Roberto Luongo (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
In this week's mailbag, Adam Proteau answers questions on Roberto Luongo's contract, Barry Trotz's future as Preds coach, Canadian women's hockey and more.
More mail? More mail. It’s Friday, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Thanks as always to those who sent in a question or two.
Hello there Adam!
In the early days of his WWE career, Randy Orton was doing the "Legend Killer" gimmick and cut a promo against a tired and haggard looking Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Orton said when you wake up in the morning and no longer have the drive to be the No. 1 guy in the company, the guy who wears the belt, well that's the day you need to hang them up.
Well, I compare old Hacksaw to Roberto Luongo. Bobby Lou will never, and I mean ever, win a Stanley Cup in Florida. And he knows that. So my question is, why do so many players say it's not about money when they talk to the media? Of course it is! If you've resigned yourself to the fact that you're just playing a game and collecting a paycheck, why jerk around the fans? Nathan Horton will play out his career in relative obscurity in Columbus, but at least he has his Cup ring. Same can't be said for Luongo or his teammate Ed Jovanovski.
So why not just state the obvious and say "I'm in it for the money"? You're not insulting anybody. I'd take Captain Obvious over Captain Hypocrite any day. I mean, really, if you've been in the game as long as Luongo and you're NOT in it to win the Stanley Cup, just what are you doing there anyways?
Steve Dicker, Paradise, Newfoundland
Hello there Steve!
While I’m sure there are NHLers who do what they do more for the love of the money than the pursuit of a championship, Luongo isn't an example of one. When he signed his 12-year contract with the Canucks, they weren’t a sad-sack team with no chance of winning a Stanley Cup. To the contrary: they’d just won their division and a playoff round. It’s not his fault GM Mike Gillis horribly mismanaged Vancouver’s goaltending situation to the point he had no choice but to move him for a relative pittance.
But no matter which player you point to as signing somewhere for monetary reasons, you can’t expect them to be candid about that. People like you and I might appreciate the honesty, but imagine the team marketing campaign: “Come See Us Play! Not Everybody Wants To Be Here, But Everybody’s Getting Paid!” Not the best optics, I’m sure you’d agree.
Why do the Predators keep Barry Trotz as the coach? It is clear that his methods do not work, there is failure year after year. They will blame Pekka Rinne's illness this year but there is no other team around him to step it up. We have gone form season ticket holders to half-season tickets to we are not renewing next year. How long Adam? How long?
Richard Macksoud, Columbia, Tenn.
Your name and this topic looked familiar, so I checked – and sure enough, you inquired about Trotz’s employment status last year. While it’s true every coach has a shelf life – and now that he’s in his 15th season as Preds coach, he’s far outlived the tenure most bench bosses get – Trotz isn’t the biggest issue with Nashville.
As is often the case, the problem with the Predators is they don’t have enough top-end forwards to compete with the rest of the Western Conference. Only the Canucks, Flames and Sabres have scored fewer goals than Nashville. That has nothing to do with Rinne’s health status. That’s about offensive talent.
When I wrote the Preds need to address this roster disparity by trading star blueliner Shea Weber, a number of touchy Nashville fans lost their marbles and called me names. But here we are closing in on a half-year later, and I stand by every word of that piece. The franchise could acquire at least one of those cornerstone forwards in any Weber transaction and with young star Seth Jones and Roman Josi still in town after any deal, Nashville’s defense corps would not be in a shambles. The Preds would be better balanced – and, dare I say, more exciting on the ice. And maybe they’d retain you as a season-ticket holder. But to be honest, I don’t believe any new coach would do the same.
Can I please have some info for Team Canada Girls Hockey?
Beth Shearer, Hamilton, Ont.
Yes, you can. A good place to start is Hockey Canada’s Women’s hockey home page, where you can learn about skills camps, coaching clinics and more. But I’d also suggest checking out the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which is home to Canada’s best female players and serves as an inspiration to youngsters who want to follow in their footsteps.
Islanders fan here. Outside of drafting John Tavares in 2009 (which was a no brainer) this franchise has just about done everything wrong. Yes, teams hit and miss on players and coaches, but everything has been an absolute clown show. You name it...the Neil Smith situation and making your backup goalie your GM, rushing players to the NHL, failing to find a solution to stay in Nassau County, moving to an arena in Brooklyn with obstructed views...and now what has transpired over the past two days.
Plain and simple, the only franchise run worse than the Islanders is Chivas USA in Major League Soccer. MLS recently took control of Chivas USA because it has been a car wreck for years. I want to know what it would take for Commissioner Bettman to step in and exert some sort of pressure/influence on Charles Wang? How can a major league franchise in the largest market in the U.S. and Canada continue to be allowed to be operated like the Cleveland Indians in Major League? Thank you for taking the time to read my pain, suffering, and misery.
Mike Corbett, Malverne, N.Y.
Lots of justifiable angst coming from the Isles fan base in recent days. I can’t imagine a non-financial-based scenario in which the NHL steps in and wrests control of the franchise away from Wang. As we’ve seen with the league’s recently-announced circumvention of its cap circumvention penalty to the New Jersey Devils, they’re often just happy to have owners for troubled teams and aren't about to seriously challenge owners.
Unfortunately, the only way Islanders fans can truly register their disgust and press for change is by staying away from Nassau Coliseum and forcing Wang’s hand one way or the other. He is loyal to Snow to a fault, but even bigger financial losses would send a clear message to him.
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.