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Ask Adam - June 15

Adam Proteau
By:
The Hockey News
News

Ask Adam - June 15

Adam Proteau
By:

This week, a little more talk about what ails the NHL, as well as more west-coast discussion.

Adam,

Does anyone really still care about the NHL? Each year the Stanley Cup Playoffs get worse and worse ratings.

Each year that they try and get more fan friendly it seems that less and less people care. I know personally I lost a bunch of interest when the cap came into play because so many teams were dismantled and it seemed to really affect rivalries.

Just wondering what your take is?

Adam Rickle, Phoenix, AZ

Adam,

What's happening to the NHL these days is a direct result of decades of improper marketing and the tug-of-war between the league and its players' union.

I'd be remiss if I didn't give them credit for their attempts to improve fan and media access. Problem is, they were so far behind in terms of entertainment value, what they've done is not enough. Not even close.

Until the 30 owners realize they're in the entertainment business and not the championship business, the NHL will continue its slow crawl into obscurity.

Adam,

What is it that makes a player go from being a talented star to an afterthought so quickly? Players such as Tony Amonte, Jeremy Roenick, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Mike Modano, John LeClair, Mats Sundin, etc. just seem to have it one season then just disappear.

Does talent just vanish? Is it injuries, lack of desire, too much money? Even Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and other greats just seemed to lose it between seasons. It doesn't seem to be a slow decline, but one season they are great and then the next they couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. Any thoughts?

Sean Giesler

Sean,

Not sure I'd agree with putting Kariya, Modano and Sundin in the group of also-rans – and I still think Leetch could outplay half the blueliners in the game today – but I understand what you're getting at.

Talent doesn't just vanish, but hockey players gradually lose foot speed. Or their hand-eye co-ordination falls off by a fraction. Or their body gets sick of being beaten up 82 nights a year. And most times, even the slightest slippage is the difference between an elite NHLer and a just-OK one.

And to be fair, you see the same thing happen in other sports (bat speed in baseball, shooting ability in basketball, etc.). Amonte, LeClair and the others are simply the latest in a long line of guys whose skills were out-lasted by their confidence.

Adam,
I am a frustrated Sharks fan. I feel that the problem with the team is a lack of fire and emotion from their "leader". I have never been a Patrick Marleau fan and I am hoping they trade him to somebody who doesn't realize how soft he is.

I also would like to see Matt Carle and Evgeni Nabokov traded. Carle and Nabokov both make huge mistakes at the wrong time and I cringe each time Carle handles the puck. Nabokov seems to know the exact wrong time to allow a goal. I believe these three players have value to other teams who don't know any better.

Do you think any of these things might happen? Thanks.

John Bionaz,
 Pleasanton, CA

John,

Nobody in the Sharks organization was happy with the team's post-season. And I think Marleau could be the guy to pay the price for that. He's had a long, productive run in San Jose, but after his playoff, GM Doug Wilson is going to listen to offers for him a lot more closely than he would've before.

I'd bet Nabokov will be back, but he's not untouchable, either. And there's no chance they're trading Carle. I don't doubt he's made some bad decisions, but John, he's a 23-year-old rookie. Cut the kid some slack!

Adam,

Assuming the Kings buy out Dan Cloutier's contract, what does the future look like? What do they need to do in the draft? What free agents should or will they target and go after?

Mike Miller

Mike,

Regardless of Cloutier's status, the Kings' future looks very, very bright. It will be hard to go wrong with their collection of talented, young forwards (Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov, Mike Cammalleri, Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan) and blueliner Jack Johnson, especially with a GM as savvy as Dean Lombardi on board.

Obviously, they need better goaltending and depth on defense; they'll use their abundance of salary cap space trying to fill those needs via free agency. But their biggest target may very well be Chris Drury – and since Drury is a Manhattan Beach resident in the off-season and a close friend of Rob Blake, it's only natural to assume the Kings will be one of the favorites to land him.

Adam,

As a diehard New York Rangers fan I just wanted your opinion on what you thought the odds are that the Rangers could land Chris Drury.

Ed Balvin

Ed,

See above. Sorry.

Ask Adam appears Fridays only on The Hockey News.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.

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Ask Adam - June 15