Zach Parise is in the last year of a deal that pays him a cap hit of $3.125 million per season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
I don’t know about you, but when I saw Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau cursing like the late Sam Kinston on HBO’s 24/7 series the other day, I was mortified.
I mean, who would have thought that, in our ultra-courteous and graceful society, someone would feel the need to say something other than “oh fuzz and gee willikers, darn it all to heck!” when things aren’t going their way? It’s as if language has no inherent taboos other than the arbitrary ones we assign to certain words.
Anyhow, this is my last (censored) mailbag until the (censored) week of Jan. (censored) 10. But the (censored) THN guys who aren’t on (censored) vacation will be helping out, so keep sending in your (censored) questions. And a safe and happy (censored) holiday to you and yours.
Adam, when do you think we will see the 100-plus point production that is expected of Evgeni Malkin? Do you think playing with Sidney Crosby will be better for him and the Penguins?
Noah Knopf, New York
Malkin has three goals in his past two games, so maybe we’re seeing him begin to break out of his funk. He’s feeling the heat partially because of his $8.7 million cap hit and partially because of his past successes; people think he should be dominating every night.
That’s not a completely unfair expectation. However, the guy is 24 years old, playing in Crosby’s growing shadow and has played a ton of hockey the past four seasons. Given that combination, I can understand not maintaining the pace Malkin was on.
Do I think him playing with Crosby will be good for him? I think playing with Crosby would be good for any hockey player who ever laced up skates. If Jordan Staal can get healthy this season, there likely will be another adjustment period for Crosby, Malkin and the team.
But I doubt Malkin’s skills just disappeared one day. He’ll be fine.
Adam, with Zach Parise becoming a restricted free agent after the season, will a team try and sign him to an offer sheet? Let's say Toronto throws an offer at him that the Devils can't match. Would the Leafs have to surrender two first round picks, a second and a third as compensation?
Ryan Niemela, Saskatoon, Sask.
If Parise makes it to the summer without a contract extension from the Devils, there will be a bunch of teams fighting to tender him an offer sheet. The compensation you’re mentioning would be surrendered for a player who signed for between $6.1- and $7.7-million. If a team has to offer more than that to land Parise as an RFA, the compensation jumps to four first round draft picks. For clubs owing four draft selections in the same round as compensation, they must have those picks available in the next five drafts. Clubs also cannot acquire picks to then use as compensation.
That said, having watched Lou Lamoriello work his magic on the league for as long as I have, I’d bet you anything Parise never makes it to the market. Some might say Lamoriello would be wrapping himself and the franchise even tighter in a salary cap straightjacket by signing Parise, but I think he’d demote half the team to the American League to get under the cap and keep one of the best two-way players in the game.
If I’m wrong and Parise is allowed to move on, the Devils’ woeful offense this season will look like the 1980s-era Oilers in comparison. But I’m not wrong. He’s staying.
Hey Adam! Why doesn't Nikolai Khabibulin just suck it up, be a man and do his time? It's not like the Oilers are fighting for a playoff spot and besides, even if they were, he would already be out by now. And just what are the rules regarding paying a player who is behind bars? Is this the real reason Khabibulin appealed his sentence?
Appeal or not, this is not the kind of person I want to have in my dressing room and at age 37 (38 next month), he's not exactly a guy you're going to build your team around. Why don't the Oilers just bury him in the minors like they did with Sheldon Souray? They could have kept both Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson for less than they're paying Khabibulin. How this guy is still in the NHL is beyond me.
Steve Dicker, Paradise, Nfld.
I think your compassion tank is running on fumes. Why doesn’t he suck it up and just go to jail? Uh, would you? Or would you do what everyone else does – hire an attorney and defend yourself as the law allows?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to play down the dangers of drunk driving. But I think people make mistakes all the time and are made to pay a penance. Once (or if) Khabibulin serves his sentence, he should be allowed to return to his profession.
The standard NHL player's contract includes a clause regarding "conduct detrimental to the best interest of the club"; while many would say the goaltender clearly violated that clause, the Oilers wouldn’t gain much by fighting Khabibulin in court.
Fans have a right be upset with Khabibulin for his irresponsible actions. But they ought to be more upset with Oilers management for signing the (at the time) 36-year-old to a contract some knew was a mistake from Day 1.
Hey Adam. Just finished reading the Pat Burns Legacy; you may want to throw a "shout out" to colon cancer screening, as Pat died of metastatic colon cancer. I'm a practicing gastroenterologist and if you are over 50 and reading this you may want to "get checked" with a colonoscopy – it could save your life! Best regards.
Jeff Schneider MD, Weston, Fla.
Great point. I’m 38 and had my first precautionary colonoscopy this year; the procedure was quick and undeserving of the stigma it receives among overly proud and/or juvenile men.
Guys shouldn’t get checked out of respect to Burns. They should do so out of respect to their families. Click here to find out how.
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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