I'm overdue for a reader-response column, so this is it, with one difference: this time around, I'm also addressing responses to my daily blog.
The first comes from a Bruins fan upset with a perceived slight against rookie Phil Kessel (I noted he'd been dropped to the third line):
Adam, your comments about the Bruins and Phil Kessel are all wet and show a lack of clear observation. Kessel is young and he is still not physically mature. As a result he has been dumped easily. However, he is learning, and a fair assessment is to wait and see.
The real problem with the Bruins are too many new guys not following the game plans Â– particularly Marc Savard, who makes dumb passes and is inconsistent. In addition, Glen Murray continues to skate one game and then take two games off. These Â“veteransÂ” are supposed to be leaders, but they are not.
Dave Lewis has unexpected problems, but Kessel isn't one of them.
You're getting me all wrong. I like Kessel, even though he's not knocking Â‘em dead in my fantasy pool. But I don't think the Bruins are putting him in a position to succeed. A year spent dominating the AHL tends to help a young player's confidence much more than third line minutes and a minus-5.
But full marks for the phrase Â“all wetÂ”. Nobody loves language more than I do and I've got a particular soft spot for 20s-era James Cagney gangster movie-speak. As long as you don't accuse me of drinkin' the giggle water too much, everything will be jake and I won't tell you to scram.
Next up is someone who disagreed with a Screen Shots column that ripped those who rip Europeans as unworthy of NHL captaincies:
While I think that the North American vs. European captain debate is overemphasized, I do think there is some merit to the idea that (specifically) Canadian players want to win the Stanley Cup more.
Captains who've won the cup aside, I think the more telling stat is there has only been one European to win the Conn Smythe (and I think Yzerman deserved it more that year).
I think that says who wants it more and who brings their best when the pressure is on. That would also explain why only one American has won the Conn Smythe, as well (Brian Leetch 1994). Canadians want to win more, and thus, work their butts off to do it. That's also a part of leadership.
As I've written elsewhere, I think hockey fans and some folks in the NHL focus far too much on nationality, stemming from a provincialist mindset that desperately wants to believe a game could belong to a geographic mass.
Horsefeathers. In reality, it comes down to the individual. And do you really think there aren't lazy Canadian NHLers more concerned with money than championships? I've got news for you: those types of Canadians certainly do exist and some have played on recent Cup-winners. Like it or not, luck has more to do with it than birth certificates.
The Flyers keep saying to the press Â“we can build on thisÂ”, whether it is a win or just holding their own and losing. It's old already. What I want to know from you -- Mr. Blognoxious -- is what you think needs to be changed for this team to compete in its division let alone the league.
I watch them and just can't seem to put my finger on what is out of whack. Although, maybe the reason for this is that just too much in the Flyers organization needs fixing. Just hoping for some insight and analysis in addition to your normal great observations.
Moose Factory Maniac
Firstly, thanks for allowing me to write Â“Dear ManiacÂ”. You have no idea how long I've wanted to address a reader that way.
In brief, here's how I'd fix the Flyers:
1. Trade Peter Forsberg. Now. He ain't re-signing next year and he's one of the few Flyers who could fetch a couple of promising prospects on the trade market.
2. Throw boatloads of money at either Jim Nill or David Conte until one agrees to replace Paul Holmgren as GM. The No. 2 men in the Red Wings and Devils organizations don't get much press, but they've played significant roles in drafting and developing above-average NHLers for years. Since the Flyers have much to rebuild, they'd be wise to turn to two of the game's greatest constructionists.
3. Bring in another goalie to push Antero Niittymaki. Let's face it, Robert Esche is done in Philly. Dealing for a Martin Biron type would, at the very least, show Niittymaki he has to push himself more than he's done so far. At best, such a swap could turn up a bona fide No. 1 and allow the GM to fill other holes by trading the young Finn.
Finally, here's a response to a blog entry where I noted Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and I share a birthday and the same height (5-foot-11):
Come on, you're at least 5-12''!
Alas, I'm just short of the 6-foot mark when I'm not wearing shoes. And I never wanted to be one of those guys trying to round the numbers upwards in my favor. Besides, this way I can blame any outbursts on my Napoleon Complex, rather than simply being a goof.
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