In his first year as coach of the New Jersey Devils, Brent Sutter has his team on top of the Eastern Conference. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Another Tuesday, another round of your questions and my answers. (It’s still miserable outside in Toronto as I write this, so my commitment to bare-bones mailbag introductions remains intact.)
When, if ever, are we going to see the end of this inane deal with the home teams wearing road uniforms and road teams wearing what have traditionally been home jerseys?
I, for one, am sick and tired of it. Any chance the NHL will get back to normal?
Ron Caldwell, Asheville, N.C.
You’re far from the only one who’s had it with the current uniform setup. I haven’t been able to find a single hockey journalist, fan, player or management type who thinks the league’s idea to switch road and home colors was a good one.
I hold no real optimism that the NHL will soon revert back to the way uniforms should be worn. I mean, it took them a full three-year cycle of their gawd-awful schedule before they were willing to scrap that plan – and even then, they didn’t alter it to the degree they should’ve.
I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the league should be sorrier. They’ve got an easy situation to fix, yet stubbornly stick to their half-loaded guns. It’s a philosophy you’ll find throughout the NHL’s history, and this is just another rotten manifestation of it.
How far do you think Carey Price can carry the Canadiens in the playoffs?
Terence Mielke, Oshawa, Ont.
Um, far. Not Stanley Cup final far, but at least second-round far.
After that, Price is going to need more than a smidgen of help from the rest of his talented teammates to get the Habs into the Eastern Conference final and beyond. He (and Montreal) may wind up getting there, but in true hockey fashion, it will need to be a total team effort to do so.
You mentioned in your last mailbag that your top three picks for the Jack Adams Award are Guy Carbonneau, Bruce Boudreau and Wayne Gretzky. While all three of them have certainly done commendable jobs with their respective teams this season, how is it possible that Brent Sutter does not even make the cut for the top three, much less win the award altogether?
I feel sometimes New Jersey's perennial success is taken for granted by those in the hockey community. This season, the Devils have arguably their worst team in recent memory on paper, but have defied the odds (and most expert’s predictions) to battle for the conference crown. Does Sutter not deserve recognition for that accomplishment?
Terence To, Mahwah, N.J.
I got quite a few comments on that particular mailbag question, none of which were especially pleased with my choices.
You could definitely make an argument for Sutter, although I’d bet the success of Martin Brodeur (a surefire MVP contender) will work against him getting the Jack Adams.
Now, is that entirely fair? Probably not, as you could say the same for Gretzky and Ilya Bryzgalov. But I submit to you that Phoenix’s team this season was, on paper, its worst in a long, long time and as such certainly was less talented than the Devils were.
That’s part of the reason why Gretzky is on my list, and Sutter isn’t.
How many people have to sign a petition to get CBC and TSN to make the graphics showing "score, period, penalties, etc." smaller?
The graphic stretching out from one side of the screen to the other and always inches from the top is ruining my total enjoyment of watching the NHL. The playoffs are weeks away, so let’s get this in the ears of the people at both TV stations. How can you help to get this message to the masses?
Mike Roseman, Brantford, Ont.
I understand exactly what you’re getting at and echo your sentiment. However, here’s my problem with shrinking on-screen graphics: old people.
What I mean is, with the aging baby boomer population that still makes up a good deal of the hockey-watching public, making it more difficult to see the score is just asking for trouble.
To wit: when The Hockey News recently redesigned our hard copy edition and shrunk it to a standard magazine size, we heard from all kinds of senior citizens who were just about apoplectic that we’d shrunk our typeface.
What made those complaints especially interesting was the fact we didn’t shrink the typeface at all. But that didn’t stop the fogy brigade from ranting ‘till their oxygen tanks ran dry. For a couple weeks there, we couldn’t even get our cars into the company parking lot without being bombarded by Molotov cocktails made out of Geritol bottles.
I exaggerate for comedic effect, of course. But to believe there wouldn’t be any repercussion for your suggestion is to not understand the demographics of hockey’s fan base.
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