With 37 wins, a 2.26 GAA and .924 SP, Jimmy Howard is in the thick of the Calder Trophy race. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
I don’t know about you, but after 38 birthdays, I think the rest should be silent, like the ‘k’ in ‘knead,’ or John Tortorella at a dinner celebrating the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Yes, this is my lead-in paragraph to this week’s mailbag. And yes, I get a little extra lede leeway from this point on, because I’m now 38 and my editors think it’s only proper to be kind to fogies.
(Editor’s Note: No we don’t.)
Hey Adam, who do you think will be the No. 1 pick in the draft – Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall? And do you think the Montreal Canadiens have any chance of winning their series against Washington? Go Habs Go!
Ben Liber, Montreal
I don’t cover the junior game enough to give you an authoritative answer – but, then again, the most knowledgeable observers can’t and won’t guarantee Edmonton will take Hall over Seguin or vice versa.
It might come down to positional need, or it might be the usual philosophy of taking “the best player available.” In any case, it’s hard to imagine the Oilers regretting drafting either one.
As for the Canadiens’ chances of beating Washington: even after the Caps’ overtime loss to Montreal in Game 1, I still think it will take a few acts of God for them to win half of the remaining matchups. Washington’s superstars can’t be kept in check for that long…can they?
Hey Adam, just wanted to ask why you think it has taken so long for people to finally begin talking about Jimmy Howard as a contender for the Calder trophy?
Tyler Myers has been really good also and there was a lot of talk surrounding John Tavares. But do you attribute that to the fact Tavares was the No. 1 pick, because he hasn’t had a standout year? As a Red Wings fan, I can't see any way the team would have made it into the playoffs without Howard and he's been among the leaders in the statistical categories for goaltenders for several months now.
Is it just me, or do you think he deserves a bit more respect for the job he has done this season? Keep up the great work,
Neil Chaplin, Northampton, U.K.
Howard was second on my Calder ballot – and yes, he has earned himself a bigger slice of the spotlight – but I think it’s understandable why people didn’t rush out to embrace his performance earlier in the year.
Anytime a player (especially a goalie) spends a number of seasons in the American League and doesn’t step up to the NHL level when an opportunity arises – as it did for Howard when Dominik Hasek retired in 2008 – his future is looked upon with skepticism.
I know for a fact there were people in the Wings organization who weren’t certain he’d have a place with them – but there were many folks who said the same thing about Craig Anderson not too long ago and look what he’s gone on to do.
I’m not here to deny Howard has been a major influence on Detroit’s success. But I voted for Myers, who in my view has been better on a more consistent basis this season.
Adam, I'm a diehard Oilers fan and always will be. I'm just wondering what you think: should the Oilers trade players to get young, top-five picks in the draft and become like the Blackhawks or Avalanche, or regroup and try and trade some players for more veterans?
Jonah Biensch, Marsden, Sask.
Oilers management has taken the latter route in recent years – and I’d venture to say the results should have them firmly in the build-through-youth camp.
It is true that a handful of teams (Phoenix, most recently) have improved their on-ice fortunes without the benefit of a slew of top draft picks. However, the majority of current contenders got that way by being bad for an extended period and reaping benefits in the prospect department.
Edmonton has had that act down pat for a while now, so there’s no reason for them not to see it through by continuing to bite the bullet for a while longer.
Adam, would it be a good idea if the Maple Leafs decided to sign Patrick Marleau this off-season? And should Tomas Kaberle be traded for a quality first-line forward?
Tom Turner, Toronto
I can think of 28 other teams who Marleau would prefer to sign with instead of Toronto. Some of that reticence probably has to do with Ron Wilson coaching the Leafs, but Marleau strikes me as a Paul Kariya/Scott Niedermayer type – i.e., someone who enjoys the relative anonymity of playing in a non-traditional hockey market.
As for Kaberle, I’ve said all year long the Leafs should trade him and close the final door on a losing culture. And I have little doubt Toronto GM Brian Burke is going to deal him this summer – maybe at the draft, or maybe after the kickoff of unrestricted free agency – because Kaberle represents one of the few attractive trade chips he has.
Hey Adam, I know you believe fighting has no place in hockey. But can you tell me you didn't take at least a little bit of satisfaction out of Evander Kane one-punching Matt Cooke?
After the Marc Savard incident – and in that particular game – I'd say Cooke certainly deserved it. Of course, I write this before there's any news of an injury he may have sustained, but I still think it's pretty awesome.
Jordan Jungwirth, Saskatoon, Sask.
I’ve never argued that getting even doesn’t have its upside or feel good. In fact, anyone who tells you revenge is less than sweet just isn’t tasting it right.
That said, here’s the problem with it: When you allow people to exact retribution on their own, you open the door for a revolving door of revenge that can escalate and end in a Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore scenario that victimizes everyone involved.
If the NHL would lower the boom on line-pushers like Cooke by properly suspending them, there would be no need for vigilante justice. But this league’s management doesn’t have the collective spine to stand up for what’s right; it prefers to let its athletes do the punishing for them.
That is nothing more than corporate turtling – and it always stinks, no matter how much one weasel might have it coming.
Hey Adam, have you heard about the ban on road hockey in Enfield, N.S.? The cops can give you tickets. I think that’s messed up. What do you and your co-workers think about it?
Cole Nicholson, Beaver Bank, N.S.
That’s very seriously messed up, my good man. It sounds like it began because some neighborhood has too many crotchety old coots who can’t remember what it was like to be young and carefree.
Here in Toronto, there are also some warnings against street hockey in certain residential areas – and every so often, some miserable soul squeals extra-loudly to the coppers in hopes of turning their block into an outdoor library.
Thankfully, common decency usually wins out in those situations. So I’m sure the reasonable adults in your neck of the woods will eventually straighten the situation out and give the streets back to the kids.
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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.
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