The first mailbag column of the fall season is a real mixedÂ…er, bag. But as the swingers' community correctly points out, variety is the spice of life. Let's get down to business:
I'm in a keeper fantasy pool league, and my two goalies are Evgeni Nabokov and Tomas Vokoun. I hope Nabokov has a great year, but should I trade or just release Vokoun? Florida scares me, and I don't know what to expect from them.
Thanks and keep up the good work...
I'd hold on to Vokoun like Kelly Ripa's husband hangs on to Kelly Ripa. Vokoun is the key component of Florida's push for a playoff spot and unless he gets injured Â– which, admittedly, has happened a fair amount since the lockout ended Â– he's a top-five goalie in the league. Throw him over the side, and I'm sure others in your pool will be more than happy to give him a home.
What exactly does Â“stay-at-homer" mean? "Player that doesn't have a social lifeÂ” and "defensive player that doesn't like to hover too far away from their own blueline" come to mind as possible definitions, but I thought I would check with you anyway.
Cheers, Angela Kouris
Little makes me happier than when a reader writes in to ask a question and is courteous enough to include the correct answer as well. A stay-at-home blueliner is indeed a player unlikely to join the rush, preferring instead to forgo offense and concentrate solely on his team's defensive end.
As a resurrected fan I'm confused by some terms I've seen repeatedly. What is a one-way contract, a two-way contract, and an entry-level contract?
Thanks, John Sager, Houston Texas
In NHL terms, a one-way contract means the player is paid one salary regardless of whether or not he plays for the team; in other words, if Paul Kariya stunk out the joint so badly in St. Louis that the team wanted to send him to their American League affiliate in Peoria, they'd still have to pay him his NHL salary.
A two-way deal means the team has specified two separate salaries Â– one rate of pay if the player plays at the NHL level, and a (usually much more modest) rate of pay if that player plays in the AHL.
Finally, the only players who sign entry-level contracts are rookies. In an effort to avoid bidding wars for highly-touted prospects, those pacts have upper limits to the financial amounts that can be offered.
Love your writing. With all the major free agents officially off the market, do you think it might be a good move for the Devils to consider bringing back Jeff Friesen to add some depth? He seemed to feel comfortable when he was here and added some very important goals.
Thank you, Aharon Goldwasser
Friesen is one of a growing group of veterans teams are unwilling to afford opportunities to, either because the player has had injury woes (as Friesen did in 2005-06), or due to the player suffering a steady reduction in point production (as Friesen has, going from a 37-point season with New Jersey in 2003-04, to an 11-point campaign in that injury-hampered '05-06 campaign, to just 12 points in 72 games with Calgary last year).
Like some others Â– and like Jason Allison did last year Â– Friesen may have to wait until later on in the season, when injuries take their toll on teams, and when it seems safer (and cheaper) to take a gamble on the type of player he's become. But he should also be prepared for the reality Allison faced last year, when that opportunity never came.
I've been an avid Red Wings fan since about 14 years old (three years ago) and must've watched their '97, '98, and '02 Hockeytown DVDs two dozen times apiece. This playoff season I was nearly in tears after their gut-wrenching overtime loss to the Ducks in Game 5 and wasn't myself again until about two weeks after Game 6.
While pleased Detroit quieted talk of another early playoff exit, I still don't understand what went wrong. They have a team capable of competing in the regular season and the beginning stages of the playoffs, but when it comes down to the wire they just can't pull the trigger.
Will the newly-acquired defensive capabilities of Brian Rafalski, the raw talent of Igor Grigorenko and the veteran grit of Dallas Drake Â– combined with the already potent foundation in Motown Â– be enough to bring the Cup back to the Joe? Also, do you feel Nicklas Lidstrom has fully taken to his role as leader/captain in the absence of Stevie Y?
Love your column and appreciate your time!
Kyle Robinson, Fairbanks, Alaska
Love your love for my column. As for your most recent playoff ordeal, you're not alone in wondering where the train left the tracks. Even the smartest hockey men torture themselves for decades re-examining the past.
I hate to continue my answer in the form of a clichÃ©, but sometimes it really is about one bad bounce, one missed call or one mistake. And no matter what preparations Wings braintrust makes to improve the team, they'll all tell you they can't guarantee a similar act of the hockey gods won't leave them in the lurch again.
Nevertheless, I think the Wings will be right in the Stanley Cup hunt once again this season. They're not the team I'm picking to win it all Â– no, I'm not going to say who I like just yet Â– however, I wouldn't be shocked to see them do so.
And I do believe Lidstrom is the right man to wear the Â‘C' for Detroit. He doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but his even-keeled nature is perfect for a league in which all teams experience their share of peaks and pitfalls.
Ask Adam appears Fridays only on The Hockey News.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.