Jacques Lemaire turned the Devils season around, but retired at the end of it. (Getty Images)
This is a birthday mailbag - mine, not the mailbag’s. How old am I? How dare you. Just get on with the reading of the questions below, OK?
Adam, when you cast your vote for the Calder Trophy, do you take potential past NHL experience into consideration? For instance, would you weigh Jeff Skinner and Logan Couture differently? One way to look at it is they're both technically rookies and that's all that matters. Another way to see it is that Couture played the maximum 25 NHL games last year as well as some playoff games and had considerably more experience than Skinner coming into this NHL season, which may put him at an advantage. Thank you very much!
Noah Segall, Los Gatos, Calif.
I’m in the camp of “if the rules include someone, they have to be considered, even if I don’t like the rules.” Which is why, when I did vote this week, I had Couture ahead of Skinner. It’s not an ideal situation, to be sure, but them’s the rules.
Hey Adam, With Jacques Lemaire’s announcement that he will retire, who do you think the Devils will name as their next head coach?
Jeremy Faust, Mahwah, N.J.
I joked on Twitter that I’d ask Lemaire if he would consider coaching the Devils next season via Skype. Failing that arrangement, I think GM Lou Lamoriello will be looking for an experienced hand to replace Lemaire - unless that un-experienced hand belongs to current Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller, arguably the hottest coaching property around right now.
Otherwise, I think an option like Ken Hitchcock would be ideal. As the failings of John MacLean proved, the Devils dressing room requires a veteran at the helm.
Hi Adam. If the NHL will let the Winnipeg Jets back into the league, will they have to close another franchise? If so, who is a possible candidate?
Isaiah Carlen, Campbellford, Ont.
For your answer, I’m just going to go ahead and direct you to Ken Campbell’s story on the Coyotes from Thursday night.
Adam: Since Bryan Murray took over the GM post in Ottawa, the Sens have slowly become a laughing stock and less competitive. Now with a three-year contract extension for Murray, will there be more disappointments or will Murray stop giving away assets so the capital can get a Cup?
Gary Schwarz, Waterloo, Ont.
Gary: I too was baffled by the choice of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to retain Murray. How long of an extension would he have received if the team hadn’t missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons? Ten years? A job-for-life, as Rangers GM Glen Sather appears to have?
In any case, just because Murray is returning doesn’t also mean the fans will be any less impatient and forgiving with him. I don’t think the Sens as presently constituted are a playoff team next season, so it will be intriguing to say the least to see how Murray navigates his way through the year.
Adam, I understand Garth Snow will always be the butt of jokes due to the way he was hired, but I don’t get the constant bashing he seems to get (and not just from Nabokov fans). He has built a great core along the lines of the Hawks and Penguins and picked up lots of great additions over the years, all while being the NHL version of Siberia. Rick DiPietro’s contract wasn't really his doing, so why no love for the man? Thank you (and NYI playoff berth guaranteed for next year),
Tom Brady, Long Island, N.Y.
To be sure, Snow and the Islanders deserve credit for the way the franchise ended the season; the team was, for the most part, competitive night in and night out and has some solid prospects in the system. But for every positive, there is an equal or greater negative that takes the focus away from where it ought to be.
For instance, at this week’s NHL draft lottery in Toronto, the Islanders sent assistant GM Kerry Gwydir to represent the organization. No slight to Gwydir, but a more public face of the franchise - either a current or former player, or gosh forbid, Mr. Snow himself - should have been there.
Now, if it were a one-time missed appearance on Snow’s behalf, it would be understandable. But Snow never has attended a draft lottery proceeding; when Steve Tambellini and other GMs can make time to be there, it reflects poorly on the Isles and the men at the top.
Adam, Where is Ted Nolan? Will we ever see him back in the NHL as a head coach?
Adam Lewis, Foam Lake, Sask.
Nolan currently is the vice-president of hockey operations for Rochester of the American League. Stranger things have happened than seeing him return to the NHL for another tour behind a bench, but when you consider how tough it is to get a job in hockey’s best league - Stanley Cup winners Hitchcock and Bob Hartley have been unemployed for more than a year now - I don’t see a good fit for Nolan, even with the recent slew of jobs that have opened up.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.
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