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Very superstitious

Tim Thomas has a 2.05 GAA and .927 SP, but only has five wins in 13 games. (Photo courtesy Brian Babineau)

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Tim Thomas has a 2.05 GAA and .927 SP, but only has five wins in 13 games. (Photo courtesy Brian Babineau)

It’s Friday the 13th! Oooga Booga Booga and all that jazz. Here’s your weekly batch of Qs and As.

Adam, If Tim Thomas got injured, what will the situation look like for the Bruins?
Larry Finger, Lenox, Iowa


Larry,

Without Thomas’ heroics between Boston’s pipes, the Bruins would be a combination of The Chevy Chase Show, New Coke and the second incarnation of the WHA.

That’s not to say Tuukka Rask couldn’t step in and give Claude Julien a similar standard of netminding. But everyone who keeps waiting for Thomas to drop down to his pre-2006 level will likely have to wait a few more years.

If Craig Anderson deserves to be the frontrunner for the Hart Trophy right now, Thomas deserves a vote or two himself.

Adam, In your opinion, how can the Oilers improve to make themselves into a competitive team for the playoffs? Maybe get rid of a few lazy players who are not playing their best night in and out, or to their potential? Or any suggestions for a trade(s) or a new coach (single) instead of this newly installed group of coaches? What are the Oilers missing here after so many so-called new 'fixes’?
Philip Chin, Edmonton


Philip,

See, I think the Oilers already are a competitive team for the playoffs – which is altogether different than saying they’re a team that should be expected to win a couple of playoff rounds this coming spring.

I’ve always saw them right where they are in the standings now – on the bubble for one of the final post-season berths in the Western Conference; and in my pre-season predictions, I was one of the few to peg them as playoff-worthy.

To make it, they’re going to need better luck on the health front, as well as more consistency, both from game-to-game and period-to-period. But I still see them as having a good chance to right their ship and stay in the playoff hunt. No need to conjure up plans for radical roster reshaping – at least, not yet.

Hi Adam. Have you heard anything about Curtis Joseph? Will he retire or is he still hoping to find a job? Thanks.
Rob Killingbeck, Brampton, Ont.


Hi Rob.

It’s safe to say that, barring an unforeseen, Benjamin Button-like turn of events, CuJo’s NHL playing days are kaput. He was fortunate that then-interim GM Cliff Fletcher gave him an opportunity to finish his career in a Toronto uniform, but even midway through last season, the feeling within elements of the Maple Leafs organization was that his competitive tank was a tablespoon shy of empty.

Think of it this way: if someone like Manny Fernandez – a goalie who had a 16-8-3 record and 2.59 goals-against average last season – can’t find NHL work this season, there’s no chance whatsoever that Joseph returns to the big show.

Hey Adam. When us working stiffs of the world work on a holiday we get overtime pay. Do NHLers get paid extra when they play a game on a holiday?
John Lucey, Malden, Mass.


This is probably going to break your heart – and whatever you do, don’t tell Buzz Hargrove, lest he un-resign as NHLPA ombudsman – but no, the players don’t get more for playing on a statutory holiday.

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They also don’t get paid for pre-season games, which is why there are so many of those awful events. But somehow, some way, they scrape and save and try to get by. (I’ll give readers a moment or two to collect themselves before reading the next question.)

Adam, Where do you see young Finnish player Mikael Granlund in 10 years?
Severi Assinen, Pernaja, Finland


Severi,

I’ve misplaced my Carnac The Magnificent turban, and I don’t get to see much SM-liiga hockey, but Granlund is constantly mentioned as a top-10 pick in next summer’s NHL draft, so I’d assume he’ll get every chance to prove himself as the next in a long line of Finns who’ve impacted the North American game in a major manner.

But really, I’m supposed to know what he’ll do 10 years from now? Maybe he grows a foot taller and morphs into an awesome, forward version of Zdeno Chara. Maybe he tires of the NHL and takes off for the Kontinental League after his rookie contract expires. Maybe the NHLPA hires him as their next executive director.

I’ve said it before when it comes to speculation: it’s fun to play “what-if,” but nothing beats the twists and turns of real life. That’s why documentaries will always be a better investment of time than fictional films.

Speaking of which – if the world does indeed end in 2012, I guarantee some of my final words will include, “Hey Roland Emmerich – screw you and your disaster-porn cinematic atrocities.”

I digress.

What’s up Adam? Is there any way to meet a player such as Alex Ovechkin before they get to their morning skate when they play in Toronto? What time do they head over?
Justin Gilfoyle, Sarnia, Ont.


Players normally get into the Air Canada Centre on the team bus through an underground entrance, so you won’t have much luck just hanging around the exterior of the building.

That said, there usually is a small group of autograph hunters who gather outside Gate 2 of the ACC. I don’t know how successful they are, but that seems to be your best bet.

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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