After the Whistle: Should the all-star fantasy draft be altered?
Each week hockey columnist Scott Morrison and his protegé, senior hockey writer Tim Wharnsby, exchange (mostly) friendly banter on the latest storylines in the NHL.
1. Considering the hullabaloo over Phil Kessel being selected last in the NHL all-star weekend fantasy draft last Friday, would you keep the format the same or alter it?
MORRISON: If Kessel felt slighted in any way, I feel sorry for him. But he shouldn't. He was still acknowledged as one of the top 40 all-stars and it was going to happen to someone. To change it would make the whole thing bogus. It was great fun, the players played along and I would give it another try.
WHARNSBY: I wouldn't change a thing. Having somebody go last adds to the intrigue of the affair. I even know of a few last-pick office pools that existed last week.
2. What was your favourite story from the past week?
WHARNSBY: Jeff Skinner's Justin Bieber, rock star-like status as the youngest participant in the NHL all-star weekend in front of his home team fans in Raleigh. The 18-year-old Carolina Hurricanes forward, who leads all rookies in points with 40, wore a continual smile for three days. The story that hammered home about the kid's class was when he scored his 50th goal for the Kitchener Rangers last season, he had a photo of the feat blown up to send as a thank you gesture to a minor hockey coach who helped Skinner develop.
MORRISON: This is a bizarre one, but Gary Bettman admitting the number of concussions have increased. I don't like that, but it is a positive that more are being identified. It doesn't mean more are happening. And a lot of them are the result of accidental contact, not necessarily headshots. Having said that, Bettman also acknowledged the league will continue to closely monitor the situation but won't overreact or react too fast and that is exactly the right approach to take. There are too many knee-jerk reactions. Any change leads to other changes and deciding whether to eliminate any kind of headshot — head on, accidental — needs to be thoroughly thought through, which is why they should convene a summit of players past and present, coaches, managers, referees and doctors.
3. On the Marc Savard concussion front, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said: "we care about the health and welfare of Marc for now and the future. If it means we have to shut him down for the rest of the year, we will. If he comes back, he's not coming back anytime soon." If Savard is shutdown for the season, should the Bruins use the money they save under the salary cap to acquire a forward or defenceman before the Feb. 28 trade deadline?
MORRISON: If he is shut down that would be a huge shame, obviously. But they have to do what is right for him. And that is the only motivating factor they should have. If it should happen that is the way to go, then they definitely could use a forward or puck-moving defenceman, or both.
WHARNSBY: The Bruins have not been offensively challenged this season. They are among the top-10 teams in scoring, but tops in goals against. However, you can never have too many defencemen and if Chiarelli could acquire a top-four blue-liner the Bruins would be that much more difficult to score on.