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Are the Canadiens on track?

RFA P.K. Subban is still in negotiations with Montreal over a new contract. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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RFA P.K. Subban is still in negotiations with Montreal over a new contract. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Adam will return to answer your queries next Friday, but in the meantime THN staffers step up to tackle questions about Marc Bergevin’s job in Montreal so far, the Calgary Flames’ chances next season, where players will play in a lockout and more.

Adam, do think Montreal’s new GM is helping the Habs?
Cameron Hache, Newmarket, Ont.


Cameron,

I’d say Marc Bergevin has been on the right path so far, though reportedly the P.K. Subban contract talks got off to an auspicious lowball start.

The Habs’ lineup doesn’t look too different right now (Brandon Prust subbing in for Brad Staubitz is the biggest upgrade), but the return of Andrei Markov from injury will do wonders for the blueline as a whole and Michel Therrien is a solid NHL coach. For me, the exciting thing for Montreal fans is that Bergevin – with a lot of credit going to director of player recruitment and development Trevor Timmins – had a lights-out draft in Pittsburgh, possibly the best in the NHL. Along with the talent Timmins had spotted in previous years, the Habs’ cupboard is overflowing with prospects who will be impact-ready by 2013-14.

So in essence, Bergevin is helping by not mucking up what was growing when he got there. Montreal will still be life-or-death to make the playoffs, but at least the Canadiens won’t flounder again. – RK

Hey Adam, why did Patrick Roy get first all-star team honors in 2002 when Jose Theodore won the Hart and Vezina trophies and only got second all-star team honors?
Levi Wall, Calgary


Hey Levi,

Love the name. Theodore’s seemingly bizarre first-team snub is the result of the voting process. The first and second all-star teams are voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, whereas the Vezina Trophy is voted on by the NHL’s 30 GMs. While the PHWA does vote on the Hart, the results in 2002 suggest the writers felt Theodore was the most valuable NHL player to his team, but that Patrick Roy was the league’s best goalie and thus more deserving of first-team status, even if the 30 GMs who gave Theodore the Vezina disagreed. – ML

With the Flames signing Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman, Roman Cervenka and expecting top prospect Sven Baertschi in the lineup next year, do you think Jay Feaster has the skill he promised Flames fans? Is it enough to take them to the playoffs?
Wade Pinno, Kindersley, Sask


Hey Wade,

I’m sure the Flames would tell you this was the skill they were after, but it’s not exactly what I would call high-end and still leaves Calgary on the bubble.

The potential to make the playoffs is there, just as it has been in the previous three seasons. None of the players acquired this summer is a game-changer that should launch the Flames to the post-season the way, say, Roberto Luongo might launch an outsider into the top eight. There are a lot of question marks here. Is Roman Cervenka a capable NHL scorer? As we’ve seen with players such as Fabian Brunnstrom, being a scorer in Europe doesn’t mean you’ll do the same in the NHL. Will Baertschi consistently produce over an 82-game schedule? He had a flashy end to the season last year, but youngsters tend to see their numbers fluctuate a little, so be cautious with expectations on him.

These moves did give the Flames more depth, though, an important factor you shouldn’t overlook. But all in all, Calgary still sticks out as a team that will finish anywhere from seventh to 11th. – RB

Hey Adam, if the NHL were to have a lockout in the upcoming season, what would the procedure be in regards to sending players to the American League? For example, would an NHL team be able to assign a player on a one-way contract to their AHL team for the season?
Mark Mottola, Pittsburgh


Hey Mark,

Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA, nor the AHL for that matter, knows the full answer to that one, after THN put in calls to all three. Players on two-way contracts would be eligible to play in the American League – that much we know. For NHLers on one-way deals, it’s wait-and-see at this point.

It’s important to note the AHL does have a veteran maximum rule that caps the number of vets (goalies are exempt) teams can dress. Teams must dress 12 skaters with no more than 260 professional regular season games played and a 13th with no more than 320. We do know NHLers would be free to seek temporary employment in Europe as they did in droves during the 2004-05 lockout. But let’s just hope we don’t learn the hard answer to your question come Sept. 15 when the current collective bargaining agreement expires. The league has too much riding on this coming season, including a mammoth Winter Classic and its concomitant HBO 24/7 series. – RS

Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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