The Penalty Box
remains somewhat quiet these days. CTN isn't too worried as he understands that the mailbag volume is cyclical in nature. CTN expects the quantity to pick up as we hurtle toward the NHL's regular-season finish line.
But while expecting more submissions in the coming weeks, CTN is very grateful for the loyal readers that continue to provide material for the Penalty Box. Without your efforts, this column would not be what it is. CTN thanks every one of you that have taken the time to write and urges you all to continue submitting your thoughts.
There is still room in the Penalty Box
for newcomers. To join the party all you have to do is put together your hockey-related rant and fire it off to CTN at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and hometown and you are done. It's that simple. CTN looks forward to hearing from you soon.
Now, on to this week's letters:
Just a few comments on some points you made last week:
* CTN extends get-well wishes to Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour, one of CTN's favorite players. He is out for the season with a knee injury. His professionalism and proficiency in the faceoff circle was the highlight of any Hurricanes game.
Shawn, I think this guy was built by Skynet. Talk about one of the best physical humans ever. This 4-to-8 month injury could be a mere couple of months in the gym for him.
* On your comments about Bob Gainey, how good do you think the Leafs would have been if my man Ken Dryden had won the power struggle and Gainey had wound up the GM in Toronto? Do you think that Mats Sundin would have had a shot of the Cup with a Maple Leaf on his chest? Without a doubt he would have.
* Chris Chelios will be 48 when the Winter Olympics begin in 2010. "Mr. Hockey" was 52 when he played his last NHL game and 69 when he played his last professional game. I say put "Chelly" in the roster and put him in charge of team meals. Chili three times a day. Who's bringing beer?
* Is it CTN, or is the Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton feud approaching the enmity displayed by Tie Domi and Bob Probert during their wars back in the day. Just asking.
Remember Tie and Bob ripping each other's jerseys off in a fight? Now if Lindsay and Paris square off, we can only hope they don't have hold down straps.
* And finally, on the Devils, not only does Marty need some crease-clearing defensemen in front of him, he needs a rest. Playing in 75-plus games of 82 in six months is no easy task when you are gearing up for four rounds of playoff hockey.
Cheers my man.
-- Jeff Edlund, Parsippany, N.J.
Jeff, a solid letter, for sure. Maybe Rod Brind'Amour could use some of his injury-related downtime to tryout for the lead role in a potential remake of the Six Million Dollar Man. He is far tougher than Lee Majors, the original Steve Austin in the 1970s series on ABC. CTN can see Brind'Amour cutting at least a month off the projected rehab timeframe.
As for the Bob Gainey alternate universe in Toronto theory, CTN is not too sure that the Leafs would be Cup champions by now. They might be better, but there was – and still is – a lot of work to be done to get the Leafs back to the top of the NHL pack. By the way, CTN thinks it is horrible that Mats Sundin has had to endure the barbs he has for exercising his no-trade rights.
“Chelly” can bring the chili to Team USA camp, but there is no way that he should be playing for the Americans in two years. He certainly will be capable of playing for Team USA come 2010, CTN just thinks it would be a mistake.
Tie-down straps for Hilton and Lohan? Perish the thought. Plus, Lohan will be arriving for the potential clash in ill humor after being awarded a bunch of Golden Raspberries – the antithesis of an Oscar – last week. CTN picks Lohan to emerge in a barn-burner.
Finally, I addressed the Brodeur situation in The Breakaway, but CTN is not all too concerned about the workload in the long run. Brodeur has proven he can handle it in the past. In New Jersey's last two runs to the Stanley Cup, Brodeur played in 95 and 97 games, respectively.
Another great article last week; but, to be honest, I would have thought you would want to take the reins of your own team and handle the GM job on your own. And I'm a little surprised that you would give the nod to Brian Burke given that you're such a die-hard Devils fan and your philosophy of building from the back, I'd have thought Lou Lamoriello would grab it for sure. Incidentally, for my own team I'd have chosen him or Ken Holland. Both have known almost nothing but success and, let's be honest, if there is any such thing as a dynasty these days the Devils and the Red Wings are it. But your article leaves me with two burning questions. Who is your coach of choice? And, what would the team be called?
As a parting thought, a friend asked me a great question the other day, he asked if I could receive a one-timer pass from any player in history and score on any goalie, who would they be? I went with a pass from Bobby Orr to score on Terry Sawchuck. Who would you pick?
-- Tyler Moyes, Cambridge, Ont.
Tyler, CTN has never been shy about the admiration for the Devils, but CTN likes to think that his outlook on the game runs deeper than mere partisan lines. CTN likes to look around the League and see what is working, no matter the city in which the success is taking place. Plus, remember, Brian Burke is a disciple of Lou Lamoriello. Burke played for Lamoriello at Providence College and also learned a good deal of his management philosophy from watching Lamoriello operate there. CTN just loves the way that Burke combines hockey smarts, personality and community involvement into a complete package. You are right that CTN would love to sit in the GM chair, but that premise pretty much would have scuttled the column about the best GMs in the game. And, the idea of having enough money to own my own team is kind of a comforting thought, CTN must admit. Off the top of the head, CTN would have to say that he would name his team the Rockers. It pretty much captures the spirit of CTN's attitude on music and hockey.
|Brian Burke played for Lou Lamoriello at Providence College and also learned a good deal of his management philosophy.
Your other question is an interesting one. You've already stole Bobby Orr from me, so Bobby Orr from Derek Sanderson against the Blues' Glenn Hall – the immortal Stanley Cup goal – is out as an answer. Therefore, in the spirit of originality, I will have to go with being Cam Neely and firing off a one-timer from a Adam Oates' pass past a clearly befuddled Patrick Roy. Not too bad, eh?
Sorry for not writing for so many months, but my e-mail wasn't working for a long period of time. I believe that the whole Mats Sundin saga was not Sundin's fault at all. The Leafs approached Sundin at one of the worst times possible, almost right before the deadline. They should have approached him in the early part of the season, telling him why they needed to trade him. As fans, we figure someone must be insane for not wanting to win a Stanley Cup. But look at the way Sundin has been treated -- endless rumors in the media, enraged fans and certain hockey figures denouncing him as disloyal. All he wants to do is help his team. Even though the Leafs aren't going anywhere this season, let's not forget what he has done for the team -- and maybe even could still do in the future.
-- Phil Marfisi
Phil, great to hear from you again. No need to apologize, just glad to have your voice back in the discussion. CTN agrees wholeheartedly that Mats Sundin should not be cast as the bad guy in Toronto. Perhaps the only thing you could accuse Sundin of being is loyal – to a fault. I would imagine that if management made it clear to CTN that the welcome mat was worn out, CTN would start looking for another gig. But, as I said last week, it would be on my terms and not on the organization's. On a related note, CTN was convinced that John Ferguson Jr. was going to lose it during TSN's marathon TradeCentre08 show Tuesday when the rest of the panel kept riding the former GM for all the no-trade deals in the Toronto room. Even interim GM Cliff Fletcher gave Ferguson some shots in his post-deadline news conference. Yet, JFJ took it all like a man. Good on him. It will be interesting to see what Sundin does this summer as an unrestricted free agent. One would think that he would return to the Maple Leafs after talking about loyalty for the last few weeks. But stranger things have been known to happen. CTN would make a strong play for him on July 1 because he is the type of player and type of leader that a winning team can always use.