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On the move

The Atlanta Thrashers celebrate a second period goal against the Blue Jackets in front of fans - and empty seats - on Thursday. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Atlanta Thrashers celebrate a second period goal against the Blue Jackets in front of fans - and empty seats - on Thursday. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s Hockey Hall of Fame weekend here in THN Headquarters Land – and we’re looking forward to seeing all five hockey-lifers take their place as honored members.

Congratulations also go out to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hockey writer Dave Molinari, the 2009 Elmer Ferguson Award winner, as well as Blues president John Davidson, recipient of this year’s Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.

Additional kudos to AA readers for continuing to submit great questions each week. Let’s get to ‘em:

Adam, what are your thoughts on the hit Michael Liambas put on Ben Fanelli and the suspension Liambas received?
Peter Hollman, Kitchener, Ont.


Peter,

I think Liambas’ hit was a charge. I think Fanelli turning his body at the last second made what would’ve been a bad check even worse.

I think Ontario League commissioner David Branch is one of the most progressive voices in the game and should be applauded for putting his foot down and, via his punishment, demanding a renewed examination of the game’s logic-less culture when it comes to eating its young.

I think Liambas is in many ways a victim of that culture, just as Todd Bertuzzi was and just as Marty McSorley and Chris Simon were before him.

And I think we’ll see incidents like this in the NHL until someone in a leadership position evolves as Branch did and institutes similar measures that provide players with far more protection than they currently enjoy.

Hello Adam, I just wanted to get a ballpark figure on when you think the Thrashers and the Florida Panthers will be moving to a new city. I am so pissed at Atlanta for letting this happen again!

I live just a few hours from Atlanta (in the Florida Panhandle) and I enjoy driving up there to see some NHL hockey, but it looks like I am doomed to watch minor league hockey for the rest of my life. It really sucks!

Oh, well. I really enjoy the coverage you guys provide. Thanks,
Jeff Wise, Pensacola, Fla.


Hello Jeff,

I’m assuming you’re referring to the cruddy attendance – an average announced crowd of just 14,090 people (fourth-worst in the league, ahead of only Nashville, the Islanders and Phoenix) – at Thrashers home games so far this year.

Granted, the Thrashers have played only five games at Philips Arena – and granted, the NFL’s Falcons and NBA’s Hawks may be cutting into their slice of the average Atlanta sports fan’s attention.

But until the Thrashers prove themselves a top-flight contender over a multi-year span, we may never really see whether or not Atlantans are willing to properly support an NHL team.

To answer your question, I don’t know that anyone could put a precise timeline on how long they or the Panthers will survive.

The Thrashers’ ownership saga doesn’t appear to be running out of steam in the courtroom – and there doesn’t appear to be anyone stepping up to buy the Panthers. Neither situation is a positive harbinger for the future of those teams in their current locales.

(And that’s to say nothing about recent, troubling news out of Columbus.)

The one thing I am certain about is I’d never again believe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman when he discusses the long-or-short-term viability of any franchise; his blatant, Mary Poppins-esque spinning of the Coyotes situation sunk his credibility in that regard for good.

Hey Adam, love your blog. I was wondering who you think will be in net for the German Olympic Team at the Vancouver Games? Usually that's Olaf Kolzig's domain, but with his retirement, it's opened up.
Sam Sinclair, Kitchener, Ont.


Related Links

Hey Sam,

Thanks for the blog love. Thomas Greiss, Dennis Endras and Dmitri Pätzold get mentioned most often as frontrunners to represent Deutschland between the pipes in a few months, but there’s no guarantee any of them will start for coach Uwe Krupp.

In their summer Olympic camp, the Germans also invited netminders Jochen Reimer, Sebastian Stefaniszin and Youri Ziffzer to participate; if you’re asking me who any of those gentlemen are, I’d kindly ask you to drink a couple bottles of your favorite Gewurztraminer and I’ll get back to you closer to February.

Hey Adam, I want to know if you think the NHL will ever really embrace the power of instant replays.

Game after game I watch bad calls happen that could be easily rectified by a 30-second call to the booth. It is very infuriating to watch a referee's mistake cause a goal. I know they have a tough job and I don't blame them for missing some.

Would it not be better to have the game last a couple minutes longer, get more calls right and be a leader in developing the use of replays?
Brendan Neff, Nanaimo, B.C.


Brendan,

Fair point, but to me, the NHL already has embraced instant replay where it truly counts – in deciding the validity of goals.

I’m sure you could extend the technology to almost every blown call, missed call or correct call on the ice if you wanted, but the additional time needed to do so would quickly pile up and soon enough, we’d be looking at three-hour games again.

Thanks, but no thanks, to that kind of action.

Adam, as a native Swede having lived in Canada since 1951, I am very interested in hockey. Can you supply the Swedish players in the NHL, showing their original Swedish team and their NHL club?

Also would appreciate their complete statistics, including age, year they joined the NHL, etc. Much appreciate your help on this. Kindest regards,
Tor Bengtson, Vancouver


Tor,

I don’t want to come across as an unfeeling cad, but I hope you can understand the fact that I don’t have enough minutes in my workweek to embark on a process like the one that’d be necessary to fulfill your request.

If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone in believing we at THN have hours of free time. Rarely a week goes by without someone emailing or writing to ask us for, say, hints for the answers to a crossword from our Nov. 30, 1968 issue, or the combined adverb total from Wayne Gretzky’s press conference soliloquy after he was traded to the L.A. Kings.

It’s not that we don’t want to be of service – it’s just that we’re not in the library service. Sorry!

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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