Off on a couple of week's holidays, Adam Proteau will return for his mailbag column on Sept. 7. In his absence several THN staffers have stepped up to answer your questions.
You picked my Blue Jackets last in the Central and well, I can't really disagree. I think they are on the right track now and it will take a little time to clean up the mess Doug MacLean left us in. No matter what he said now in Tampa, he got just about everything he wanted from the ownership here in Columbus. He just made stupid move after stupid move while he was here. By the way, Foote is not 137 years old, as you stated, he's only 136.
Do you think there is enough young talent to pull us out of this mess in a couple of years? That's my question.
Fred Haefner, Hilliard, Ohio
I feel for ya, Fred. I want the Blue Jackets to be good, since the Ohio fans have been good to them. They have pieces, such as Rick Nash, but other high picks such as Klesla, Zherdev and Brule have yet to show they were worthy of their draft number.
My cynical answer is for the Jackets to accept losing for two more years, thus hypothetically landing future high picks Steven Stamkos (2008 draft ) and then John Tavares or Victor Hedman (2009) and become the next Penguins. Along the way, Columbus needs to rid itself of many players who just haven't panned out and start again with a new core, building around keepers Nash, Vyborny and Tollefsen.
Ken Hitchcock and Scott Howson have the smarts to give the Jackets a fighting chance. Want proof? Howson, when he was an assistant GM with Edmonton, reportedly gave the thumbs down to a trade that would have brought Zherdev to the Oilers. Seems a little ironic now. - Ryan Kennedy
As a new fan could you tell me why the Montreal Canadiens are called the Habs?
The nickname is rooted in Quebec's Francophone culture. Early French settlers who farmed land along the shores of the St. Lawrence River were called Â‘Habitants.'
In the early days of the team, most of Montreal's players were French, so Â‘Habs' became their unofficial nickname. - Ryan Dixon
Has Colorado made an offer to Forsberg? It seems as though he is waiting for one from them. He already said that he wants to play on a team that he has previously played for and compete for the Cup. I can't imagine that being Philly or Nashville. The Avs have done a good job this summer making a serious push to be a Western finalist, at the very least, this year and Forsberg would seem like the logical fit in putting them over the top, especially in the Northwest. Is it a cap issue? The way I see it, Forsberg will end up in Colorado or retire. I've heard all the Ottawa, Vancouver, etc. rumors and I'm not really buying them. I can't seem to figure out why Colorado is not in the mix. Just like to know what you are hearing about it.
Thanks. Daren Bukator, Fort Erie, Ont.
Will all the interest from teams regarding Peter Forsberg drive his salary up? If so, what can you see him signing for?
Dear Darren and Peter,
The sentiment seems to be that Forsberg would like to come back to Colorado if he indeed decides to continue playing hockey this season.
Whether the feeling is mutual is unsure at this point, but it is interesting that the Avs still have about $6 million in cap space remaining and have not used it yet to make an offer on anyone who can help them at forward.
As always, Forsberg's foot is the biggest issue, but that appears to be coming along fine. Apparently, he recently played in a charity game in Sweden and had five points.
There are other teams out there who would like to have Forsberg and Detroit keeps coming up, but it's doubtful given the Avs' rivalry with the Red Wings that Forsberg would play there.
Forsberg remains a potential point-per-game player who will likely command somewhere in the $5-million range, which is a big risk considering his inability to remain injury-free.
If I'm considering Peter Forsberg for my team - which I wouldn't if I were a GM - I'd only sign him at a lower base salary and include all sorts of games-played bonuses.
Hope that helps. - Ken Campbell
What's going on with Teemu Selanne? I have heard nothing about his status. Is he retiring? Is he signing (with the Ducks or someone else)? If the Ducks are so close to the cap, how can they sign him unless he is already included in their cap numbers? Just curious. I think he still has one or two years left in him. Surprised no one wants to take a risk on him. Although the only thing I had heard weeks ago was a re-uniting with Kariya in St. Louis, but it was just a rumor.
Thanks, Todd, Michelle and Makayla
Hi Todd, Michelle and Makayla, thanks for taking the time to write.
If Â‘The Finnish Flash' does end up returning, you can be sure it will be with the Ducks and nowhere else. You're right about Anaheim being up against the cap limit, but they'll have plenty of room if they take Scott Niedermayer, who seems even more likely to retire, and his $6.75 million off the books.
In the unlikely scenario that both return, Brian Burke would have to move some numbers around to get them both into the lineup, but you can be sure that's a problem the ornery GM would love to have. - Edward Fraser
I've wonder for the longest time now if there has ever been a girl in the NHL and if there hasn't would it have anything to do with the fact that girls aren't as big as guys?
Thanks, Taylor H.
Back in 1992-93, the Tampa Bay Lightning signed 20-year-old goalie Manon Rheaume as a publicity stunt. She was the third-string goalie for a team in the Quebec League the year before. She played one period of a pre-season game with Tampa Bay and allowed two goals on nine shots.
She never had an honest shot at making the team and neither does any female, mainly for biological reasons. They're just not big or strong enough to compete against the top men in the world.
About 10 years ago or so, the best female player in the world, Hayley Wickenheiser was offered a tryout at the Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp. Again, it wasn't a serious gesture and was done in the spirit of good sportsmanship, to offer the best female in the world a chance to better herself.
A few years ago, Wickenheiser play a part of one season with a men's second-division team in Finland with middling results. - Brian Costello
What happens if a team is over the cap when opening day starts? Do they pay a cash penalty to the league or what?
As far as I understand it, teams are simply prohibited from exceeding the cap at any time during the season, including opening night. From what I've been told, any team going over the cap would simply not be able to step on the ice. I assume they would have to forfeit any games they would miss, but I doubt it would ever come to that.
The only way a team can exceed the cap is if performance bonuses to players over 35 years old put it over. In that case, any bonus money that put a team over would be applied to the team's payroll the next season.
Thanks for the question. - Ken Campbell
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