Good questions. Here are some hopefully good answers:
Since the NHL All-Star Break has arrived, I figured that this would be the best time to ask some questions out loud and get your thoughts.
- When will New York Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro ever be healthy?
Maybe never. and this is the worst case scenario for the Islanders and that contract, which makes sense AS LONG AS DiPIETRO IS HEALTHY. Which he’s not. And if DiPietro gets hurt badly enough he can’t play anymore, you can buy him out and get him off the cap and move on. but if he’s reliably unreliable, you can’t bring in a new goalie, because if he ever does get healthy, you got problems (and you need a goalie wiling to play with a ghost hovering behind his shoulder). He’s going to mess up the salary cap intermittently, and you certainly can’t trade him — and his salary is only under insurance for so many years (four per contract, I think), so the rest of it is Wang’s problem.
This is the probelm with long, guaranteed contracts; this is the problem the entire NHL has to come to grips with. DiPietro is an extreme case, but the trade off of locking up your “key guys” for a long time is “what happens if they can’t be the key guy?” and as New York is showing us, the answer to “What do we do now?” is “Now we die…”
Teams basically are going to have to learn to be more willing to lose a player to free agency to allow for flexibility and limits to the impact of cap space. Right now, the mentality is still one of trying to protect the investment made in developing a player, but the cost of trying to hard to protect that investment is starting to be understood, and that’s going to mean shorter contracts and more willingness to recognize taht sometimes, you simply can’t throw that many years at a player in a deal.
We saw a similar problem in the first year or so of the CBA with no-trade and no-movement clauses; teams saw that as a way to get players to accept less money, and then got pissed when players fought about waiving them because they became inconvenient to the team (hello, Toronto, this means you); I’m with the players there, and you’re seeing teams roll back on no-trades and no-movements as a way to make it easier to hit the cap number. Long contracts are following that same learning curve. Even, maybe, in Toronto.
- Will this finally be the year that the Columbus Blue Jackets make the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Yes. My gut says so. My heart hopes so. they deserve it.
- Why isn’t Alex Ovechkin a starter in the All-Star game?
Because that’s how it works out. Never have so many pundits and bloggers spent so much time and energy talking about how screwed up something that really doesn’t matter is. Instead of talking about how screwed up it is, why not consider why they’re putting so much energy into it when it’s really meaningless five minnutes into the game this weekend and forgotten two days later?
- With the strong play of New Jersey Devils’ netminder Scott Clemmenson, what happens to Kevin Weekes once Martin Brodeur is healthy?
Look for Weekes to be on eBay. We’ll see who punches the “Buy now” button first. There are certainly teams who need someone like him. But teh bigger question may be “how much longer for Martin”, because Brodeur is going to retire “soon”, do the Devils try to hold this grop together for that eventuality instead of working on a “plan B” when it happens?
- Can anyone else believe that Claude Lemieux is once again an NHLer?
OLD GUYS RULE.
- Who’s better: the San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings or Boston Bruins?
We’ll know in June. We won’t know before. right now, it’s too close to call.
- Could we see an original six matchup in the Stanley Cup Finals this spring between the big bad Bruins and the Wings?
Yes. Will we? Not if San Jose has a say in the matter.
- Will this finally be the year that New York Rangers’ star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gets recognized as the league’s top goaltender by winning the Vezina Trophy?
Last year, Nabokov should have been, but got aced out by a goalie with a life achievement bonus. This year, it’s hard to argue against Lundqvist, but there’s this new puppy people keep talking about, someone named, um, Mason. It’s funny how the voters are some time….But then, these are the same people who vote but bitch about the all-star voters being stupid, so who knows?
- Will Sean Avery ever play in the NHL again?
Yes. For long? not so sure. For who? good question. Not San Jose, that’s for sure. Although Claude would kick his butt if he got out of line… Hmm.
- Will the press ever look at hockey in a positive light?
Maybe the beter question is “will people ever stop reading the idiots in the press who don’t understand hockey but insist on talking about it?” There’s lots of good hockey writing going on. Read it instead of the idiots.
These are just a few of the many questions that are on my mind right now but I wanted to gauge your thoughts. Leave your comments folks!