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Perfect game

Nicklas Lidstrom recently re-upped with the Red Wings for one more year. (Getty Images)

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Nicklas Lidstrom recently re-upped with the Red Wings for one more year. (Getty Images)

Let’s start this mailbag with a non-hockey note: By now you’ve probably heard about Major League Baseball’s major league controversy over the non-perfect perfect game by Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga – and the amazing amount of class and grace Galarraga showed toward umpire Jim Joyce who admitted he blew the call.

How does the incident apply to the hockey world? Only insofar as it should shame the game’s coaching hotheads, perpetual on-ice complainers and overzealous fans into exhibiting a little more decorum when an official’s decisions don’t go their way. Are you listening, Alexandre Burrows/Kerry Fraser-loathing Leafs fans/Jim Playfair?

Yo Adam, do you think the Red Wings made a smart decision signing Nick Lidstrom to a one-year deal? He’s 40 and was burned many times in the playoffs.
Braeden Nicholson, Chatham, Ont.


Yo Braeden,

If re-signing the greatest European player in hockey history – and one of the best defensemen the NHL has ever seen – haunts Red Wings GM Ken Holland in any way next season, not only will I eat my own hat, I’ll eat the hats collected from every hat trick Lidstrom gets “burned” on.

Adam, this is my third (and final) attempt to get some response. I am 77 so I no longer play hockey. I used to play goalie for junior and intermediate teams in the U.K. in the 1950s.

In those days we used to change ends midway through the third period. Seems like a good idea – particularly if you were moving away from the home fans’ end! So – when did this change? And why?

How about a response this time?
Bernard Dandridge, London, U.K.


Bernard,

No need to be touchy, my friend. I get dozens of questions each and every day – not just from nether-region “enhancers” and people who want to help me collect my lottery winnings – and I simply can’t get to the grand majority of them.

As far as I’m aware, the NHL never has had any team switch ends midway through the third period – with the exception of the franchises who played in recent Winter Classic outdoor games in Chicago and Buffalo.

Adam, I want to know how the Capitals can improve this off-season. Obviously with new goaltending, but who? Jaroslav Halak? Evgeni Nabokov? Should we let Jose Theodore walk?

I love my Caps, but if we can’t get an answer for our goaltending, I'm not sure if we can improve for the 2010-11 playoffs.
John Principe, Shedden, Ont.


John,

I wouldn’t want Nabokov – and as I mentioned last week, if Halak is allowed to leave Montreal, they should send the guys with the white coats and human-sized nets after Canadiens management.

Theodore’s departure is all but assured. My ideal replacement for him is former Stars backstopper Marty Turco. Super dude, tons of experience and he won’t be out to break the bank when it comes to a contract.

Adam, does a player’s performance during the playoffs have any affect on Hart Trophy voting or are the votes all counted at the end of the regular season? Also, do playoff goals/points count in a player's career totals? Thanks,
Oktavijan Minanov, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.


Oktavijan,

Hart Trophy ballots are collected at the end of the regular season, meaning nothing a player does in the playoffs affects voting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

Playoff goals and points do count toward a player’s career totals, but most media accounts will separate regular season and playoff numbers into their own categories.

Hello Adam, Wouldn't it help increase scoring if a team wasn't allowed to ice the puck when it’s shorthanded and actually had to carry the puck out of the zone?
Al Kehler, Winnipeg


Hello Al,

Your idea is one that’s been broached on a number of occasions, but it doesn’t seem to be on the radar of the GMs who ostensibly control modifications to existing rules as well as the introduction of new ones.

Here’s to hoping Brendan Shanahan looks into the concept at the NHL’s research and development camp in August. However, I suspect he’ll be more interested in examining innovative coaching strategies and equipment tweaks rather than an aspect of the game that has been around virtually forever.

Adam, do you think Buffalo has any chance of getting a decent return for a possible trade of Tim Connolly given his injury history and his awful performance in this year’s first round debacle against the Bruins?
Brian Pesci, Lackawanna, N.Y.


Brian,

Nope. And that isn’t an indictment of Connolly’s skill set. It’s the reality for a player who has missed 176 games in the past five seasons and will earn $4.5 million a year until the end of the 2011 season.

Look at Jason Spezza – a phenomenal talent, but one with a large salary, lengthy contract term and limited success in the playoffs. There won’t be many teams stepping up to acquire him – and if they did, you can bet they’d be dumping at least one untoward contract in Ottawa’s hands in return.

Same goes for Connolly. You might find a taker, but just finding one is probably half the value you can expect in a trade.

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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