Jarome Iginla finished the season with 50 goals and 98 points in 82 games. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
The playoffs are a little more than 24 hours away, but you wouldn’t know it judging by the varied nature of your questions. Keep ‘em coming by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why doesn't the NHL do more to market Jarome Iginla? I understand the drive to tap into the American market and he happens to play for a Canadian team and is a Canadian, but he's also one of the league’s best players, who also happens to be black.
It's no secret the NHL needs to tap into more markets to survive and thrive, so you'd think they'd take the opportunity to promote a star of Iginla's caliber and try to get African-American/Canadian kids excited about the sport and dispel the notion it's only a Caucasian sport.
Outside of a brief fascination with hockey jerseys and logos in mid-1990s hip-hop fashion, the NHL has done very little to promote the sport as open and accessible to African-Americans/Canadians and it's not only a shame, but just plain stupid on their part from a business standpoint.
I know you're for the NHL really promoting stars other than those named Crosby, but usually, for the most part, the discussion never goes past Ovechkin as the "other stars." Not doing anything with Iginla is just a huge missed opportunity by the NHL’s powers-that-be that will have lasting repercussions on the sport and I don't understand why they can't see that.
Mikhail B., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Well said and I don’t disagree with a thing you’ve written. The problem here is, like many aspects of the league, there is neither the long-term vision nor enough financial backing from owners to truly address the issue.
For example, when the opportunity came to expand NHL rinks to Olympic size (a move that may have mitigated against some of the trap-happy, deathly boring play you see a lot these days), the owners chose the quick, easy – and most importantly, cheaper – route, and kept the arenas as-is.
Sure, the league takes a few initiatives to grow their fan base beyond the largely Caucasian collection they’ve got right now, but considering the ever-changing demographics of North America, they’re not doing nearly enough to properly address future challenges. Promoting guys like Iginla – while at the same time finding ways to make equipment cheaper (and thus more attainable for people of all social classes) –would be a very good start.
I should probably leave the puns up to you, but how far do you think Price will be able to Carey the Canadiens this spring?
Is the Stanley Cup final too much to ask, even after his almost single-handed victories with Canada's national junior team and the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs?
Jon, Hamilton, Ont.
Personally, I think asking Price to assume the bulk of Montreal’s load in their Cup chase is a little much.
That’s not to say the Habs can’t make it at least to the Eastern Conference final – I’ve got them pegged to be there, and lose to Pittsburgh – but Price will need a good deal of assistance from his teammates to help them make it.
I was just wondering what’s going on with Steve Sullivan? Is his career pretty much over?
Chris Nelson, Grande Prairie, Alta.
Sullivan underwent a second surgical procedure on his back last summer, and it was initially believed he’d be back playing for the Predators sometime in December. The fact he hasn’t come close to returning to Nashville’s lineup by now is troubling news indeed for those who hope to see him continue his NHL career.
You never want to say a player is done before the player himself says so, but it isn’t looking too good for Sullivan right now.
Do you think Bryan McCabe should be suspended for pitch-forking Gregory Stewart in the Canadiens/Leafs game last weekend?
Justin D., Ypsilanti, Mich.
Sure do, but that’s part of a bigger discussion than I have space (and time) for here. McCabe isn’t any different than many NHLers who, for one reason or another, believe it’s fine to seek out retribution for perceived on-ice cheap shots.
The only way you’ll ever see vicious spears (I think that’s Britney’s long lost cousin) eradicated once and for all will be when the league decides to punish all unsportsmanlike acts severely enough to make players think twice before unleashing their inner caveman.
The usual answer hockey traditionalists have for that is “players don’t have time to think on the ice,” and that’s another case where I have to politely disagree. Players have been permitted to act the way they do, and the minute sufficient financial and/or game-playing penalties have been laid down upon them, I think you’ll be surprised how quickly they learn to apply some brain matter the next time they’re on the ice.
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