The NHL Awards have played well in Las Vegas, but would a team? (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
Hey there. This is my final mailbag until after Labor Day, but my THN colleagues will continue answering your questions while I’m gone. So keep those questions coming – and have a great (remainder of the) summer.
I saw your Twitter post about an NHL team in Vegas and had this idea: Neither the Phoenix Coyotes nor the proposed Las Vegas team have enough fans to buy tickets for 41 home games per year. Why don't those cities share a team, with 20-21 games in each? Call them the Desert Dogs. I realize it would take two NHL-size arenas, but that's what they're talking about anyway, and wouldn't it be better if those rinks were full 20 nights a year instead of half-full 41 nights a year?
Ryan McCormick, Vancouver
It’s an interesting proposition, but there’s a reason why it hasn’t been tried before. In a sports world that is all about tribalism, most fans want to know a team belongs to them and them alone. That’s why, for example, Toronto’s experiment with an NFL team – bringing in the Buffalo Bills a couple times each season – has been an abject failure.
And think of the logistical issues a team would face if it split its season between two cities. Players, staff and management would have to maintain two different residences. Who would pay for that? And let’s say the team makes the playoffs; which city would get to host the home games? You would erase any goodwill in the location you didn’t choose. For every benefit, there would be a drawback.
Do you think Mark Messier left the Rangers because he was not named coach? Mark was a great player, but my thinking is he would not be a great coach.
John Bolger, Leland, N.C.
Yes, it was clear Messier left the Blueshirts organization because longtime friend and GM Glen Sather spurned him in favor of Alain Vigneault as his new bench boss. But most people I’ve spoken with believe Sather made the right choice. The Rangers are built for now and the stakes are too high to allow Messier to find his way in the coaching game. Besides, as his good friend Wayne Gretzky showed in Phoenix, it’s not at all easy to make the transition from NHL superstar to effective coach.
I don’t fault Messier for throwing his name in the hat for the job. You don’t become one of the sport’s all-time greatest players without a healthy sense of self-worth. However, he has to realize most teams will want a coach who has had some legitimate experience in the position. If he feels a minor-league job is beneath him, that’s on Messier, not Sather or the Rangers.
The Leafs have a young defenseman they drafted fifth overall last year named Morgan Rielly. As is well documented, he is too good for junior, not ready for the NHL and too young for the AHL. So how about this? Send him to Europe for a year. Big ice will teach him positioning which every young defenseman needs and he'll be playing with and against men. Thoughts?
Stephen J. Holodinsky, Simcoe, Ont.
I don’t think that’s a realistic solution and here’s why: it’s far more difficult for Leafs brass to monitor Rielly’s development if he’s on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, why would you want to have him skate on an ice surface with different dimensions than the one he’ll eventually play on with Toronto? Positioning on smaller North American ice is not easier once you’ve played in Europe.
I think the Leafs will give Rielly a long look at training camp, give him the maximum nine games he can play at the NHL level without burning a year of eligibility off his major-league contract and make a decision at that point. It’s not as if Toronto has the league’s deepest defense corps, so it’s entirely possible he could stick around. But there’s nothing that guarantees a return to junior hockey would stunt or ruin his development. He’s still 19 years old and it’s better to be safe than sorry in regard to his future.
I think I have a signed hockey stick from the Cape Breton Oilers that won the Calder Cup, if not "the" Calder Cup stick. How do I get it authenticated and see what value might it have? My family won it in a ticket raffle in the 90s and I put it in the basement and forgot about it. If you have any ideas please let me know.
Wendy Mackenzie, Sydney, N.S.
I’ll give you my standard suggestion when it comes to pricing out any type of hockey-related treasure: contact at least one reputable sports memorabilia dealer, describe in detail what you’ve got and ask for an approximate value.
Dealers work with this stuff for a living, so you’re unlikely to get a better appraisal anywhere. You might not like the answer they give you, but at least you can make an informed decision on whether or not it holds more sentimental than monetary value.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.