as Isles GM Garth Snow believed he would when he drafted him last summer. Tavares can be as dangerous a playmaker as he is a goal-scorer and should be piling up the stats for as long as he’s in the league.

I think 30 goals and 70 points are very reachable achievements for him this year. And I also think he’s going to lose the Calder Trophy race to Victor Hedman, who is averaging a team-high 24:52 per game for the Tampa Bay Lightning and looking mighty solid while doing so.

Hi Adam, I'm in a hockey pool at work – one of those ones where you pick a player from a group of six, under different categories, until you have a team of 20. I wanted to track my progress against other friends' teams, but having to go online to search out the players' stats is a long process.

Do you know of any programs that will automatically download and/or news feed you updated player stats for select players?
Katie Schmidt, Sarnia, Ont.


Hi Katie,

There are quite a few hockey pool manager websites out there that will compile fantasy stats for you on a daily basis. The one we’re using for The Hockey News’ regular season office pool is pickuphockey.com.

It’s not all ease and convenience, unfortunately. You still have to input all the players from all the teams you’re interested in following, but once that’s out of the way, it’s a relative breeze to log in every day and check up – at least, until you’ve fallen so far from contention, you’d rather watch a Two and a Half Men marathon than log in again.

Not that I’d know what that feels like. Ahem.

Adam, I know you like the questions short so I will do just that: Gary Bettman has had his issues with many fans, but for his overall work do you think he should be put in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder or forgotten as soon as he is one day (maybe years from now) replaced?
Jason Brownell, Rochester, N.Y.


Jason,

You must know that, at minimum, half of the AA readership just reverse-ate their lunch after getting a load of your question. But it’s no doubt that debate will become quite prominent once Bettman spins off into the sunset.

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Here’s the tough reality of it: Bettman should and almost assuredly will be inducted into the HHOF. Hopefully nobody tries to engineer early induction for him, because fans will see right through it and possibly organize a 24/7 sit-in around the Hall until the decision is reversed.

But he should be in there; the game has grown under his stewardship and he has ushered in many modern necessities the NHL has greatly benefited from.

Now, if there was a Hockey Hall Of Shame, Bettman would also easily qualify, based on the NHL’s 2004-05 lost season alone. But no matter what you think of him, you can’t deny he has positively impacted the sport.

Hey there Adam, for many years the home team wore white jerseys. A few years back, and with the advent of the third jersey, the home team switched to dark uniforms.

But this year, when Montreal visited Toronto, the Leafs wore white at home. Is the league going with that or was it retro night or...?
Marvin Perry, Lloydminster, Alta.


Hey there Marvin,

Or…is it simply standard practice these days that teams can file requests with the NHL to allow them to change from home dark colors to road whites on special occasions?

Why, yes, myself, that’s exactly the case.

Hey Adam – I was wondering which NHL team has the most “homegrown” content. I believe the Edmonton Oilers have four this season with Jason Strudwick, Gilbert Brule, Fernando Pisani, and Mike Comrie all hailing from the city of champions. Do you know if another team in the NHL has more? Thanks!
Dave Glutek, St. Thomas, Ont.


Dave,

It really depends on your definition of “homegrown.” The Maple Leafs have four players (John Mitchell, Wayne Primeau, Matt Stajan and Jamal Mayers) who hail from the Greater Toronto Area, so they’d be tied with the Oilers if you accept those guidelines.

And if you’re looking for another high contingent of Edmontonians, look no further than the Oilers’ provincial rivals in Calgary, who also have four (Daymond Langkow, Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and Dion Phaneuf) in their lineup.

Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers' questions in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show 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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