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Will the Penguins win the Cup?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are 5-4-1 and sit third in the Eastern Conference. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are 5-4-1 and sit third in the Eastern Conference. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hey journalism school kids: ever wanted to see what an opening paragraph for a reader mailbag looks like? Trick question – you’re already looking at one!

(Okay, you try and come up with new and exciting opening paragraphs for a reader mailbag. It’s easier to get Ilya Kovalchuk to arrive for team meetings on time.)

Have a safe and happy Halloween. Oh, and if you’re in Niagara Falls and see me wandering around the city Saturday night, do not ask me if I’m dressed as a zombie. For the last time, I’m Scottish and I hang out in hockey arenas for most of the year – my skin is supposed to be this translucent.

Adam, in the last Oilers/Flames game that went to a shootout, Tom Renney sent out Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle and Dustin Penner. Why? It's really not likely they'll contend for a playoff spot, so why not just put the kids out and let them have fun and entertain everyone?
Doug Merchant, Edmonton


Doug,

I see your point – I mean, why don’t more coaches just admit it’s “really not likely” their team will contend for a playoff spot as of November and start contesting games strictly with the fans in mind? It’s “really not likely” that most NHLers willingly sacrifice their health for the sake of winning games, right?

I’m for fan entertainment as much as anybody, but a good chunk of any entertainment factor comes from winning. Besides, are you saying Hemsky and Eberle aren’t fun? I can’t entertain that viewpoint.

Hi Adam. I have been hearing more and more doom-and-gloom rumors about a potential NHL lockout after the 2012 season; most recent being Alex Radulov signing an extension to stay in the KHL until after a potential labor dispute.

Do you think we will see yet another lockout in the very near future? If they did shut down another season I think it would really hurt the already struggling teams, if not it would ruin them. How do you think it would affect the league if another strike were to happen?
Ryan Wick, Victoria, B.C.


Hi Ryan,

I’m still cautiously optimistic the NHL and NHL Players’ Association will yield to their better natures and figure out a way to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement without a work disruption. There is no single issue out there that’s worth missing so much as a single regular season game – and any attempt by Gary Bettman and the owners to paint their efforts as “fan friendly” will rightfully be met with skepticism and derision.

There are hockey people out there who are more pessimistic, as they believe Bettman will be just as aggressive in negotiations as he was in 2004-05, only this time, he’ll be fighting champion prize fighter Donald Fehr.

Considering the league emerged from the last lockout with better attendance and higher revenues, I don’t think anyone can make an air-tight argument another work stoppage would be the death of the NHL. But nobody would argue such a strategy is good for the game, either.

Oh Adam, your example photo of checking from behind had to be a Flyer, didn't it? You’re still hanging onto the “Broad Street Bully” Flyers.

I have been a season ticket holder since 1969 and marched in our two Stanley Cup parades. I used to think you were cool. I have lost respect for you. Too bad, your loss.
Diane Donadio Korman, Medford, N.J.


Oh Diane,

A couple things: First, touchy, touchy – that wasn’t even my blog you’re referring to!

Second, if you’re the type of person who would choose a photo or make any editorial decision based solely on personal feelings – or who thinks that we would – you wouldn’t be working at THN.

I guess some people are inclined to hang on to a persecution complex. Too bad, their loss.

Adam, I know the Penguins have a strong team and will for a while, but do you see a Çup for them in the next two or three years or this year? Also do you think there will be any staff changes in Pittsburgh soon?
Spencer Camus, Summerside, P.E.I.


Spencer,

As long as the Penguins have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and a decent supporting cast, they have the potential to win another Cup.

As for staff changes, I doubt GM Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma are going anywhere anytime soon, but beyond that, there will almost assuredly be some degree of turnover in Pittsburgh’s management structure. However, that’s true for all teams.

Hi Adam. Do you think a new arena for small market teams (Islanders, etc.) will increase their value and their position in the NHL? Also, crazy question, but do you think there will ever be an NHL team in Alaska? It would be pretty cool to watch, but travel might be a problem.
Nik Raj, New Delhi, India


Hi Nik,

Ninety-nine times out of 100, a new building will help a team’s status (the exception can be found when an aspect of the new building actually hurts the franchise’s long-term status, as we’ve seen when the Coyotes put a rink in Glendale, Ariz.).

An NHL team in Alaska sounds intriguingly exotic. However, the practical realities – a big enough population, both in terms of the public and corporate business interests – make it an extreme long shot.

That said, anywhere you can see Russia from your back porch seems like a magical place to me, so maybe there’s a better chance than I imagine there is.

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 Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.

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