Before I get to Friday's mailbag, I have a couple questions for you readers: Have you done your holiday shopping yet? And might I be so bold as to recommend this item, which will please any and all discriminating hockey fans?
Loved your comments about fighting and the goon in hockey. Definitely needs to go.
I'm wondering what you think needs to happen to increase sportsmanship in hockey. Ever see a hockey player pat an opponent on the pants/helmet like they do in other sports?
In fairness, you don't see many other sports in which athletes line up after a playoff series to shake hands the way hockey players do.
Nevertheless, your point is quite valid. Niceties and etiquette are nowhere to be found on the ice during games. Some people prefer it that way Â– and I might be one of them, if only the NHL had the stones to push the pendulum of respect between players back to an acceptable balance.
If we want to boost sportsmanship in the game, I'm afraid it has to start with hardcore punishments for outrageous breaches of fair play. Once the line has been drawn Â– and enforced Â– with a proper vigor for an extended period of time, you may see players respond with more care and concern for their fellow union members.
It's going to take years, decades even, to clean out the revenge mentality that's been drummed into players' heads since their youth hockey days. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
As a lifelong fan of the Montreal Canadiens, I can't help but wonder how Guy Carbonneau has kept his job as coach! Last season was a step back in the development process and the way he is handling Carey Price right now is absurd; why start Price against Sidney Crosby and the Pens after stating in the first two games of the season he will go with the goalie he thinks can deliver a win?
Price was handpicked to be on the roster by Bob Gainey and as of right now I'm not sure if this is showing confidence in Price or if it's Guy just giving in and finally giving Carey a start. Is it possible we will see Price back in the American League (where I feel he belongs) by season's end, and a new coach behind the bench in Montreal by season's end?
Thanks, Ted Clair
I found that little schism between Carbonneau and Gainey very interesting and certainly indicative that the pressure is on both men to perform this year.
After you sent in your question, Price delivered the win against Pittsburgh, but I wouldn't bat an eye if he were starring for Hamilton (Montreal's AHL affiliate) by Christmas time Â– especially if Gainey can't unload Cristobal Huet or Jaroslav Halak in a trade in the next month or so.
First and foremost, Price needs to play and play a lot. Second and next most, he doesn't need to be part of an ongoing goalie battle at this stage in his career. Still, if Price continues to put up wins at the NHL level, there will be no justification in sending him down, as well as no justification in pink-slipping Carbonneau.
However, in spite of their solid start to the season, I still believe the Habs will be out of the playoff picture come April. And if that comes to pass, they'll definitely be searching for a new coach. Pat Burns, anyone?
If you had to pick a top 30 list for a hockey fantasy pool, would you include any defensemen?
All things considered, probably not. Sergei Gonchar, the highest-ranked defenseman in The Hockey News' Ultimate Fantasy Guide point projections this year, was 51st overall and many observers think he plays like a forward anyways.
If I was getting my gamble on Â– and yes, I realize how awkward that sounds coming from a 35-year-old white dude, but hey, language is about experimentation, so cut me some slack Â– I'd risk a 30th pick on Gonchar.
And if I was feeling really brave, I'd take another member of the Penguins defense corps, Ryan Whitney, instead. Something tells me this is going to be a breakout year for that guy.
I am currently watching the New York Rangers-New York Islanders game on October 10th and after a penalty-causing hit, the camera cut to Hilary Duff in the audience. The play-by-play announcer hardly even acknowledged that it was her!
What I'm getting at is, why doesn't the NHL try to draw more attention to celebrities who attend their hockey games? You see it all the time in the NBA with the L.A. Lakers.
Finding out who comes to NHL games and using that information and giving these celebs a little TV time, maybe even an interview, could be a little way to hopefully bring about some big attention.
Thanks a lot for a great magazine and website!
It troubles me deeply that I know this, but I believe Ms. Duff was in attendance to see her boyfriend, Isles center Mike Comrie Â– who, by the way, bought Duff a Mercedes-Benz SUV (suggested outrageous retail price: more than $100,000) for her 20th birthday last month.
They've only been dating since July. I've got a birthday coming up in April Â– anyone know if Mike has a single sister?
You're preaching to the converted, Ross. I've long suggested the NHL follow the trend every other successful sporting enterprise has followed and milk the celebrity cow until that teat runs dry. And, thankfully, it is slowly starting to happen.
All-time NHL great and present-day Kings executive Luc Robitaille has been doing his part to bring in some star power, recently organizing a celebrity-studded meet-the-Kings dinner in Los Angeles with current famous types such as Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) and William Shatner (hopefully, you know who William Shatner is).
That's the sort of thing teams in big-time media markets should be doing more of, although it doesn't help that two media hubs (Boston and Chicago) are home to two of the least-successful franchises in the league today.
Nevertheless, kudos to the NHL for making small steps down the right road.
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