McKenna’s Mailbag: Responding to Everything From Goalkeeper Treatment to Social Media Players

By: Mike McKenna:

My answer: Oh, it gave me enormous anxiety to see Thatcher Demko reaching the goal with a bare tackle hand. Skateboard blades have always been my biggest fear as a player. I took every precaution to wear cut-resistant underwear and a high neck protector, but it was impossible to prepare for everything, like losing your blocker halfway through a save streak.

Kudos to Demko for fighting and getting the job done for his team, but how dangerous is it? He could easily have lost a finger. In my opinion, it is ridiculous how the rulebook deals with these situations. Essentially, it’s this: “play.  »

This is not how it should be. Demko’s physical health was in jeopardy. Can you believe it’s the same if the Guardian’s mask comes off? If it is a chance to score, the game is supposed to continue. I think it’s unwise of the NHL and NHLPA to allow its players – goaltenders in particular – to continue playing without essential protective gear.

My answer: This is not surprising given Alex’s history as a prolific goalscorer in lower levels of hockey. In 2018-19, he scored 34 goals in 74 games for Tampa Bay AHL affiliate, Syracuse Crunch. In 2017-2018, he scored 53 goals in 65 goals for the Armada Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL.

For me, Barré-Boulet is a classic example of a player who has to be on the goal line to be successful in the NHL. He is not a player in the bottom six. The Lightning has plenty of qualified shredders to fill these spots. Pat Maroon, Corey Perry, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – they are unlikely to fill a high role on any of the better scoring lines. This is where Barré-Boulet really makes sense. The hard part is, if he goes on waivers, someone will probably claim it. He’ll soon be a full-time NHL player – but I don’t know in which organization.

My answer: Looking only at this season’s play: here are my top five NHL goaltenders through November 6, 2021:

  1. Igor shesterkin
  2. Sergey Bobrovsky
  3. Frederik Andersen
  4. Elvis merzlikins
  5. Jacob Markstrom

My answer: I absolutely hated having to sit somewhere else in the arena rather than on the bench with my teammates. The intentional separation of the alternate goalkeeper is beyond comprehension. There is simply no excuse for not having enough bench room for all players, including goalies.

Think about it: when I back up I can be thrown into the game at any time. Why the hell should I sit under the bleachers in San José? Or in the locker room, like in Chicago or Minnesota? Or through the surface of the ice, like in Montreal ?. Being on the bench with your teammates is worth it. I loved being able to interact with my goaltender partner in the game. I relied on them for comments and the occasional laugh. They kept me down to earth.

My answer: I really like the city of Buffalo. I have a lot of friends who live there and they are proud of it. They are passionate. And they deserve better. From chatting with former teammates who played there, my hunch is that this is a case of over-ownership. Bad leadership breeds dysfunction. And I think that’s what happened in Buffalo.

As for Vegas, there are some very smart people who work at the abacus. The Golden Knights are currently the favorites this season to win gold in salary cap gymnastics. From a purely mathematical point of view, this is impressive. Some teams spend more than others on capologists and it shows.

My answer: At the start of my career, social media was new. Many players rejected it. Teams weren’t encouraging players to use Twitter, Instagram, etc. It was considered selfish in hockey culture. At best, it was tolerated. At worst, the teams wouldn’t allow it. It has changed over time. The players – and the NHL – have realized the power of social media. On a personal level, I have had a lot more positive interactions than negative interactions and have had some really interesting opportunities through social media.

I think the vast majority of gamers are using Twitter now. It is their source of information. Even if they don’t post often, they will peruse it. And the players who don’t have a public account – you can bet they have a shadow account. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had player or management feedback on my tweets – and I can’t find their public account. I find the shadow society hilarious.

I can’t think of anyone who was completely in love with the words of social media. But Instagram? Oh yes. The guys are on Insta all the time. They really like the pictures.

My answer: No, I think the Chicago Blackhawks have bigger problems than coach Jeremy Colliton. They may be one of the worst 5v5 teams I have ever seen, but the way this list is built is not conducive to victory. The Hawks need a new GM and a new president in the worst possible way. And quite frankly, hockey should be the least of their concerns right now. The whole organization needs a makeover on and off the ice.

My answer: You’re right, Kyle. It has almost become taboo to play the same goalie two nights in a row in the NHL. I don’t have any specific analyzes in front of me, but I do know that there is statistical evidence that playing a new goalkeeper gives a better chance of winning.

It’s still interesting: in the AHL, games are often grouped together on weekends and goalkeepers will play back to back. I even played three games in three days a few times. I really enjoyed it and felt the pace was good for my game. So it’s always fun for me to see quotes from an NHL coach talking about the bet of playing a goalie two nights of following. I know the stats can say it’s risky, but I like a goalie who can step in and play every night.

My answer: Absolutely – being a high draft pick is a blessing. Teams have entire scout teams whose work is built on the success of these players in the NHL. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen so many early draft picks get a second, third, even fourth chance – when a late pick would have been sent to the curb.

I firmly believe it: if you are a first choice in the draft, the teams will find excuses for you. They will do their utmost to justify the choice. Teams like to prove they were right. For low draft picks, it’s up to the player to prove the teams wrong. The bridge is stacked against them. But that doesn’t mean they can’t come out on top. At the end of the day, if a player is good enough, both mentally and physically, they are likely to get there.

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