Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo both have contracts with the Canucks, but only one is expected back with the team next season. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Questions. Answers. We have both in today’s mailbag. Thanks as always to everyone who submitted something.
Hi Adam, (assuming) Cory Schneider has more trade value and is more attractive to other clubs, what are the odds of Vancouver trading him and keeping Roberto Luongo? Or is the relationship with the team and fans completely over?
Eric Barriault, St-Constant, Que.
I don’t think there’s any way the Canucks keep Luongo for exactly the reason you mentioned in the last sentence of your question. I don’t think he has burned any bridges with fans – certainly, his image has only improved after the class he showed all season long – but if you were him, would you trust GM Mike Gillis to place a large amount of importance on your best interests?
I would not. Gillis said it was “unlikely” Luongo returns to the team next season and I think that’s the understatement of the year. If the Canucks don’t move Luongo, it will be another black mark on the Gillis Era in Vancouver – and this time, nobody would blame him if he didn’t react nearly so well.
Hey Adam: As a long-time Coyotes season ticket holder, I'm rather frustrated by the lack of news concerning the team's future. Are you hearing more than those of us who live near the arena? Any thoughts you have on how this mess will end would be very welcome. Thanks.
Jeff Rich, Avondale, Az.
I completely understand your frustration. This saga has dragged on far too long and still doesn't have a clear end in sight. Remember all those times NHL commissioner talked about the numerous ownership groups interested in the Coyotes? It’s his job to publicly espouse that type of optimism, but few people in the hockey world believed him – and the reality on the ground has validated that skepticism.
There could very well be an end to this mess this summer – if Glendale Council ratifies an owner-friendly deal; if the league can find another owner; or if the franchise relocates suddenly a la the Atlanta Thrashers – but having come this far, I wouldn’t be completely taken aback if it dragged out some more. It’s not fair to Coyotes fans, but that’s the reality.
Hey Adam, Any thoughts on surprise big name amnesty cuts next season? Ilya Bryzgalov seems to be a likely choice but will big-contract guys like Brad Richards, who haven't done a lot, be in danger of getting the axe?
Scott Brofman, Los Angeles
No, I don’t imagine there will be some shocking buyouts this summer. Bryzgalov definitely is a candidate, as are underperforming veterans such as Toronto’s Mike Komisarek and Montreal’s Tomas Kaberle, but it’s too early to speculate on other potential amnesty targets.
To wit: if the Rangers lose their first-round series, maybe a buyout of Richards or someone else on the roster becomes more palatable. But if they make a long run, that changes. In other words, wait a few weeks and the picture will be clearer.
Adam, do you ever envision a world where hockey fans aren't constantly despising each other? Fans of different teams are stereotyped simply because of the way some players on said team play. As a Habs fan, people automatically assume that I am a whiny Francophone who believes myself to be better than all other breeds of hockey fans. It's absolutely ridiculous. Just wondering your thoughts on this whole topic.
Sebastian Lane, Ariss, Ont.
You make an excellent point that I couldn’t agree with more, but I think we’d both be fooling ourselves to imagine that the general public would be so mature to try and look at the bigger picture.
OK, maybe mature isn’t the right word. But there’s no doubt professional sports is one of the last bastions of tribal behavior – you know, the idea that in the battle of “Us” vs. “Them”, the other side are awful simply by being on the other side – and that isn’t likely to change. Some people only can feel better about themselves by running down somebody else and leagues like the NHL present an easy-to-digest way to do that for the average Joe.
Adam, how long will the Predators hang on to coach Barry Trotz? It appears he has lost respect, no longer can coach and the team is going nowhere. Why keep him?
Richard Macksoud, Columbia, Tenn.
With due respect, I think you’re not giving enough respect to the challenges Trotz and his coaching staff have faced each year. This season, for instance, he lost Ryan Suter, who in all likelihood is going to win the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. I don’t know of too many teams that could afford to remove that type of talent from their roster and still make the playoffs, let alone thrive.
But beyond that, Trotz and Co. have created a real culture of accountability – and they were only able to do so because management believed in his message. Like all coaches, he’ll be fired one day, but this season isn’t enough reason for me to argue that he ought to hit the unemployment lines.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.