Thursday, November 8, 2007


A friend recently called me and wanted to do a little Q & A with me about a few recent happenings in hockey. Whenever I get a call from him it turns into a heated debate for an extended period of time (my wife hates it because the phone is usually attached to her head and she gets jealous). I figured I would share the raw results and estimated time with you.

Q: Is Eric Lindros Hall of Fame worthy?
A: No. When Glen Anderson and Rick Middleton get the call then we can start to talk Lindros, until then the answer is no.
Q: So you don’t think he will get in?
A: I’m sure he will get in. There are enough supporters to push him in, but you asked if I thought he was worthy and my answer is no. There are still some players on the outside who need to get in before considering Lindros. The problem is politics and agendas drive the selection decisions and until that changes I don’t put any stock in HOF choices.
Q: So you don’t agree with the selection process?
A: I feel that the benchmarks are blurry and without clear-cut benchmarks it is subject to tainted decisions. If you solely went with production numbers (for forwards) and set a benchmark of say 1000 points and weighed that against games played and championships won, then you would have a base for decisions that couldn’t be argued. The process right now allows too much wiggle room and we have players getting in that shouldn’t and players not getting in that should.
Q: With your suggested benchmark, Middleton wouldn’t get in. I don’t think he broke 1000 points and he has no championships on his resume care to explain?
A: Exactly. Neither did Lindros and that’s why I say he isn’t worthy.
Q: What about considering what he could have accomplished if not for injuries?
A: Projected stats? I truly hope that doesn’t play a factor. That could be done for a ton of players and the Hall would be full. Bob Carpenter in the Hall? Just look at Mario, Bossy and Orr they had shortened careers due to injury and their numbers blow Lindros away. No, projected stats are a waste of time.
Est. time 14 min.

Q: Right now, who is the best player in the NHL?
A: Right now? Henrik Zetterberg.
Q: Just because he is leading the scoring race?
A: Yes. And when the game is on the line I want the puck on his stick. Until someone plays better he is my choice.
Q: Do you think Crosby will pass him by soon?
A: Sure, and maybe Thornton or Iginla too, but right now he is playing better.
Q: Where do you see Zetterberg at season’s end?
A: In the top 10, maybe #6 or #8 – higher if he stays healthy all year.
Q: So if he stays healthy, do you see the Wings as the best in the West?
A: Yes. Even if he isn’t healthy all year the Wings are the best in the West. They are solid in all areas and their record shows it.
Est. time 6 min.

Q: Are the Bruins actually better this year or are the teams in their division weaker?
A: They are tougher to play against. If that makes them better, than okay sure. I’m not sure the other teams are weaker, just off to rough starts.
Q: Do you think the B’s have a shot at the playoffs?
A: Everyone has a shot – the Bruins need to find some scoring if they want to win. They have tightened up the defense and that keeps them in the game longer and their physical play makes them tougher to play against. Relying on an aging Glen Murray oft injured Sturm and youngster Kessel to carry the scoring while Bergeron is out makes me think they will start to slide soon.
Q: About Bergeron – what do you think about the 2 game suspension?
A: Maybe it should have been a little more, but Jones isn’t a dirty player and I think he just used poor judgment on that hit. It’s hard to tell if a player is going to turn to face the boards at the last moment when you are committed to making the hit. Jones should have just pinned Bergeron to the glass instead of finishing off the check, but the decision was made and a 2 game price was paid.
Q: You don’t think the punishment should reflect the injury?
A: Hits like that are a tough call. Clearly Jones didn’t mean to injure him just take him out of the play. No one wants to see a lasting effect from the injury, but keeping Jones from playing until Bergeron recovers makes little sense. Maybe the suspension should have been 5 games to give Jones time to think about his decision, but more than that wouldn’t have made sense.
Est. time 8 min.

Q: What do you think of Mike Modano setting the record for U.S. born players?
A: Good for Mike. He is the face of American hockey. Trouble is that here in the U.S. it is back page news. This is where the league fails to market its players to the U.S. audience. Instead of pushing Americans to like Crosby they should hype the likes of Modano to give U.S. fans an American hero.
Q: You don’t think Mike is too old to be hyped as a hero?
A: Not at all – actually there are several U.S. players that should be hyped and the fact that they aren’t shows that the league is content on pushing Crosby and Ovechkin on everyone. Not that I don’t think those two deserve to be hyped, only give Americans a homegrown hero to cheer for.
Q: So who is your favorite U.S. born player right now?
A: Ryan Suter – there are tons of appeal to push him through the hype machine – solid game, big hits, terrific work ethic, great lineage – there is a story just waiting to be told.
Q: And your favorite all time?
A: Pat LaFontaine.
Q: Do you think we will start to see more U.S. players becoming stars in the near future?
A: Yes. U.S. hockey is doing a wonderful job with their development programs and the last few drafts are starting to reflect that. It won’t be long before some kid out of Texas or Florida goes on to have a celebrated career.
Q: You take in a lot of youth hockey games – Do you think hockey is growing at the grassroots level in the U.S.?
A: The numbers are up and down from year to year, but overall I think it is growing and most importantly it is growing in non-traditional markets and that is the key to success for U.S. hockey. I live in Ma. so the numbers here are always strong – but if you look at what is happening in Dallas the numbers there are doubling and that is a great sign of growth.
Q: You mentioned the U.S. development programs – How accessible are they for most kids?
A: They hold tryouts every year in my area for a reasonable fee and it is a great way for kids to measure themselves against the best around. They take the best and put them in programs that focus on getting them to the next level. When 6 to 10 kids go in the 1st round from a U.S. program that to me is a success.
Est. time 12 min.

Well, that only accounts for half of the actual time spent on the phone and only because my wife threw me the “I’m gonna kill you look” did it end that soon. When it comes to talking hockey I don’t put a time limit on it, but when it comes to talking on the phone my wife’s limit for me is around the 80-minute mark before something heavy gets thrown at me. The phone is back where it belongs pressed up against her head and I will head for the computer.

No comments: