Expect to see Adam Oates in the Hall of Fame soon.
The office holiday party came and went Thursday night, and left me with a painful, head-related reminder of the revelry this morning. So if my answers seem a bit cranky, you’ll know it’s the dehydration talking.
The Blues need more offense up front. What forwards might be available as the season wears on?
Aaron Kutilek, St. Louis, Mo.
It really depends on the standings, and the teams that are at the bottom of them. As we get closer to New Year’s Day, I think you’ll start to see some separation between playoff contenders and NHL lottery candidates, and if the Blues are part of the former group, that’s the time when John Davidson and Larry Pleau will have to start picking through the bones of the latter.
However, there’s no real harm in speculation, so let’s assume the standings stay as they are now. I’d say the Panthers, Capitals, Maple Leafs and perhaps the Thrashers in the East would be bona fide sellers, while L.A., Calgary, and Nashville might want to dump some high-priced salary in the West.
Look through the rosters of those teams, and you can see where players such as Olli Jokinen, Viktor Kozlov, Mats Sundin, Marian Hossa, Ladislav Nagy, Alex Tanguay and Martin Gelinas may become available. I’m sure any one of those guys could help out the Blues’ offense.
Do you think Adam Oates deserved to be in the 2007 Hockey Hall Of Fame class? I think it’s just part of his being overlooked his whole career that made him not get in this year.
Maxim Willwerth, Moultonborough, NH
Oates may not have gotten his due during his fantastic playing career, but any player who averages more than a point per game over the course of more than 1,300 games is all but a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Oates just happened to retire around the same time as four other legends of the game, which is why he didn’t get the nod this year. But he’ll get in, perhaps as soon as next year, when he, along with Igor Larionov, will be a couple of the frontrunners.
I was wondering, why do the Blackhawks have “WWW” on their jerseys?
Craig Cameron, Winnipeg
The “WWW” patch is to honor the memory of the late Bill Wirtz, their former owner who passed away in September. His full name was William Wadsworth Wirtz.
I'm not a big fan of the shootout. I think the outcome should occur in a game-type situation. I remember back in 2005, Vancouver hosted the Canadian Hockey League’s prospects game and during one session they had a 3-on-3 game. If the NHL used this during the start of overtime with no offsides and hardly any stoppages it would create numerous scoring opportunities.
During the prospects game the goaltenders were a factor in that they kept the play going, sending players on breakaways during line changes. It was an exciting game of 3-on-3 with stretch passes and it was fast with no stoppages other than icing. It is frustrating watching a team lose on a shootout after playing a hard-fought game. What do you think – is this too radical, or is it flawed?
Sam Thauli, Delta, B.C.
It’s no secret I like the shootout, but I’m always open to other suggestions. Yours certainly has its merits, but here’s my problem with it: Coaches.
It may take them a year or two to figure out new systems, but coaches always seem to enjoy adding ridiculous amounts of defense to anything the league proposes. And I wouldn’t put it past them to take the approach you’ve suggested, and come up with something that extends even 3-on-3 action into the wee hours of the morning. I can’t see fans being too happy leaving the arena at 3 a.m. on a regular basis, can you?
That’s my biggest defense of the shootout – it’s the sole, practical, guaranteed way to decide games, and one that doesn’t threaten to make the length of hockey games resemble the length of baseball games. As long as coaches can meddle in the process of team play and make it dreadfully dull with defense, I think the shootout should stay.
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