Selanne trade had to be made
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Nice flurry at the deadline, eh? You have to think that the Capitals improved themselves immensely. Trevor Linden should be a major playoff factor. The Blues got the big banana in Keith Tkachuk, but if defenseman Chris Pronger isn't healthy and productive come playoff time, Tkachuk won't be enough to get them through the top teams in the West.
Another swell batch of missives, folks. Keep' em coming down the stretch.
What do you think about the Edmonton Oilers' chances of doing damage in the
playoffs? They are riding an unbelievable winning streak and the Anson Carter
trade is looking like a good one. I think Tommy Salo is one of the most
underrated goalies around, and if he gets hot in the playoffs like he is now,
the Oilers will be very dangerous. I am a born and bred Oilers fan (I saw
Gretzky raise the Cup in person), so nothing would make me happier than a run
through the playoffs this season. Any
I like the Oilers a lot and they could really give St. Louis or San Jose some trouble. Edmonton would have a very tough time beating either Colorado or Detroit, though. Carter's an impact player and Doug Weight is arguably the best passer in the league. With what Mike Comrie has added the last couple of months, and Ryan Smyth's sustained level of play, Edmonton has a very balanced and multi-faceted attack. Salo's superb; he has a Vezina in him some day. How far the Oilers go will depend largely on where they end up in the tough West.
You can hardly call the Teemu Selanne-Paul Kariya experiment a failure. The
scouting report on the Ducks has consistently been to keep these two off the
scoring sheet any which way you can. They were all alone on this team. Two guys
do not make a team. For the last three years (since Mario's retirement), Selanne
and Kariya were the most potent duo in the NHL. You can't knock Paul or Teemu
for the Ducks' misfortune. Check out the streaky Guy Hebert and the rest of the
dressing room to find out why the Ducks are as far from a Cup contender as the
You clearly make the point of why it was a failure. I don't fault Kariya or Selanne for the team's struggles. I fault the management strategy that said, "Let's pay two guys with half our budget and then try to build piecemeal around them." Anaheim had so much invested in those two players that an opponent had an excellent chance of beating the Ducks if it could stop, or at least slow, Selanne and Kariya in a game.
Do you agree that Anaheim got more than it could have expected from the
Sharks? I think San Jose took a big gamble giving up Steve Shields and
Jeff Friesen. To be fair, if Selanne gets hot in the postseason, I reckon the
Sharks could get to the Conference finals at least. Is it a mistake to give up
two key guys, or does it show San Jose's desire to be an elite
This was a good trade for both clubs. San Jose had to make this deal. Players of Selanne's explosiveness are so rare, and as good as Friesen is (he's very good) the Sharks have a several excellent, young two-way forwards to compensate for his loss. Also, the fact that the Ducks will pay about $2 million of Selanne's $8.5 million salary next year is another boon for the Sharks. San Jose's major risk is simply the unproven Evgeni Nabokov in net. If he gets rookie jitters in the playoffs the Sharks could really miss Shields.
At this point in the season, who are your top three candidates for the Hart
Joe Sakic, Joe Sakic and Joe Sakic.
The Rangers went through another disappointing season. I know most of their
free-agent acquisitions have been busts. However, this year's free-agent crop
looks to be one of the best ever. Do you think it is a good idea for the Rangers
to go after the likes of Sakic, Rob Blake and John
They'd be wise to sign one big name, and for my money it would be Blake. He'll be hard to land because he's leaning toward going to Toronto. But New York's just a 90-minute flight south, so the Rangers could win him over. Blake could really set a new tone in New York, which is what the team needs. The Rangers wisely held on to their few young assets at the trade deadline -- general manager Glen Sather knows that this team needs to develop from within -- and it would be wise not to spend crazily on the free-agent market. You can't build a team that way, and certainly not by giving players like Valeri Kamensky $6 million a year. One big signing and maybe a secondary, mid-priced pickup (a Tim Taylor type?) would be about right.
Do the rest of the GMs share Pat Quinn's opinion of Bob Clarke? Bobby
certainly doesn't have many fans in the Toronto area, and I just want to know if
those feelings are shared around the
Some GMs love Bobby Clarke and some can't stand him. He's a strong-willed and strong-minded man and his force of personality ensures that everyone has some sort of reaction or take on him. Clarke has been generally very well-respected -- and not least for what he accomplished as a player. He's smart and isn't afraid to advance original ideas about the game.
Clarke's handling of the Eric Lindros situation, though, underscores why some GMs can't quite stomach him. Quinn isn't the only one of Clarke's peers who shakes his head at how vindictive Clarke can be. Other GMs have complained that Clarke can be difficult to work with because of his stubbornness, but this complaint is usually registered with grudging respect.
Sports Illustrated staff writer Kostya Kennedy covers the NHL and is a regular contributor to CNNSI.com. To send a question to his mailbag, click here.