With the trade deadline less than three weeks away, I thought most of your questions would be about deal-making. But noooooo, that's just too easy for you people. Yeesh.
What are the chances of Gary Roberts coming back to Toronto? What would it take to bring him back to the Leafs? Huge Roberts fan and would love to see him back in the blue and white.
Regards, Jose Ruiz
I'd normally use a word like Â“phooeyÂ” or Â“liesÂ” to describe most Leafs rumors, but the Roberts-to-Toronto talk definitely has some validity to it. Given his druthers, Roberts would choose to rejoin the Leafs for family reasons.
But Panthers coach-GM Jacques Martin's job isn't to give Roberts his druthers. It's to play Toronto's interest off another couple teams Â– division rivals Montreal and Ottawa Â– and raise the price tag for the veteran's services. I think he'll very likely end up in one of those three markets.
Can you recommend to me a good book about the history of the Stanley cup? Also, what are your top three most favorite hockey-related books?
For my money, the best book about the Stanley Cup is The Official National Hockey League Stanley Cup Centennial Book. It was published in 1992, but it's an amazing recap of the colorful history behind the best trophy there is.
My three favorite hockey books:
1. The Game, by Ken Dryden. There's no more eloquent look at the sport than the Canadiens legend's book.
2. Game Misconduct, by Russ Conway. A searing indictment of Alan Eagleson, one of hockey's most notorious and shameful criminals.
3. The Hockey Sweater, by Roch Carrier. This children's book, which came out when I was just seven years old, can still stir up emotions in me today. Timeless.
We've been watching some Pittsburgh Penguins games from across the pond, and we're wondering about Sidney Crosby. He leads the NHL in scoring and the Penguins power play works almost entirely through him. Why doesn't anyone shadow him or even check him? Has shadowing players been banned in the new NHL?
Last season seemed to prove that it's easy to rile up and agitate Crosby by just playing physically against him, and it's not like anyone can be scared the Pens will retaliate. In the highly emotional Pens-Habs game last week, Crosby was checked a total of two or three times. No one seems to even try to get at him, especially when the Pens are on the power play. It seems incredible that when every second power play pass is to Crosby no one gets within ten yards of him.
In short, why does the entire league play so softly against Crosby? From over here, it barely looks like hockey any more when no one will even check him. I look up at Esa Tikkanen's jersey in the rafters at my team's home games and I wonder.
Michael Halila, Helsinki, Finland
First of all, I think there are more than a few Penguins fans who would disagree with you. But consider: Crosby is (a) a year older, which means more experience in the art of avoiding checks and much more patience with respect to guys trying to goad him; and (b) extremely quick, which, with all due respect to Dave Semenko, is the same reason Wayne Gretzky was barely brushed through his career.
And Crosby can still be hit, as Brendan Witt proved this season. Trust me, if you lived in Pittsburgh, you'd feel different.
As goal scoring is so important to all you fans, why not give a team an extra point for every three goals they score (win/lose or tie).
I know this might sound stupid. But think of it. People love to see a lot of action around the grease. And goals are really nice.
Give a losing team an extra point (good effort, nice try, better luck next time) might help?
Bernard Krol, Assen, The Netherlands
I'm all for increasing scoring. But, though your suggestion is certainly creative, it would only make the already-confusing standings even worse.
Instead, I think the league and owners should pressure every one of the 30 coaches to consider their real profession Â– entertaining fans and bringing customers back to the arena Â– when drawing up their game plans. Coaches are the enemy, Bernard. Just ask Brett Hull.
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