Marian Hossa is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Has it really been a week since I last sat before a word processor? I know time flies when you’re on a long-overdue vacation; I just wish it would fly a little more like the average airline company does – you know, with a lengthy, unforeseen delay built into every trip.
Anyway, let’s get back to your questions, which didn’t stop arriving in my mailbox when I was out gallivanting in the Nevada desert.
Following the Flames religiously for many years now, the past three years have shown that, due to inadequate secondary scoring, we have continually failed to be among the elite in the NHL.
Therefore, which free agent do you think would help the Flames make such a transition in the off-season?
Keep up the great work mate!
Matt Witkowski, Melbourne, Australia
Secondary scoring, eh? Well, if you want your secondary scoring to come from a soon-to-be-unrestricted, elite free agent like Marian Hossa, you’re looking at paying out somewhere in the area of $7 million a season.
I doubt Flames GM Darryl Sutter has the inclination (and I know he doesn’t have the salary cap room) to make a serious pitch for Hossa, which is probably a good thing for Calgary fans.
Pavol Demitra and/or Brian Rolston might be better and slightly cheaper options, but they’ll still command relatively hefty salaries. I think Sutter and the Flames may just be happy re-signing Daymond Langkow and one of Craig Conroy or Owen Nolan to new deals, and either trade someone or give their prospects an extended look next season.
When will the NHL take notice of Africa and South America as markets to tap in the future, the way Major League Soccer does. Will it ever happen?
Miguel Diaz, Vineland, N.J.
I wish I could tell you it will. But let’s be serious – this is the National Hockey League we’re talking about. Some would say the NHL is still trying to figure out a way to tap into the American market. And I would be one of the some.
The semi-inspiring news is the league and Players’ Association have begun to recognize the importance of expanding operations – at least, in a marketing sense – to Europe. However, the likelihood that mentality extends to other continents in the near future is slim at best.
If a goalie lets in a goal in a shootout, does it affect his save percentage and goals-against average?
Olivier Sutter, St. Lazare, Que.
Shootout goals affect neither a goaltender’s GAA nor his save percentage. And I have neither a snarky nor sarcastic comment to follow that sentence up with.
I was curious about right-handed shooters versus left-handed shooters. Mikael Samuelsson, Kirk Maltby, Chris Chelios and Brian Rafalski were the only right-handed shooters the Wings fielded in Game 1 against Dallas; why is it the preponderance of shooters are left-handed on the Wings and in the NHL when right-handedness is a clearly dominant trait?
I know these guys are true left-handers by the way. Is everything reversed?
Tim Diehl, Harrisburg, Pa.
Perhaps it’s the Las Vegas sun that’s still adversely affecting me, but I haven’t the slightest idea how to deal with this to your satisfaction. You may wish to try another mailbag column, “Ask A Different And Much Smarter Adam” to get this answered.
So how was Las Vegas?
The first day of the trip was good. Some pals and I caught a few rays by the fantastic Mandalay Bay pool and saw enough silicone to erect a giant, Burning-Man-like tribute to Anna Nicole Smith.
Later that night, we made the short trip to the Palms Casino, saw Dennis Rodman in the lobby, and got into the Ghostbar nightclub, which I have to admit has the best view of any bar I’ve ever seen.
The second day was also spent out by the pool, but after about five hours of intense Las Vegas sun, I wound up with a severe case of heatstroke that put me on the Injured Reserve for the final two nights of our stay. I guess my hockey writer alabaster skin just couldn’t hold up.
Therefore, next vacation, I’ll have to visit a place where there’s not a whole lot of sunshine. So far I’ve narrowed it down to Iceland and John Tortorella’s outlook on life.
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