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Heaven and hell

The Islanders' John Tavares is in the thick of the race for NHL rookie of the year honors. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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The Islanders' John Tavares is in the thick of the race for NHL rookie of the year honors. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

As I mentioned last week, I’ll be self-sidelined after today and will continue in that state until the week of Jan. 11. (Sticklers for detail may insist on labeling my absence a “vacation,” but I’m going with “conditioning-optional conditioning stint.”)

The mailbag also will be on hiatus until Jan. 8, when my THN colleagues will take some stabs at answering the questions you submit in the meantime.

Until then, here’s hoping you and your family make the most of the holiday season and enjoy a fantastic 2010.

Hey Adam, do you think John Tavares gets any consideration for Team Canada, considering he has 15 goals on a struggling Islanders squad?
Nicholas Duplessis, White River, Ont.


Hey Nicholas,

I’m sure Steve Yzerman studied the merits of adding Tavares to Canada’s roster, but if you look at what Hockey Canada did in the past with a talent such as Sidney Crosby, it’s almost a lock Tavares won’t be on the team.

That said, Crosby’s evolution – he’ll be on the Vancouver Games team or I’ll start writing for hockeyfights.com – should give Tavares much in the way of encouragement for the next Winter Games.

Hi Adam: Any shot we see Miro Satan this season? And where is Chris Simpson?
Pat Cosgrove, Demarest, N.J.


Hi Pat,

Last I heard, Satan was skating in the New York area, awaiting interest from an NHL team for his services. He may be a-waiting a long time, as the 35-year-old shopped himself around the league all summer with no takers.

Of course, a key injury could prompt a GM to sign him, but I think the first – and perhaps only – glimpse NHL fans will see of him this year is at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, where he’ll suit up for his native Slovakia.

As for Ms. Simpson, who parted ways with Versus after last season: I see her regularly at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto; I believe she is covering the league on a freelance basis, as are an increasing number of reporters during a tough time in this line of work.

Adam, I don't understand the fuss over these front-loaded contracts. There have been several over the years, but I'll just use Marc Savard's as an example. If Savard didn't like the deal, he wouldn't have signed the contract (Savard had to have known he is worth more than what Boston will pay for him).

If management didn't like the deal, it wouldn't have agreed to pay the bill. So, if both player and owner are satisfied, why would the NHL want to put a stop to this?
Ross Lakovakis, Denver


Ross,

The contentious issue with front-loaded contracts has nothing to do with the teams or players involved; rather, it concerns the teams who aren’t involved – specifically, the small-market teams that never could throw huge amounts of cash into the first years of any contracts they sign.

To those franchises, those deals give big-market teams a competitive advantage – and that’s something the NHL has taken great pains to minimize/eliminate. The philosophy also has prevented the league from buying in to Brian Burke’s suggestion that would allow a team to cover a portion of the salary of a player they trade away.

Adam, I was wondering if you could help me track down a Leaf prospect? I believe his name is Dominico (not sure of the spelling). I know he was injured in the Quebec League playoffs last year and I know the Maple Leafs were high on him, but he seems to have vanished from all rosters and reserves.
Sean Heffernan, Sunderland, Ont.


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Sean,

You’re referring to Chris DiDomenico, Toronto’s 2007 draft pick who broke his leg in the QMJHL playoffs last season.

As chronicled by former THN writer (and one of the businesses’ all-time great guys) Mike Ulmer, DiDomenico has began skating again and could return to game action in the early part of the new year.

Adam, quick non-hockey question for you: I know you’re a big movie buff, so what are your favorite Christmas movies? Joyeux Noel!
Terry Desjardins, Montreal


Terry,

Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. Here are my favorite Christmas films, in no special order:

The Ref (NHL fan Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey at their acidic best);

A Christmas Story (the measuring stick for all modern Christmas films, featuring Melinda Dillon in a less revealing role than the one she had in Slap Shot);

Bad Santa (not for the kiddies, but a gloriously black comedy);

Home Alone (for those who love slapstick humor as much as warm winter feelings);

Die Hard (Not your standard Christmas fare by any stretch of the imagination, but in between tracking down and killing the evil Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis manages some affecting holiday moments).

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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