Each week Richard or one of the Illegal Curve staff will answer some mailbag questions from our readers.
Ken in Vancouver, BC: How impressed have you been with the Canucks’ start to the season?
Well Ken, it is early but I have to say that Vancouver has looked terrific so far. Posting eleven goals through two games was certainly unexpected and maybe, just maybe, people have underestimated the team’s depth lines and their scoring ability. In fact, if I am a Canucks fan I am very encouraged considering the team has scored eleven times and none of that production has come from the Pyatt-Demitra-Raymond line (I realize that Demitra scored in OT but it was 4 on 4). If that line gets going, and they have created enough chances to make you think they will, then the Canucks could be a force in the Northwest. One last thing though, let’s not get too fired up over the Canucks just yet. Remember they have played the same team twice, so it could be that Calgary is worse than people think and when we look back on the season these victories may not seem as impressive as they do now.
Kim T. in Rochester, NY: Who do you think is the first coach to get fired this season?
That is a tough question. With so many new coaches hired this off-season, I don’t think there are many who could even be candidates to be fired during the 2008/09 season. To be honest, I think there is a strong possibility that no coaches will be fired during the season. I know it sounds crazy but take a look around the league. I guess if Calgary really struggles Keenan could get the gate, but I don’t think that is likely.
Anthony in Pittsburgh, PA: Do you see the Penguins making any moves for some help on defense?
I’m sure the team is looking for some replacements on the back-end right now but really there isn’t much out there. The team doesn’t lack for stay-at-home defensemen; rather they could use a veteran puck-mover. However, once you take a look around the league and then examine what the team has in-house, Ray Shero’s best bet is probably to stay the course and just try to hang around the playoff race until Gonchar and Whitney do return from injury.
Aaron C. In Bloomington, MN: After reading your Minnesota Wild season preview I just don’t get why you are so high on the Wild. I guess I’m not as sold on this team as you are.
Aaron, the Wild is a team that is well coached and well managed. So, first off I really don’t see them losing some games that other teams would due to being unprepared or maybe being a bit unmotivated. Additionally, they won the division last year and while they may have gotten weaker up front, they improved on defense and have the same solid goaltending duo returning for another season. Of course, I am somewhat concerned about the Gaborik issue becoming a distraction but if they trade him, they will probably get a couple useful pieces that should help them right away. Overall, I see the Wild as the co-favorites with the Oilers to take the Northwest Division.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in questions. If you have a question for next week’s mailbag just click here and send it in. I’ll try to get to as many as I can.