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Will Ottawa be back in 2011-12?

The Ottawa Senators sit 13th in the East with 74 points. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Ottawa Senators sit 13th in the East with 74 points. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ask yourself: have I submitted a question to the THN.com mailbag yet? Then ask yourself: why am I letting some random hockey writer tell me what to ask myself? While you’re thinking up answers for yourself, enjoy the questions and responses below.

Adam: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan in Anaheim...what would be the hype around these three gentlemen if they comprised the top line on the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Tim Irvin, Los Angeles


Tim: Are you kidding? Those gentlemen would get police traffic escorts anywhere they drove in the city, at any time of day or night, even if it was only to zip over to the 7/11 for some beef jerky. The provincial legislature would keep three seats open for them to sit down in at any time and create laws all by themselves. The current “yours to discover” slogan on Ontario license plates would be changed to “RPG - It Doesn’t Just Stand For Rocket-Propelled Grenade anymore!”

But here’s something to consider: how well would the trio thrive in a city where there is more media coverage for an open practice than Anaheim gets for a first round playoff series? Hype is one thing, but its underbelly is the type of choking pressure that has hamstrung more than a few NHLers who have worn a Maple Leafs jersey. If Getzlaf, Ryan or Perry were able to thrive in spite of that pressure, they’d be deserving of all those benefits.

Adam, I was wondering what the Red Wings would do if Nick Lidstrom retired this summer. Would they give an offer sheet to a restricted free agent like division rival Shea Weber or stay in-house with what they have (Kronwall, Rafalski, et al.)
Matt Smith, Alpena, S.D.


Matt,

The Red Wings are projected to have some $12.5 million in available salary cap space in the off-season (possibly more, if the salary cap rises as expected), but with only 15 players signed for 2011-12, GM Ken Holland likely isn’t in a position to go after Weber.

Besides, unless Detroit can conjure up a huge-money deal, it’s a virtual certainty the Preds are going to match any RFA offer sheet. Far more probable for the Wings is an increased reliance on Kronwall, Rafalski and Brad Stuart.

Adam, how do you think the Senators will do next year and who should they draft?
Sam Norwood, Westport, Ont.


Sam,

I didn’t like the Sens as a playoff team this season and even after their late-season improvement, I still don’t think they’ll be in the post-season mix in 2011-12.

Now, they may make enough off-season moves to change my opinion, but even with a top draft pick - and, depending on where they draft, I think they’ll look to select a forward - I don’t believe there’s enough depth either on the NHL roster or in the system to sustain them as a playoff team.

Adam, recently Raffi Torres was assessed a five minute elbowing penalty and a game misconduct as well as a four-game suspension. If he hit Jordan Eberle in the head, which it certainly looks like he did, why did Eberle stay on the ice? He went down for a brief period after the hit; he didn't bounce right back up. What happened to the NHL's new protocol on head shots? Isn't the whole point of the protocol that players who receive head shots don't necessarily look injured, and do need further diagnosis? I know it's already been implemented in the league, why is this not a perfect example? Or did the NHL drop the ball?
Luke Pangman, Vancouver


Luke,

As we continue to see, the NHL’s approach to head shots and concussions is a work in progress. I mean, I know I wasn’t the only one semi-alarmed to see the league have to mandate that a doctor (and not a team trainer) be the person diagnosing an injured player, but that is the state of the operation.

On the one hand, it does seem as if the NHL is taking head shots more seriously; without a doubt, Torres would likely have escaped any punishment in recent years. However, the true test will be what the league does the next time Torres runs afoul of the law. Will his punishment ratchet up dramatically, or will it be more of a Trevor Gillies “the-same-suspension-you-got-last-time-plus-one-more-game” debacle?

Moreover, will that type of punishment - effectively six games, if you believe the NHL’s system in which one playoff game counts as two regular season games - be applied consistently to all players next year? The answers to those questions are a much better barometer of the league’s dedication to stamping out an epidemic.

Hi Adam,

We know the playoffs are a grind for players, but what about reporters? You guys have to watch every playoff game on both coasts, right? That’s got to be a burden after a while, I’d think. Am I right? Do reporters have to train to get yourself through it?
Jeff Treadwell, Livonia, Mich.


Hi Jeff,

Reporters? Train? You’ve got a future in comedy, my man. The only thing reporters are trained to do is run from a dead start at the beginning of each intermission to get to the ice cream fridge while supplies last.

Now, seriously: it is an increased workload, for sure. But you’d never say it was a burden to be watching and writing about a sport you love. So I won’t.

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.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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