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Canadiens playoff bound?

Carey Price is now the unquestioned No. 1 in Montreal. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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Carey Price is now the unquestioned No. 1 in Montreal. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Kovalchuk. Kaberle. Coyotes ownership. There – that’s the last you’ll see of any of those words in today’s mailbag. Hope everyone has a safe and joyous Labor Day weekend.

Adam, do you think the Canadiens will make the playoffs? If so, do you think they will have more success with Carey Price in net?
Cale Pierce, Charlottetown, P.E.I.


Cale,

My own pre-season predictions will be posted online in a couple weeks, so you’ll have to wait till then to find out exactly where I’m slotting the Habs this season. But I will say I’m comfortable with our magazine’s collective pick of eighth in the East for Montreal.

In other words, I think the Canadiens will be among a group of about eight teams that will be fighting it out for one of the lower playoff seeds in the East. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them finish fifth to eighth, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if they were on the outside of the post-season looking in.

As for their clear-cut No. 1 goalie – it’s going to be rather difficult for him to have as much success individually as Jaroslav Halak had last spring. But the trading of Halak showed the amount of confidence Habs management has in Price; the question now is whether he can respond knowing that there is more pressure on him than ever.

Hey Adam, what do you think of media coverage of the NHL? I know the news business is in a terrible spot these days and many of the biggies have scaled back. Has the blogosphere sufficiently started covering the game or are we running the risk of too many empty, poorly reported rumors?
Justin W., Bellefonte, Pa.


Hey Justin,

This is a hot topic, isn’t it? For the most part, I think Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes said all that needed to be said about bloggers vs. mainstream media in a terrific column this week. There’s a lot of crap stinking up the web landscape, but there are many great writers who have come to the fore thanks to the opportunities the blogosphere opened up.

To that, I’d add just one thing: while I know it’s nice and in keeping with etiquette to reference the original source of any report, the fact of the matter is that this is a cut-throat, competitive business we’re in. As such, there have been many times THN has been first to report a story, only to have the story referenced later as a “published report” that didn’t acknowledge our brand.

That’s not ideal, but that never became an issue worth drawing much attention to. And I think the same attitude should be adopted by reputable bloggers.

So what if one of the media monoliths haven’t got any props for you? By building your own credibility among your own reader base, you’ll command the same type of respect that Puck Daddy and Paul Kukla, among others, now command.

In a way, this issue reminds me of Toronto’s maddeningly enduring fixation with being called a “world-class city” along the lines of New York or Paris. If you have to keep asking – if you fixate on demanding that others pay attention to you – you’re making yourself look awful backwater-ish in the process.

Same thing goes for the blogging community. Sure, it might be fun to take shots at veteran media types (and by the way, I worked a bit with Dave Fuller at the Toronto Sun during my journalism-school internship and hated seeing a good man vilified as he was), but in doing so, all you’re highlighting are your own insecurities.

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Thick skins, people, thick skins!

Hey Adam, I was reading that current Avalanche owner Stanley Kroenke was asked by the NFL commissioner to sell his other sports teams in order to buy the St. Louis Rams. I read also he turned ownership over to his son, but could Colorado be looking for a new owner soon?
Joe Cordova, Burnaby, B.C.


You’re right – according to NFL regulations, no franchise owner can also own a team in another league (at least, one in a city with a competing NFL team). You’re also right that Kroenke intends to transfer day-to-day control of the Avalanche (and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets) to his son, Josh Kroenke.

That transfer hasn’t officially happened yet, but the NFL gave Kroenke until December 2014 to comply with its cross-ownership regulations. So he’s got some time to figure things out – and I would suggest that not-so-pressing deadline also tells us the Kroenke clan has little interest in selling the Avs in the present or near-future.

Hi Adam, I have Tim Thomas in my fantasy league with his dreaded salary at $5 million. Do you think it is a good idea to keep him? Or is Tuukka Rask the real deal this year? Rask buckled under the pressure in the playoffs last year; does he have what it takes to keep Thomas out? Do you think Thomas will be traded? Thank you for your time.
Drew Montpetit, Montreal


Hi Drew,

I’ll leave the fantasy hockey angles to THN.com's fantasy hockey guru Darryl Dobbs. But I’m one of many who think Rask is fantastic and in no-way a one-season wonder.

That said, people shouldn’t discount the likelihood of Thomas pushing him for the No. 1 role; the veteran and Vezina winner is a highly driven individual who’ll be intent on rebounding from a so-so 2009-10 season.

Of course, that’s the problem – if Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli wants to trade Thomas and that massive salary, he’ll need him to play very well. But if Thomas is playing well for any extended stretch, it almost certainly will mean Rask is under-performing or injured.

Either way – and unless another team is dealing with a catastrophic injury to their goalie – I think the Bruins and Thomas are stuck with each other this year. Whether that results in a spike in his stats remains to be seen.

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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