Your questions this week concern both playoff contenders and also-rans, but at least the Â“Will the Penguins stay in Pittsburgh?Â” questions have ceased. Thank heaven for small mercies.
I have just a few quick questions:
1) Why didn't either Atlanta or Chicago make an offer to Jason Allison? I'd say he was easily better then any center (offensively, at least) they've used all year.
2) Is Ziggy Palffy really done for good?
3) What are the chances of Mika Noronen and Aleksey Morozov returning to the NHL?
Thanks for your time,
Chris Nelson, Grande Prairie, Alberta
1. At one point, Chicago was interested in Allison, but the big centerman effectively priced himself out of the league this year. Even if the Thrashers would've considered him, Atlanta was tight enough against the salary cap that they had to let Marc Savard go, so Allison's financial demands would have represented a non-starter right from the get-go.
2. Yes, Palffy is done for good. That leaves only Mike Zigomanis to carry on the Â“Gettin' Ziggy With ItÂ” tradition among headline-writing editors.
3. There's less chance Noronen comes back to North America, not only due to the fact the NHL goalie market is flooded these days, but also because Morozov is tearing it up in Russia (34 goals and 83 points in 53 games with Ak Bars Kazan).
Have you heard anything about guys like Chris Dingman (always one of my favorites), Oleg Kvasha or Mike LeClerc? Did they announce their retirement, or do they just play in other leagues?
It would be amazing if you answer me!
Christopher from Germany
Dingman is currently playing for SÃ¶dertÃ¤lje SK of the Swedish league's second division and has 10 assists and 16 points this season. Kvasha is with Vityaz Chekhov of the Russian SuperLeague (seven goals and 15 points in 27 games), while LeClerc, who had 10 goals and 26 points with Phoenix and Calgary last season, hasn't played anywhere for anyone this year.
What's wrong with the Habs? They have been playing dull and bad hockey for the past number of weeks. Is the Guy Carbonneau experience turning out to be like the Mario Tremblay sequence (i.e. bringing in a former gutsy player with no coaching experience)?
Bob Gainey has made a few good moves (Huet and Aebischer), but he's also blown others (Kovalev, Samsonov). Rivet was a good trade, but now they stand to lose both Markov and Souray.
The future does not look good.
I don't think you can compare Carbonneau to Tremblay. Earlier this season, when the Canadiens were overachieving, people were talking about him as a potential coach-of-the-year candidate.
As you noted, Gainey's performance has been a real mixed bag this year. He deserves more heat for the Samsonov signing and non-trade of Souray than anything else, but the Habs won't be cashiering their GM until, at the earliest, they suffer through a major slump next season. And that scenario may yet come to pass.
I've got two questions. First, what do you think is the chance of Pittsburgh winning the Stanley Cup this year? And secondly, if it comes down to Luongo or Crosby for the Hart, who do you think will win and why?
Thanks a bunch,
Ashley Bhan, Vancouver, B.C.
I haven't seen enough consistency out of Marc-Andre Fleury to consider the Penguins a high-end Cup menace. And if the history of hockey means anything, there is almost always a breaking-in period for young stars in the post-season Â– even those who helped form the nucleus of a dynasty, as the Pens may eventually be.
As for the Hart race, I think you're forgetting about a jovial chap who plays goal in New Jersey. He'd have my vote, but who will win is a different story altogether.
You could easily make a case for either Crosby or Luongo, but Sidney will win it because of (a) his age; (b) his team's drastic rise to contention (Vancouver is far less removed from being a playoff team and until Luongo steals a series or two for them, that's all they really are right now); and (c) the hype that justifiably has surrounded Â‘The Kid' from the moment he first stepped on NHL ice.
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