Cristobal Huet's days of tending net in Montreal are done after he was dealt to the Caps Feb. 26. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
It’s a back-to-normal mailbag column today, meaning there are no more borderline outrageous trade rumors to tickle your funnybones. But let’s start off with one question that came out of the trade deadline:
Hi Mr. Proteau,
Considering Chad Kilger was traded for a third round pick, that Hal Gill was dealt for a second and a fifth, and so on…why was Bob Gainey unable to get more than a second round pick in 2009 for Cristobal Huet?
Was it that the market was so low for goaltenders? There has got to be a valid reason, but I still feel the Habs could have got more from this deal.
Alain Thibault, Québec
Yes, the bottoming out of the goalie market has a lot to do with the pittance Gainey got for Huet. The Habs could’ve acquired Ray Emery for Huet, but then Gainey would’ve been not only responsible for the Canadiens potentially missing the playoffs altogether, but also for igniting a full-scale civil war between eastern Ontarians and their provincial neighbors in Quebec.
Here’s another reason why Cliff Fletcher was able to get more for someone such as Gill than Gainey received for Huet: like Kilger, Gill is signed beyond this season, and for a relatively cheap price to boot.
That is a major selling (and buying) point in the salary-capped NHL, and the reason why Washington’s George McPhee wasn’t going to sell the farm for a player he might not wish to keep after this spring, anyway.
I live in Florida, but I am still a Red Wings fan. My question: What is your opinion on the losing slump the Wings are in?
In the past few years, every time the Wings got to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, they got eliminated in the first few rounds. Do you think they are losing on purpose so that they will not have the No. 1 seed?
Nicole Carson, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Nope, the Wings aren’t afraid of finishing first at all. Most hockey people see their recent losing skid as a result of the slew of injuries to key players, tenacious d-man Nicklas Lidstrom chief among them.
And really, the Wings play with perhaps the most unfair disadvantage of any NHL team – the horrible travel schedule that comes with being an Eastern-based team in the Western Conference. As one NHL type told me a couple weeks ago:
“With the amount of traveling (the Wings) do throughout the year, I’m not surprised at all that they’re burnt (out) every spring. Can you imagine how fresh their legs would be if they were on the Lou (Lamoriello) bus tour schedule the Devils benefit from?”
Even non-Wings fans would have to admit the man has a point.
I'm 12 years old and have been a Penguins fan all my life. I love your magazine and I can't wait to get done with school every week to see if there's a new issue.
My question is this: The Capitals just signed Alex Ovechkin to a long-term contract, and I was wondering if you think the Penguins will sign Evgeni Malkin to a long-term deal soon.
Adam Johnson, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Thanks for being a young reader, not just of THN, but of anything at all. My colleagues in the written word business are worried there won’t be enough people like you in the coming decades, so do us all a favor and get your buddies involved in reading as soon as you can. Thanks in advance.
I do think Pittsburgh will lock up their Russian superstar sooner than later, and almost definitely before Marian Hossa signs an extension, if he does at all. If you’re going to pour close to $20 million in cap space into a Big Two, it’s hard to imagine a better duo than Sid the Kid and Malkin In The Middle. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this issue at all.
Can't the NHL just make the goal nets a little bigger? Seriously. Goalies are a bunch bigger now than when you watch ESPN Classic games from the ‘80s. And defensemen are bigger and faster, so there seem to be fewer lanes/opportunities to get good shots off.
I'd like to see fulltime 4-on-4 play, but the Player’s Union would barf over that one, so it seems bigger nets are a good option. Any thoughts?
Mike, Denver, Colo.
Obviously, you are one of those selfish hockey fans who demand some kind of rational approach and solution to the NHL’s goal-scoring issues.
As such, you will be immediately targeted for derision and abuse from the conservative guardians of the game whose hearts race only at the sight of scrums along the boards and blocked shots. Consider thyself warned, heathen!
PS – If you’re sarcasm-challenged, that was me basically agreeing with everything you said.
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