Jonathan Toews, John Madden, Dave Bolland and Dustin Byfuglien exit the plane at O'Hare airport in Chicago. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Hearty congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks players and management on their NHL championship.
But heartier congrats to Hawks fans – be they tattered-and-worn survivors of the BillWirtzocalypse years, or new fans of the team and the sport – for breathing such life into the organization over the past few years. Your next 365 days of bragging rights are well earned.
Speaking of those fans, we’ll start off with an email that breaks my hard-and-fast rule of being in question form – and in this case, of even requiring an answer. It is, however, an inspired missive from a regular reader who provides an insight into the palpable happiness a Stanley Cup can bring.
Adam, I thought I'd share the mood of Chicago on Friday morning. This place is going nuts. I have the good fortune of my office building being the literal starting point of the parade. While things don't officially begin for about 90 minutes, the sidewalks are full of people – unfortunate for those trying to get to work.
My office is on the 14th floor and I can hear people cheering and screaming below. Under normal circumstances, I will hear an ambulance or police siren and that's it.
While passionate about some things (my girlfriend, our dog, hockey, music and good beer), I don't find myself being extremely emotional. Having said that, I did have to choke back tears on my way into the office.
As happy as I am personally that Chicago won the Stanley Cup, that pales in comparison to the happiness I have for my parents, an uncle and a cousin who are the people that got me interested in hockey. I am also happy for the fans of Chicago and, of course, the team itself.
Regardless of which team you support, I truly wish everybody at some point gets to experience the joy and civic pride of a championship.
J.R. Remke, Chicago
Cool, eh? I especially appreciated his last line about hoping all fans get to experience that feeling. My thoughts exactly, J.R. Now let’s get to some questions:
Hi Adam. Do you think Chicago deserved to win the Stanley Cup?
Nathan Vercauteren, Chatham, Ont.
I think if Chicago had won any of their series in three, two, one or zero games, this could be a very interesting debate. Alas, the Hawks won the majority of their matchups and satisfy all technical requirements of being deserving champions.
Adam, I'm not trying to take anything away from Jonathan Toews, but when was the last time a Conn Smythe winner was a minus player in the playoffs?
Chris Champion, Lansing, Mich.
I’m with you. You can’t base a playoff MVP strictly on plus-minus – and Toews was a resolute leader and stepped up for the Hawks in different ways – but let’s face it: Duncan Keith got hosed in Conn Smythe voting.
Luckily, he will have a Cup on his resume (and I’m guessing a Norris Trophy) with which to console himself over the off-season.
Adam, my friends and myself are having a lot of discussions around placing Patrick Marleau as a left winger like he played this past season or as a center where he played most of his career.
I think if he stays in San Jose he will play left wing again, but if he goes to another team he will be a center more than likely. Help us out Adam, is Marleau a left winger or a center for 2010-2011?
Jeremy Campbell, Grand Bend, Ont.
Marleau is a natural center, but good players are good players in part because you can play them in a number of different scenarios and/or different positions. That’s one of the reasons Mike Richards made Team Canada’s 2010 Olympic team. Versatility counts in pro hockey, just as it does with any arm of the business.
One agent I spoke with recently speculated that Marleau will leave the Sharks, but stay in California by signing with Los Angeles.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi technically has the salary cap space to sign Marleau, although some will correctly point out that L.A. already has enough centers (Anze Kopitar, Michal Handzus and Jarret Stoll) under contract.
Nevertheless, Marleau showed he could thrive on the wing this season. He’s a more complete player than Ilya Kovalchuk – and I think he’d be a smarter, shorter investment this summer than the Russian sniper.
Adam, I have been a diehard Rangers fan for more years than I care to admit. Is there anything a fan can do to get some decent management in place for this organization? I just wish this franchise could function close to the level the Devils organization functions on. Is this asking too much?
Bob Senior, Utica, N.Y.
Under present management, I’m afraid it is asking too much.
I mean, when GM-president and Emperor-For-Life Glen Sather left his bunker in an undisclosed location in early June and said to the New York Post “I can tell you one thing – we are certainly not going to overpay for free agents,” Manhattan-area medical workers had to be placed on high alert and told to expect an epidemic of exploding heads among Rangers fans.
The reality is, New Jersey has had far more success than the Rangers because the guy at the top of the Devils has produced in terms of free agent signings, drafting and development, and trades – and the guy in charge of the Blueshirts has had at least as many failures as triumphs in all of those areas.
All you can do is work with your fellow Rangers fans and protest your way up the organizational ladder. But as long as ownership makes the GM’s office an accountability-free zone, there’s little chance the situation improves.
Adam, how come Montreal beat Pittsburgh and Washington, but not Philly?
Justin Moore, Oxford, N.S.
Because Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle don’t play as a unit for the Penguins or Capitals.
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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