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Secrets and lies

Tuukka Rask hasn't allowed too many past him in his rookie season. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Tuukka Rask hasn't allowed too many past him in his rookie season. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Count me among the multitudes demanding Jaroslav Halak’s name be engraved on the Conn Smythe Trophy this very second.

How is any still-playoff-active player going to top someone who virtually single-handedly eliminated the league’s best regular season team and its defending Stanley Cup champion? The only way I can see it happening is if Chicago’s Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane scores 10 goals in each of the next two series, then announces during an on-ice Cup celebration that they’re taking their lucrative contract extension and using it to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.

Otherwise, Halak has sewn that sucker up. Now, to your questions:

Adam, why do coaches often cover their mouths with their sleeves or papers when they talk to each other on the bench during a game? Do teams actually think their opponents hire lip-readers to try and decipher what they are saying?
David Karp, Vancouver


David,

Sure they do. Remember, we’re talking about NHL coaches – arguably the most paranoid, touchy members of the hockey community who aren’t posting wild-eyed missives on message boards or babbling in sports bars.

This is the same group who came up with the term “general body soreness” to describe Rick DiPietro’s suspected concussion.

Given that history of abject idiocy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a coach employ carrier pigeons to communicate with his players during games.

Adam, this past season there were six players who had played more than 1,000 games in the NHL with a single team: Mike Modano, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jarome Iginla, Martin Brodeur, Shane Doan and Daniel Alfredsson.

With Modano likely to retire and Lidstrom's future still unclear, this group is a dying breed. Are there any players you foresee playing their whole career with the same team?
Louis-Pierre Smith Lacroix, Quebec City, Que.


Louis-Pierre,

Oh, I think there could be quite a few current players who will wear just one uniform during their NHL days. We can start with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, as well as Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Eric Staal probably belongs in that group as well.

There are also NHLers likely to be stuck with one team for all the wrong (i.e. awful contract) reasons: Rick DiPietro has to be in that group, as does Vincent Lecavalier (despite all the trade rumors).

Hello Adam! Tuukka Rask, as we all know, has risen to great heights with Boston. However, the Toronto Maple Leafs could always find a way to acquire him.

Trading Jeff Finger, Rickard Wallin and Marty Turco to Boston for Rask and prospect Zach Hamill would bring them back to the good old days of the playoffs, right? Thanks for your response.
David Boles, Calgary


Hello David!

Not only would that trade bring the Leafs back to the post-season, it would also trigger a league-wide investigation into whether Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was a double-agent working for Toronto on the down-low.

I don’t want to be rude, but why on earth would Chiarelli trade a 23-year-old goalie who stole the starting job from last season’s Vezina Trophy winner? And why would pending unrestricted free agent Turco sign with the Leafs knowing he’d be traded to the Bruins? (On second thought, that’s the one part of your suggestion that makes sense.)

For the umpteenth time, I implore all mailbag readers/questioners to drop a dollop of rationality into every trade proposal forwarded my way. Unless you want me to go mach-10-sarcastic on you. In which case, delude away!

Hey Adam, I've had this on my mind for the last while now and was wondering if you could give me an answer, because I can't find one. Why is it that after being the worst GM in NHL history (e.g. Draft Day 2000 and Yashin, Alexei), Mike Milbury is allowed to speak his opinion on national television? Thanks,
Pat Duquette, Beloeil, QC


Hey Pat,

You’re not alone in your dislike of the former Islanders GM. I tend to disagree with most of Milbury’s views, which fall squarely in the conservative hockey traditionalist vein.

That said, I do appreciate Milbury’s candor in espousing his philosophies. As a card-carrying member of the hockey opinionazzi, I think we should be happy there are people like him who believe in themselves enough to lay bare their thoughts and emotions.

Too often, former coaches and GMs use the analyst’s chair as a vehicle to deliver them to another NHL job; because of that focus, they wind up mouthing weak platitudes and using valuable airtime to play the political game.

Say what you will about Milbury, but he’s no fence-sitter. The league and the sport need more people like him – if not to constantly defend the NHL, then certainly to help hockey fans crystallize their own viewpoints on the game.

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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