Missing players, greedy owners, future considerations Â– yup, you readers are as varied in your inquiries as ever. And remember, the mailbag column now runs twice weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays), so keep the questions coming.
Whatever happened to NHL team owners' promise of reducing ticket prices after the lockout was settled? After hearing that the salary cap was raised because of increased revenue, and after seeing ridiculous free agent signings by some of the teams, it appears the issue of NHL ticket prices is conveniently forgotten.
Instead of reduced prices fans are getting so-called Â“additional benefitsÂ” Â– meaning being subjected to additional marketing hype to sell ever more stuff.
In general, nobody seems to advocate for the fan these days...not even the so-called NHL Fan Association.
I'm not sure I ever saw any owner, or Gary Bettman, for that matter, making that specific promise. In fact, Bettman went out of his way to tap dance around the issue when it was brought up during the lockout.
I'm sure he understood, like many of us cynical so-and-sos in the press, that all his lockout talk about owners being Â“guardians of the gameÂ” was hogwash of Don King-ian proportions. As evidenced by the league's eagerness to expand to 32 teams before straightening out a few of the ones it already has, it's always been about franchise values with these guys.
And lowering ticket prices won't do much in that regard.
I was looking at the Calgary roster and Darren McCarty is not listed. Is he still playing hockey?
Steven McDermott, Houston, Texas
McCarty may very well still be skating on an ice pad somewhere Â– just not for an NHL team.
There's a good reason why: he's 35, missed 49 games due to injury last year, and hasn't amassed more than 22 points in a single season since 1998-99. Unless he's willing to work out on his own until March or April, then hope for a short-term deal with a contender, he's done.
Seriously, if you're a professional hockey writer and you're against having fighting in the game, you need to get the hell out! I'm sick of all this PC bulls***. Fighting is part of hockey. End of story!
Thank you, Dean Borso
This doesn't technically qualify as a question, but I'll answer it anyway.
And while I won't bore regular readers with a 500-word rant about the inherent idiocy of designated goonery in the game, I will say there are many people, inside and outside the hockey world, inside and outside North America, who are disgusted by the laissez-faire leadership that has permitted the game to turn into an exercise in small-minded retribution.
Moreover, and contrary to the notions of some under-educated readers, the job of a pro hockey writer/columnist is not necessarily to toe the line of the industry. Rather, my job is to provide a strong opinion, to stir and provoke debate Â– and hopefully, to entertain.
When a team trades a player for future considerations, is it just a way to get rid of a player for nothing, or does the team actually get something back? I ask that because I have never heard anything about a team receiving something for those future considerations.
For example, what did Philadelphia get when they traded Jeremy Roenick to L.A. for future considerations (he did have a bit of value at the time). And if teams do get something back, what is it? The right to switch draft picks? An unknown prospect?
Thanks for your great column.
Simon C., Ottawa
You've done some very astute observing here. Most teams' idea of future considerations is, Â“If you take this loafer/salary cap albatross off our hands, we'll consider dealing with your team again in the future.Â”
I too have yet to see Philadelphia receive anything in return for Roenick. But I hear Dan Cloutier's available. Fingers crossed, Flyers fans!
I live in New Jersey and I've been a subscriber of The Hockey News for many years.
I was wondering what your writers have against the Devils? It seems to me every chance you guys have to throw in a dig about them you take it.
I love the magazine, but it's becoming quite tiresome.
Thanks for subscribing. I believe Mike Brophy and I have been the most habitual Devils bashers of late, but both of us always try and qualify our chief complaints (i.e., take-no-chances/thrill-no-fans style hockey, marketing techniques reminiscent of secret government prisons) of the team by noting their undeniable on-ice successes over the years.
Until those things change, we're duty-bound to express our dismay with them. It's never a personal animosity, only a professional one, and I hope you understand the distinction.
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