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Young man's game

John Carlson, who scored the gold medal-winning goal at the world juniors this year, is now a key piece of Washington's blueline. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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John Carlson, who scored the gold medal-winning goal at the world juniors this year, is now a key piece of Washington's blueline. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The NHL Players’ Association hasn’t had the most impressive success-to-failure ratio the past few years, but its decision to rename the Lester B. Pearson Award in honor of union co-founder Ted Lindsay is fantastic.

But the NHLPA shouldn’t stop there. How ’bout a Ted Saskin Award for the NHLer most interested in email security? Or a Bob Goodenow Trophy for the player who allows extraordinary success to get to his head and winds up out of a job? Or The Alan Eagleson Rat-Fink Award for out-and-out treason? I have more where those came from, whoever’s Running Things With The Union These Days.

On to your curiosities:

Adam,

I haven’t seen your second round picks anywhere. Let’s have them!
Jack Harrington, Bismark, N.D.


Jack,

I was a rather ordinary 5-3 with my first round picks, so I implore you once again to not wager anything more than a pittance on my guesses.

Anyway: Pittsburgh in 6, Boston in 7, San Jose in 6 and Chicago in 7. Let the hate mail from Canadiens, Flyers, Red Wings and Canucks fans begin.

Hi Adam. Just for fun:

The Hockey Gods

I've called upon the hockey gods/And asked them for but one good bounce
So that we may beat the odds/And our opponents we can trounce.
Back and forth and up and down/To tilt the ice in our favor,
So in victory ours to crown/And from the Cup the chance to savor.
Oh Hockey Gods of great repute/What I would give to wear the ring;
I hope for our team you will root/And home the Cup you'll help us bring.
For ’tis my promise made to you/That I will give to my last ounce
All I've got to see us through/If you could give that one good bounce.
Dave MacLennan, Sooke, B.C.


Hi Dave.

There once was a man from Nantucket…

(just kidding…)

I enjoyed your words and rhymes/English classes were probably what you were best in;
But here’s the issue that grinds my gears/Your email doesn’t take the form of a question.

Hey Adam, I just received the April 26 issue of THN and was reading the Ask Adam question someone submitted about the Penguins getting “more calls in their favor.”

You disagreed with that suggestion. I obviously disagree with you as a Penguins fan and just as a hockey fan overall. Everyone gets the ups and downs and sometimes one team might seem to get more of one than the other. Since you gave the textbook answer to the question, I was wondering if you had any other comments to chip in? I would also like to point out about 20 minutes after I read the article I watched Semyon Varlamov play the puck outside of the trapezoid without getting called in Game 5 of that series.

Also, some doubt that Marc-Andre Fleury can take us to the Cup again after Game 1 against Ottawa. I disagree. Any thoughts on that?
Paul Schreiber, Pittsburgh


Hey Paul,

Nope, not really. If you honestly believe the NHL intentionally alters its officiating to suit the needs of marquee teams, that’s entirely your right. And I say follow up on that right – get your Woodward & Bernstein on and conduct an undercover investigation to unearth the proof that such a scheme exists.

If you can do that, I’ll be happy to stand corrected.

As for Fleury: it’s quite humorous to me that, less than a year after he was in net for Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup win, people are prepared to abandon him after one bad – OK, really bad – performance.

If you saw that game against the Senators, you saw the entire Penguins team still on end-of-regular-season autopilot and in need of a wakeup call. Fleury’s and Pittsburgh’s play improved after that, so I’ll reserve judgment on him until the playoffs are over.

Adam, a serious question – what is happening in junior hockey when it’s developing NHL-ready defensemen? In the past, a rookie could expect to spend years in the American League learning the craft. A quick look at kids like John Carlson, Drew Doughty and Tyler Myers, among others, shows that a lot of kids are better prepared than they once were.
David Johnston, Tonawanda, N.Y.


David,

I don’t think it’s only defensemen who are coming into the game at a younger age. Look no further than Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Steve Mason and others for proof that the NHL has become a young man’s league.

Part of the reason for that is because players are groomed for success from a much younger age and benefit from professional instruction and training far more than players did even a decade ago.

But the other part of this youth movement is financial; teams seem more prepared to take chances on developing players on entry-level contracts – and since players tell you that success at the NHL level is all about opportunities, it only makes sense that more youngsters take advantage of the increased opportunities they’re receiving.

Yo Adam, do you think that trading Sheldon Souray, Jason Strudwick and Shawn Horcoff to Montreal for Carey Price would be acceptable?
Shayne MacNeil, Calgary


Yo Shayne,

Let me guess – you’re an Oilers fan, right?

I think your proposed deal would be extremely acceptable if you’re an Edmonton supporter. But if you suggested it to Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier, I think he would buy a pair of white gloves just so he could pull off one of them, one finger at a time, and slap you across the face before challenging you to a duel.

Or maybe I’m wrong – maybe Gauthier would jump at the chance to acquire two bloated contracts and a depth defenseman in exchange for the biggest trade asset he’ll have this summer. If he does, let’s just hope he increases his security detail before consummating the deal.

Feeling Lucky? Subscribe or renew your subscription to The Hockey News and you and a guest could be going to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas!

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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