Patrice Bergeron played in only 10 games last season due to a concussion, but is expected back in full health this year. (Photo by Norman Y. Lono/Getty Images)
How hyped are you the NHL season is almost upon us? Tragically under-hyped? Hyped to the allowable legal limit in your particular province/state? Super-hyped to the point you’re a danger to yourself and those around you? I’d put my own self somewhere between Column B and Column C.
Here’s the mailbag. If you’d be so kind, please pay special attention to the last question. (That’s right, you’ll be reading breaking news at the end of the piece – we’re turning the traditional news pyramid model upside down here at THN.com! Told you I was hyped!)
I just do not understand why the Bruins are not getting any respect going into this season. From what I have read everyone is picking them to finish between 11-13 in the conference. I see them finishing second in the Northeast Division and 4-5 in the Eastern Conference.
Look what they did with all the injuries last year; going into the stretch drive for the playoffs they were missing Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Chuck Kobasew. This does not include Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez, who were out most of the year.
It was no fluke they almost beat Montreal in the first round. If Bergeron can make a full recovery from his concussion, that is going to bring a lot to this team; he is by far the Bruins’ best all-around player.
The Bruins have many excellent prospects, including Tuukka Rask, the best goalie not in the NHL. In my opinion, Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez will be solid in goal. Last year proved Claude Julien is a very good coach and what happened in Montreal and New Jersey was not his fault.
The Bruins played a solid season under Julien.
Timothy Flanigan, Schenectady, N.Y.
You failed the “actually asking me a question in your question” test miserably, but because I share many of your opinions about the underrated Bruins, I’m making an exception.
I’ve got the Bruins as a playoff team in my pre-season predictions – you’ll have to wait for my Screen Shots column this Thursday to find out just where I’ve slotted them in – based on the belief that Bergeron is fully recovered from his serious concussion. For as good as they were without him last season, the Bruins still need Bergeron to be front-and-center if Boston is to keep pace for one of the final few playoff seeds in the East.
Part of the reason I think they aren’t creating a lot of confidence in prognosticator circles is their lack of a true superstar in the mold of a Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Alex Ovechkin. In time, Bergeron may yet enter that echelon, but I think few would say he’s there right now.
However, I also think people are missing out on the work ethic Julien has instilled in the Bruins. They may not have top-tier talent by the bucket-loads, but you always knew you’d get effort out of them last season.
That drive and determination endeared them to the locals once – and if Bergeron can top up the combination with some eye-popping offense, I’m willing to bet they’ll be labeled “overachievers” once again. Really, you don’t need the “over” part of the label to do them justice at all.
One more thing: I’ve never been there, but I’ve loved the word “Schenectady” for as long as I can remember. If pretentious celebrity baby-namers can go with “Brooklyn” or “Paris” as given names for their children, surely there’s room for a few Schenectadys in the world.
What do you think about a hardest hit contest? Most would agree a clean, hard, open-ice hit is as thrilling to watch as any two goals, so, how about an addition to the all-star skills competition? Dress a crash test dummy in hockey equipment and a few hi-tech doodads to measure G-forces and let the guys have at it.
Yeah, I know, the GMs would never go for any exhibition that risks injury to their stars, but I for one would love to watch this.
George Cavanaugh, Port Hawkesbury, N.S.
Interesting concept – although I believe I speak for fans of goals everywhere when I say you’re a little off-center in your hit-to-goal ratio. One good hit equals two goals? Contrary to baseless propaganda from the fight-loving fraternity, I enjoy a good bodycheck as much as anybody. However, I think a hit is as good as, but not better than, a goal.
Anyway, no chance whatsoever of your proposal becoming reality. If you took proper safety measures for the skill exhibition, the hits simply wouldn’t resonate with the fans the way real hits do. And if you did allow real hits, soon to follow would be real separated shoulders, real torn ACLs and MCLs and real concussions.
And real angry team owners, GMs, coaches and fans.
If you’re Ron Wilson, who are your top six defensemen to start the regular season?
Nick Williamson, Essex, Ont.
Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Mike Van Ryn, a fully healthy Carlo Colaiacovo, Jeff Finger and Jonas Frogren.
Do you think the Rangers will keep Marc Staal? How well will he have to play to get a big contract like his bro Eric?
Sarah, New York, N.Y.
Yes, I think Staal stays with the Rangers. His is a still-developing talent and though he’s likely not going to set scoring records for a blueliner, he’s got the potential to develop into one of the game’s best defensive defensemen.
That probably will result in a contract extension. It won’t match Eric Staal’s deal with Carolina, but given what Ron Hainsey signed for to join Atlanta this summer – and what Mike Komisarek will get next summer from the Canadiens – he won’t be hurting for cash, either.
Hello Adam (you absolute dream of a co-worker, you),
Is this the part of the mailbag where you discuss your “breaking news” with readers?
With tremendous respect and admiration for a Herculean job well done,
Edward Fraser and Rory Boylen, THN.com Overlords, Toronto
Hello Edward and Rory,
Thanks for your honesty. Indeed, it is time for the news to be broken. Here’s the scoop: with former THN senior writer Mike Brophy moving on to greener pastures, our organization’s braintrust has re-jigged some of my writing responsibilities.
Unfortunately, part of that re-jigging means I have to limit the mailbag to once a week (and we’ll move it back to Fridays starting next week). The Screen Shots column will continue on Thursdays, but my blogging duties will be reduced solely to Mondays until further notice.
The upshot for me is I’ll be writing more cover stories and features for the magazine itself. I’ll also squeeze a couple of Ask Adam questions into the mag that won’t appear on the website, so if you don’t see your question online, be sure to pick up a copy and see if you made it into that medium.
Ask Adam appears Fridays only on TheHockeyNews.com. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
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