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Monday Mailbag – What about the asterisk?

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to a brand new mailbag where the writers got to your questions to try and provide a little bit insight into the daily happenings of the NHL. Looking ahead to next week, I need you guys for this feature to work so please email me your questions to [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Have a good week, everybody.

Mar 5, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Kailer Yamamoto (56) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) during the third period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

1) Garrett asks – What is everyone’s opinion about the NHL deciding to re-seed after ever playoff round?

Jason Gregor:

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I have no issue with it. They want to reward the top teams.

Robin Brownlee:

I prefer it to the bracket. Re-seeding matches the best teams up with the worst as you move along. There should be some reward for regular season results. I liked the old 1-8 format before the NHL did away with it.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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I don’t mind it. If it benefits anyone, it’s the higher-seeded teams & I think that’s fine. I think the teams that get byes in the first round of the 24-team playoffs are actually at a bit of a disadvantage so if they’re fine with re-seeding after the first round, then nobody else should care.

Zach Laing:

I think it’s the way to go. Hopefully, will eliminate any weird matchups.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t mind it at all, but to be honest, I don’t really care what the format looks like provided that we’re able to watch some hockey again. They could put in some kind of Mortal Kombat style tournament and I’d be happy.

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2) Trevor asks – I’d love to know what everyone about the idea of an asterisk beside this year’s Stanley Cup championship? 

Jason Gregor:

I’ve yet to see one credible person write that this season requires an asterisk. Why would it? Will be four rounds of seven-game series, and there is also the qualifying round. Teams will be healthier and more rested than they ever have prior to the qualifying round starting. This season’s winner will be just as deserving as other years.

Robin Brownlee:

Why an asterisk? Teams still have to get through four rounds of playoffs to win.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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I actually wrote about this last week. It’s a complex issue. For the fans of the team that wins, it will always be considered a special championship but I have a hard time believing that the other 30 fanbases are going to view it as legitimate. Consider this: if the Calgary Flames won the Cup, would you not be chirping every Flames fan you know by saying it’s not a real Stanley Cup?

Zach Laing:

There should be an asterisk. It’s a weird playoffs, a weird season, and far from how the Stanley Cup has been traditionally handed out.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t buy it. In my opinion, if the NHL can get back on the ice, I think this year’s playoffs will almost be more meaningful to people despite the overall oddness of its presentation.

Oct 5, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward James Neal (18) celebrates a first period goal against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Jayson asks – We’re still waiting for the NHL to make a decision on conditional draft picks such as the one included in the Neal for Lucic trade, but if you were to guess, how do you see this resolving as one of the two sides will surely be upset with the result?

Jason Gregor:

I wrote I’d have Flames getting the Oilers pick and the Oilers getting a compensatory pick at the end of the third round. Pro-rating stats is simply a projection and not real, so I’d avoid deciding the trade simply on pro-rating the stats.

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Robin Brownlee:

I think the right choice is that the wording in the trades remains the same without adjustment. What they’ll do, I don’t know.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think that they’ll say the regular season is over and the stats are final. There is no need to pro-rate stats because you never really know what would have happened. I think Oilers fans have every right to be angry if the league gives Calgary that third-round pick.

Zach Laing:

It’s going to be a hard situation as both teams are going to be fighting hard for either getting or keeping the pick. In my eyes, Edmonton should keep the pick in the trade as the conditions weren’t met. I could very well see this going to arbitration though.

Baggedmilk:

I’ve been an Oilers fan my entire life so I’m just assuming we’re going to lose the pick because of prorating his goal stats or something.

4) Terry asks – On Friday, Sportsnet announced that Chris Cuthbert would be joining them to do play-by-play and I believe that’s a big addition for them. Who is your favourite sports announcer and do you have a favourite call of all time?

Jason Gregor:

“Touch em all Joe,” was a great call when Joe Carter hit the game winning homerun for the Toronto Blue Jays. My favourite announcer currently would be Dan Shulman. He is outstanding and can call a variety of sports.

Robin Brownlee:

It’s between Jim Robson, who I grew up listening to in Vancouver in the 1970’s and Rod Phillips. Rod’s call was always right from the gut — he wasn’t about over-using the same old catch phrases game after game as some guys today do. It was always raw and unfiltered. Best call? Tough to say. I used to collect great broadcast calls on CD’s growing up because I was a huge fan of radio and TV, so I had a lot of them. Chic Anderson’s call of Secretariat obliterating the field in the 1973 Belmont Stakes on the way to the Triple Crown has to be at or near the top. The call and the achievement was unforgettable.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Chris Cuthbert is right up there. He and Gord Miller are the two best play-by-play guys in hockey right now. Personally, I’m a big fan of Kevin Quinn as well. Outside of hockey, I love how Dustin Nielson calls a CFL game, excited for him to do more whenever the CFL starts up again!

Zach Laing:

I’ve always been a huge fan of Chris Cuthbert, so I would have to say him and his golden goal call.

Baggedmilk:

For me, I can’t help but think of Rod Philips because it takes me back to a time when I would listen to games on the radio with my dad while I was helping him in the garage. That voice will always mean something to me, and while there’s no specific call that comes to mind, I always loved when he would get annoyed by what was happening on the ice and drop beauties like this.

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5) Sara asks – Since hockey is generally viewed as an affluent sport, what do you think can be done to allow broader access to playing the game?

Jason Gregor:

Sadly Sara, not much. Due to the arena costs, registration will always be more than other sports. There are many great charities like KidSport and Sport Central who combine to cover registration fees and get kids equipment. One way that might help limit costs would be to use outdoor rinks more, and also build more shells, which are less costly, but not as cozy or big as multi-plexs. Of course the issue with that is that the multi-plex offers options for a variety of activities.

Robin Brownlee:

Cutting costs by reducing tournaments and travelling would be a start. Tournament fees and travelling costs (hotels, meals etc) are ridiculous for some kids in the elite streams of minor hockey. Do kids who are 10 years old need to be playing 30-40 or more games a season and travelling far and wide to play many of those games?

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It’s hard because it costs so much to play but I would love to see the NHL make a bigger push for marketing ball hockey or street hockey. I think that could really help grow the game in markets where it’s difficult to find a rink. Also, it’s much cheaper to just buy a stick and a net then it is to buy skates and full gear.

Zach Laing:

I don’t know that I’m the best person to answer this question, but I think the work has to start at the ground level when it comes to growing the game. That’s where you start to expand the game to audiences and groups that have been overlooked. The NHL with its billions of dollars in revenue needs to be willing to put in work there.

Baggedmilk:

To put it simply: A lot more needs to be done. When I was growing up, I relied on places like Totem Outfitters to gain access to used equipment to be able to play so I would like to see more done to make sure organizations like this are properly funded and replicated. For me, I would love to see more money and support put into spots like this and Sport Central so that more kids can get the equipment they need to play sports of any kind. Looking in your own home, if you have equipment that you’re no longer using, I’d urge you to consider donating it so that someone else can have the chance to love it the way you once did.

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