Brad Boyes has 37 goals and 54 points in 70 games this season. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)
The NHL’s regular season is drawing to a close, but you wonderful readers are freakin’ relentless with the email questions.
The never-ending stream kinda makes me understand why postal workers sometimes snap, but that’s another story for another day (and my shrink).
Where is the outrage in reaction to the Pronger Stomp? Six months ago, everyone and their mother were after Chris Simon (and rightfully so). Now a guy with seven suspensions (familiar number?) for violent activity gets away with the same activity - maybe worse, given that the video shows two distinct stomps on Ryan Kesler's leg.
Say what you will, but Simon never fractured a guy's thyroid cartilage with a cross-check to the throat. Is the league following two standards – one for role players and another for stars?
Ryan, Long Island, N.Y.
The “Pronger Stomp” – sounds like the latest dance craze to come out of the Dirty South. Once again, I digress.
For me, Pronger’s latest situation isn’t as 100 percent cut-and-dried as Simon’s was.
You could easily make the case, given Pronger’s past history, that the reaction was wholly intentional and deserving of a Simon-style suspension. However, you also could argue Kesler used his skate to hold back Pronger’s leg, and the Ducks veteran was attempting to correct his balance and get back into the play.
I lean toward the first explanation, but I understand Colin Campbell’s position on this one. The evidence just isn’t as clear as it was in Simon’s case.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubt the perception remains that the NHL is duplicitous in its standards for punishment. Until Campbell and the league steps up and makes an example out of a superstar player – especially at playoff time – that won’t change.
But when you consider the frequency with which Pronger immerses himself in controversy, he may yet give the league another example-making opportunity soon enough.
What do you think the odds are of Brad Boyes maintaining, or even improving, his offensive production next year?
I had him pegged for 28 goals and 41 assists in 80 games this season, figuring he'd be pivotal to the Blues' offense (which he obviously is), but I never expected him to flirt with 40 goals or, conversely, to put up such weak assist totals.
Mark McAuley, Red Deer, Alta.
You’re writing to one of Boyes’ biggest fans, and not just because he spent a lot of time playing road hockey around the corner from me in the burgeoning metropolis of Weston, Ont.
In my opinion, his star is still ascending. Not only is he guaranteed to receive at least as much ice time in St. Louis next season, he’ll also be working with a Blues team that, almost by default, will be more offensively proficient than the group that has sagged noticeably in the second half of the current campaign.
If that goal-scoring turnaround takes place, you almost definitely will see Boyes’ assist numbers rise again. And if that happens, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see him put up an 80- or 90-point season.
I just found out that I will be traveling to Beijing for work May 21-30. The initial excitement surrounding this trip has quickly been erased by the realization that this will be in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I estimate that we will most likely be in the conference championship round during those dates – can you confirm this? As a hockey fan (with a Penguins bias) this dream trip has become a nightmare, and I am turning to you for some words of encouragement.
Can you look into your crystal ball and predict the dates that the playoff rounds will fall?
Scott Kenner, Stamford, Conn.
The playoffs are scheduled to start April 9. If last season is any indication, the second round should begin sometime in the third week of April, and the conference final should kick off in May’s second week and conclude just before you depart.
Yes, that also means, should Pittsburgh win the East, you’ll be gone for the start of their Stanley Cup final appearance. If I were you, I’d start faking bird flu symptoms right now.
What’s up Adam?
My family's life revolves around hockey and I am currently snowed in at a tournament, so I decided to ask a question.
When Marc-Andre Fleury was injured, Ty Conklin and Dany Sabourin became the two main goalies for the Pens. Now that Fleury is back and starting in net, I am a little disappointed. Conks was playing great when he started two out of every three games!
What do you think coach Michel Therrien should've done? Was he right to bench Ty?
Stretch P., Pittsburgh, Pa.
First off, let’s talk about your nickname – at least, I hope it’s your nickname – for a second. Is it ironic, like someone calling me “Cocoa?” Please advise.
The Pens’ goalie predicament is quite dicey. You’re absolutely right – Conklin and Sabourin held up their end of things very well in Fleury’s absence.
Unfortunately for them, Fleury is regarded as the team’s No. 1 goaltender for the foreseeable future, so there was never much doubt Therrien would have to give him back the reins. Only Pittsburgh’s playoff showing will tell if the coach (and the rest of management) made the right decision.
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