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Mailbag's back

Friday, 11.16.2007 / 12:00 PM / Ice Age

By Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

Should there be an official annual award named after Wayne Gretzky to recognize the yearly leader in assists?
After a one-week hiatus stemming from no questions, rants or raves, an abbreviated mailbag returns to Ice Age. Remember, this is your forum, so the life and death of this weekly chance to talk resides with you.

***

Why is there no individual award for accumulating the most assists in an NHL season? I know that the Maurice Richard Trophy (NHL leader in goals) was introduced fairly recently (in 1999) and the Art Ross Trophy (NHL leader in points) has been around for a while (since 1947), but yet nothing for leading the league in assists? To me, this seems to suggest that an assist is not as valuable as a goal. There are two ways to score a point in the NHL, and it seems a little strange to award a trophy to the top goal scorer and a separate piece of hardware to the top points-getter, but to forget the leader in assists entirely?

I think it would be neat if the NHL introduced the Wayne Gretzky Trophy for the player that leads the league in assists. Wayne Gretzky is such an obvious and intuitive choice that I don't even feel further justification is needed.

What are your thoughts?

-- Rakesh

Hi Rakesh. The logic of your argument is without question, not only in terms of an award being presented to the top playmaker each season and certainly in terms of whom to name it after.

Why there is no award for assists I quite frankly don't know. But it makes all the sense in the world to me, especially if you name it after No. 99.

Perhaps we'll crown the winner each season here at Ice Age and build a little momentum for taking such an award further. Thanks for the note!

***

Hey, I'm a Preds fan and here's a quote I got from an interview the other day at a Preds practice from Chris Mason on what it feels like to lose a starting job.

"It doesn't feel great inside or outside, but I knew it was going to be a challenge being the No. 1 goalie in Nashville. I have not lost my confidence ... and I don't plan on it. Dan (Ellis) is a great goalie and I feel great and confident when he is on my job. Even if he does take my starting job, I know he'll do great and I will still help him if he needs it. There're unlimited things you could say about Dan. He's just like "A-Rad?" (Alex Radulov), he's skilled, talented, has quick reactions, not too familiar with the NHL, and most important, they both know how to take the uppercut (hard times). They could easily become one of the top two players in Nashville, or even greater ...the NHL."

That's it! He did keep on talking, but it wasn't familiar to this subject. This would be great to post on NHL.com if you get the chance to. Thanks anyway!

-- Jack Safford

Thanks Jack, consider it posted. The remark certainly points to the character Chris has displayed in persevering to reach the NHL. He's a great team guy and one of the players NHL.com has enjoyed working with over the years because of his honesty and affable nature.

***

I have to say my favorite rookie is Peter Mueller of the Phoenix Coyotes. I live in Everett, Wash., and have enjoyed many games where Peter has been a great young player with the Silvertips. I'm very glad to see he got a hat trick in the game Wednesday with Anaheim.

I'm also a fan of the Coyotes, having been to a few games when we visit our son and family, Jim Armintrout, who happens to be the director for FOX AZ. Love the game. Thanks for letting me have my say.

-- Ilene

Hi Ilene. I remember Shawn Roarke tipping me off prior to the Vancouver draft about the dedicated and loud cheering sections that Everett Silvertips players could expect. What a great fan base, and it made those kids selected feel like a million bucks.

Glad you got the chance to see Peter play in person.

***

What are the rules in regard to the goalie crease?

Thanks, you're doing a great job.

-- Brett, Sydney, Australia

Thanks for the kind words, Brett. They are always appreciated.

Rather than run the risk of misinterpreting something, I'm going to direct you to the online rule book, where you can see exactly what the scoop on the goalie crease is.

Check out the 2007-08 Official NHL Rules page on NHL.com.


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