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Worlds collide

Alex Ovechkin won gold with Russia at the 2008 World Championship and will look to do so again at the 2010 Olympics. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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Alex Ovechkin won gold with Russia at the 2008 World Championship and will look to do so again at the 2010 Olympics. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Happy Friday and happy Olympics to everybody. And remember – by this time next week, we could have massive upsets, crushing injuries and wanton destruction of furniture to worry about, so let’s cherish this innocent era while it lasts.

Hey Adam! I read THN’s Olympic Preview magazine and there is a lot of talk in it about the IIHF World Championship. I did some research and found out it is held every year.

Why isn't this tournament as exciting as the Olympics? After all it is a country vs. country tourney. By the way, I really liked your article on Mike Richards in the Jan. 25 edition. As an avid Flyers fan I like reading about what the captain is up to. Thanks!
Brett Brodsky, Baltimore


Hey Brett!

Thanks for being an avid THN reader.

The reason why the annual World Championship doesn’t receive the attention or hype of the Olympics is that a sizeable segment of the best players on the planet usually are involved in the NHL playoffs. That’s why the NHL has shut down its schedule for the Winter Games over the past 12 years – to ensure full participation from the game’s greatest talents.

Adam, in some games I get hit hard and after that I don’t feel the same in the game, like my head is slowing down. But my question is what do NHL players use for a smelling salt during games? If you can give me some feedback to my email, that would be great. Thanks.
Zach Toporowski, Prince Albert, Sask.


Zach,

No offense, but this may be one of the most troubling questions I’ve received since this mailbag column began a few years ago. As far as I’m concerned, if your head is “slowing down” after a big hit, you need to get off the ice immediately and consult with your family, coaches and doctor to find out what’s wrong.

As you can see from this file, NHLers use smelling salts and have done so for years, both as a method to “recover” from a serious check or as a stimulant used to attempt to focus their attention as games are about to begin.

I think their usefulness is highly debatable. But to me, whether you’re a young amateur player with major league aspirations or a beer-leaguer in his mid-40s, you shouldn’t be messing around with any sort of stimulant. And again, do your friends and loved ones a favor – don’t take any chances with your melon!
 
Adam, with the possibility of losing a top-five pick (to Boston) in the 2010 draft if they finish in the bottom five this year, will the Leafs look to add some short-term talent to get them out of that hole? Or will they just take the hit and continue to go young?
Ryan Niemela, Corcoran, Minn.


Ryan,

If you look at the standings, you can see it will be very tough for the Maple Leafs to climb out of the league’s bottom five teams this season. They’ve already added veteran talent in Dion Phaneuf and J-S Giguere to help them in their battle, but I can’t see them taking on any more veteran talent – unless it’s for the purpose of burying contracts in the American League in exchange for somebody else’s draft picks.

As you’ve seen recently – and as coach Ron Wilson said this week – Toronto is going to give their youngsters a 20-game audition to prove themselves for next season. That’s as it should be.

Adam, with the Phoenix Coyotes doing so well this season, surely Dave Tippett is a candidate for coach of the year. Is this a realistic assumption at this point in the season?
Perrin Michalyshyn, Edmonton


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Perrin,

This is a very realistic assumption.

Of course, there are some other worthy contenders for the Jack Adams Award – such as Ottawa’s Cory Clouston, San Jose’s Todd McLellan, Colorado’s Joe Sacco and, of course, New Jersey’s Jacques Lemaire, the Mack Daddy/Daddy Mack of the coaching fraternity – but there’s no doubt Tippett should be in the mix.

Adam, being only 17 years old, I have only heard of the hype that was surrounding Eric Lindros as a teenager dominating junior hockey. Is the hype that Sidney Crosby brought to junior hockey similar to what Lindros had? Who would you say had higher expectations entering the NHL?
John MacDonald, Amherst, N.S.


John,

Lindros and Crosby definitely had a similar level of hype around them as their junior careers ended. Both were believed to be franchise players and potential Hall-of-Famers who could dominate for years.

I wouldn’t say one had more expectations than the other; the proliferation of media might make it seem as if Crosby had more pressure than Lindros, but really, they both were considered prime candidates to be “The Next One.”

Adam, I was thinking, to make the NHL All-Star Game more exciting, why not put it outside? And if the NHL did so, where would it be played? Thanks,
Philip Wachowich (age 9), Calgary


Philip,

I love your suggestion, mostly because it matches the one I made when I was in Boston for the most recent Winter Classic.

Where could they hold it? Any cold-weather winter climate, I’d imagine. Thanks for writing!

Sincerely, Adam (age 37).

Hi Adam, Don Cherry says that fighting was always a part of hockey, but I think that unnecessary violence in the NHL is a bad example for the little league players that love hockey. They watch their favorite players play violently and think that is the way hockey is played.

I strongly feel that the NHL should make a rule to ban fighting and unacceptable body checks. What do you think?
VijaiSai Maharajh, Mississauga, Ont.


Hi VijaiSai,

I think you need to go through my column archive. I think you can never ban fighting – the same way you can’t in any other legitimate sport – but I think you can punish fights (through non-fraudulent fines and suspensions) the same way every other sport does and demand that NHLers develop more of a conscience on the ice than they demonstrate right now.

But ultimately, I think the sport could use more fans like you. Keep up the devotion to logic!

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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