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Will the Panthers make the playoffs?

Michael Frolik, Stephen Weiss and David Booth are the new forwards core in Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Michael Frolik, Stephen Weiss and David Booth are the new forwards core in Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the next three weeks – this is very tough – I'm going to take my talents on vacation. Therefore, there will be no Screen Shots column until Aug. 19; no blog ‘til Aug. 23; and no Proteau-penned mailbag till Aug. 20.

However, there still will be THN mailbags answered by our non-vacationing staff during my absence, so keep on sending your questions to the usual location. Otherwise, have yourself a fun and safe last-week-of-July/first-two-weeks-of-August.

Hi Adam. A few teams – such as the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Thrashers, Panthers and Lightning – have somewhat recently named a new GM, hoping it would help to build a winning franchise. Who are the three GMs of the NHL you consider the best and you would trust anytime to rebuild your team? Thanks!
Chris Sanchez, Montreal


Hi Chris,

Good question. My picks, in no order of preference:

1. Ken Holland. Knows how to delegate, endless amounts of patience with pestering media – oh, and regularly wins Stanley Cups. Very few GMs with that particular skill set.

2. Lou Lamoriello. Other than mythical Medusa, the only person who can turn people into stone by staring at them. Ferociously competitive and will drop the hammer on anyone in his own organization who strays from the flock. I’d trust this guy not only to run a hockey team, but any business.

3. David Poile. Does in Nashville what Glen Sather claimed he was doing in his post-Gretzky Edmonton years: stay competitive on a budget. Would love to see what he could do with an ATM for an owner.

Hey Adam, is it just me or is Alexander Frolov the perfect fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs? He's big, young, plays left wing and can score. This is exactly what Brian Burke is looking for.

I know that everything is being held up by the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, but could you tell me if Burke has shown any interest in Frolov?
Pat B., Gadshill, Ont.


Hey Pat,

No, I’m pretty sure it’s you. Frolov can indeed score, but the questions about his competitiveness remain. Every time I’ve asked someone close to the Leafs about Frolov, I’ve been laughed at for the question.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s completely out of the realm of possibility he winds up in Toronto. But if that happened, it would signify Toronto’s desperation for help on the wings and not Frolov’s fit with Burke’s blueprint.

Sup Adam? I am wondering if other hockey fans feel that hockey is always shafted by other sports fans.

I mean, I watched the ESPY awards the other night and I only saw one hockey reference. For the category of best male athlete they had two basketball players, a football player, a baseball player and a NASCAR driver. No hockey player.

I am not a Sidney Crosby fan by any stretch of the imagination, but he is an amazing player. Also in their "best come from behind win" category, I thought, "Oh, maybe they will nominate the Flyers" – after all, they came back from a three-game deficit against Boston in the second round. Then in Game 7 of that series they were down 3-0 and came back and won the game!

I know that ESPN picked the nominees and fans vote, but come on ESPN, give hockey a chance!
Diana Cripps, Newark, Del.


Er, sup Diana?

I used to love awards shows, but I eventually realized the grand majority of them are contrived, self-congratulatory nonsense.

Nothing against the good people at ESPN, but that company’s awards show is meant to entertain, not to identify the actual best in any one line of work.

(I also loved comedian Bill Maher’s tweet about the ESPYS: Espy awards – is anything stupider? "For best football team..." The team that won the Super Bowl!!! sports (don’t) need awards we know who won!)

Hope that makes you feel better. And if not, be happy with your knowledge that hockey is superior to other sports. Those sucker MCs (sorry, listening to a lot of rap as I was writing this) know not what they’re missing!
 
Hello Adam. As I'm sure many fans are aware, TSN recently ran a six-part series entitled "Why Not Canada?" I found the first five segments to be entertaining and informative. Then I went to watch part 6 and found that it was blocked; I got a popup reading "Canada Only".

Sure, it is TSN's prerogative to restrict their content however it sees fit and maybe it isn't your place to comment on another media entity's decisions, but how is this helping to grow the game? Wouldn't there be some major outcry from Canadians if ESPN blocked content from them?

It seems that despite being a huge hockey fan, lifelong Canadiens supporter, regular TSN.ca visitor, and regular TSN viewer (thanks to DirecTV CenterIce), I'm being discriminated against because I live on the wrong side of the border. As if it doesn't already suck enough being a hockey fan in the U.S., they just have to make it that little bit worse.

So, for your readers who may be similarly afflicted, here is a YouTube link to part 6. From this point on I'll watch my Habs on CBC or RDS when possible and get my daily web-fix from thn.com.

Thanks for allowing me to vent and any insight to the logic behind this restriction will be appreciated.
Chad McGinn, Shenandoah, Pa.


Hello Chad,

To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t hang the blame on TSN. Thanks to broadcasting regulations, they probably have no choice but to geo-block non-Canadians from watching.

The same travesty has befallen Canadians who want to follow U.S. TV via the Hulu site – and though I would never advocate you breaking the law by seeking out websites that help you get around the geo-blocking issue, they certainly are out there as a potential, illegal solution.

Hey Adam, What did you think of the Flames getting Jay Feaster as Darryl Sutter’s assistant GM? I liked the move, but I thought it came too late in the off-season for him to have an impact this year.
Logan Gordon, Calgary


Hey Logan,

I thought Feaster was a fantastic hire for Calgary. He’s widely respected in the GM community – and he’ll be the perfect balm for reporters tired of Sutter’s “what, me worry?” act.

Not sure if I agree he can’t make an impact for this year. Even if he only acts as a sounding board for hockey decisions right away, that still could be the difference between success and, for example, another Dion Phaneuf disaster of a trade.

My only problem with Feaster in Calgary? No more Feaster-blogging for THN.com. I know I speak for everyone in our editorial department when I say what a genuine pleasure he was to work with, but we wish him luck.

Adam, as a new fan of the Florida Panthers, I'm very optimistic about Dale Tallon as the new GM and having the core of David Booth, Stephen Weiss, Cory Stillman and Bryan McCabe kept together over the summer.

But what do the Panthers have to accomplish in order to make the playoffs next season? Will the arrivals of Erik Gudbranson, Jacob Markstrom and Dennis Wideman help at all? And what is going on with Tomas Vokoun?
Stuart Trus, Ottawa


Stuart,

With Tallon aboard – and with a good collection of still-developing talent – you should be optimistic. However, I think they’re going to be up against it to compete for a playoff spot next season.

That’s not to say, if everyone stays healthy, they couldn’t be in the mix of the five-to-seven teams that always seem to be in the hunt for a seventh or eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. But look at their division: Washington is still going to win the Southeast; Tampa Bay has reloaded in a major way; Carolina was one of the league’s hotter teams for the latter half of last season; and Atlanta also has a decent complement of talent to boast of.

See what I mean? It’s possible the Panthers could shock the hockey world and do some damage this coming season. But there will be few, if any expectations that they do so.

Follow Adam's hockey tweets at twitter.com/TheHockeyNews, and his non-hockey observations at twitter.com/ProteauType.

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears regularly, 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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