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Singing praises

Alex Ovechkin is currently serving a two-game suspension for a knee-on-knee hit on Carolina's Tim Gleason. (Getty Images)

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Alex Ovechkin is currently serving a two-game suspension for a knee-on-knee hit on Carolina's Tim Gleason. (Getty Images)

Greetings once again from THN’s maestro of mailbaggage.

Flummoxed because you don’t see your question here – or because you’re uncertain what flummoxed means? Can’t help you on the latter problem, but I can suggest you check the AA feature in The Hockey News magazine and listen to The Hockey News Radio Show on XM Home Ice 204 to see if I used it there.

Hey Adam: With the addition of Guillaume Latendresse and Andrew Ebbett, the Wild found some scorers; could it be they are already playing a similar style while the rest of the team is still adjusting?

What grade do you give rookie GM Chuck Fletcher and head coach Todd Richards? As a fan I am happy with the style change and thrilled with the desire to make trades when needed.
Monica Gamble, Lake George, Minn.


Hey Monica,

The Wild’s newcomers do have an inherent advantage, in that they’re not accustomed to the suffocating defensive structure that was part of Minnesota’s game for so long. Neither of them will be The Chosen One to build a franchise around, but there’s no doubt fresh blood can help a team redefine itself.

I’d give Fletcher and Richards a B– or a C+. Both understood this season would be a transitional one for the franchise, yet both haven’t let that be an excuse to not keep expectations high. I still don’t believe they’ll make the post-season, but that attitude is paramount to turning their fortunes around sooner than later.

I also want to give an A+ to James Sheppard and Kyle Brodziak, but only for taking this photo. If Reno 911 ever needs extras, those guys are hired.

Hey Adam, what do you think of the two-game suspension to Alex Ovechkin? I think Ovie is a clown. I'm sure someone like Colton Orr will make him think twice about his reckless play. So, what do you think?
Daniel Kang, London, Ont.


Hey Daniel,

I’m already on record as being a major appreciator of No. 8, so I have real difficulty agreeing with your assessment.

I do think Ovechkin has to realize his unrestrained exuberance on the ice needs some restraining if he is to enjoy a career longer than Eric Lindros or Peter Forsberg, two former NHLers whose rough-and-tumble style of play adversely affected their staying power.

However, the mentality that assumes he’ll change only if a marginal NHL talent like Orr delivers a message with his knuckles is faulty. The league could have sent a far tougher message if it chose to suspend Ovechkin longer than the measly banishment he got, but we all know about the wishy-washy philosophy that pervades at the highest levels of the NHL’s supplementary discipline department.

Adam, what does a player say to another player to instigate a fight? Do they comment about how they play or does the trash talk involve someone's mother?
Debbie Graziosi, Kearny, N.J.


Debbie,

Sometimes the trash talk is about a player’s status: fourth-liners and fringe players always will hear how little they mean to a team.

Sometimes it does center around somebody’s female relative. In fact, I can think of occasions where an NHLer has gone berserk after he was informed of his sister’s histories with certain players and junior leagues.

(Naturally, I can’t disclose who those NHLers are. You’ll just have to look at some past game summaries and do some deducing for yourself.)

And sometimes, there’s little-to-no trash talk involved at all – just two goons who know why they’re employed at this level and act accordingly.

Hello Adam, I'm a Red Wings fan from Finland and have a lot of respect for two-way players. To me versatility in a player is always noteworthy. It's always very pleasing to find insights on the Internet about NHL players' distinctive qualities.

Have you come across Joe Pelletier's blog? I was wondering what you might think of his analyses of NHL greats? Would you call them accurate? And how about your favorites on this subject – who do you think are some of the more versatile players in the league today? Thank you for a great site and interesting topics!
Heikki Hagman, Lahti, Finland


Hello Heikki,

I have seen a few things on Joe’s site and I always come away respectful of his efforts – not only to provide insight into the history of the game’s great players and events, but also to read and review as many hockey books as he does. Any fan looking to brush up on their hockey history would be well-advised to check out his work.

As for versatile players, I’d include Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, as well as Philadelphia’s Mike Richards, at the top of my list. And of course, though your fellow Finnish countryman Jere Lehtinen is on the downside of his on-ice career, he’s been such a good two-way player, he deserves a lifetime achievement kind of mention.

Adam, I've noticed the hockey world has been largely mum about Comcast's decision to purchase NBC/Universal. I believe this is not a good thing for hockey fans or the world at large.

How does this relate to hockey particularly? Consider Comcast's ownership of the Philadelphia Flyers. Comcast owns both the Flyers and also the "Versus" network. Versus is the primary cable broadcast outlet for NHL hockey games. The Flyers are on Versus an awful lot due to this, and now Comcast will own the only other national outlet for the NHL in the U.S.: NBC.

Don't bet on ever seeing the Devils or Islanders in a nationally broadcast game unless they are playing the Flyers or Rangers.

Oh wait...that won't be any different than what we have now.
Ryan Hammond, Bloomfield Township, Mich.


Ryan,

The downside of the continued consolidation of media is something I could write about for days, but this isn’t the proper forum for that topic.

But clearly, any business decision resulting in fewer bargaining alternatives for the NHL is indeed a bad one – for the players, for the owners and definitely for the fans. Remember that as the network and/or league tries to spin the news to their benefit.

Hey Adam, do you think this is the year where the NHL's leading scorer isn't Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin? If so, who do you think will challenge them?
Brett Martin, Riverview, N.B.


Hey Brett,

Yeah, I think the winner of the Art Ross Trophy won’t be any of those three. That’s why I picked Sharks center Joe Thornton a couple months ago.

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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