Maybe Phil Kessel can go for the double.
Or, with the way the Maple Leafs are going these days, maybe he'll have a teammate to take his place.
Either way, the NHL All-Star game in Ottawa this winter will again include a player draft, and that draft will again include having one player assigned the distinction of one player being drafted last, as was the case with Kessel last year.
"The feedback I've received from the NHLPA is that the players like it," said NHL vice-president Brendan Shanahan, who devised the all-star draft format last year in Raleigh.
"We're still talking, and we'd like to clear up a few things. But the players got a big kick out of it."
Two of the changes that might be installed will be alternating the selection process so that one year a forward is picked last, and one year a defenceman. This year's draft might also have the final two players brought up on stage together, with more of a light-hearted approach to giving a car and a cheque for charity for the final selection.
Now on to this week's mail bag:
Q: Thank you for pointing out the obvious and setting the record straight in your recent blog, "Monstrous." I am also tired with the excuses for Jonas Gustavsson. I know the season is young, but there are a lot of young goalies out there with extremely high save percentages. The question is now, what do you do with the Monster? At 27, he isn't the goaltender of the future and I really don't think the Leafs can pot five goals every fourth game to get the kid a win. Does Gustavsson have any trade value at all? How do the Leafs make this guy someone else's problem?
David Bachusky, Toronto
A: I don't think a trade is necessary. I think they have to find a way to develop Gustavsson and find him regular work so he can find confidence in his game. Right now, that appears to be with the Leafs as long as James Reimer is sidelined. Indeed, Reimer's injury could turn out to be a blessing in disguise if Gustavsson is able to get on a roll. Team defence won the game in Manhattan Thursday night, but at the same time, Gustavsson has won two of his last three starts and allowed less than four goals in a game for the first time in a while. Baby steps.
Q: Liked your article about the Monster - what many people fail to understand is that Brian Burke went to Sweden primarily to sign the Sedin twins not knowing tht the twins were already signed by Vancouver - in his haste to make the trip look successful he signed Jonas Gustavsson and introduced the Monster to the NHL. Giving players names like "Monster" or "The Real deal" did not exist in the past, Players had to earn their new names like the Rocket, the Golden jet, Jake the Snake or Mr. Hockey. Hero worship should not take place before a player has established himself in the NHL, it is not the right way to go, Very American thing to do I must admit.
Jim McDonagh, St.Catharines
A: I'm not sure what some of this means. But I can tell you that you're dead wrong on how Gustavsson was signed. The Leafs were already in hot pursuit of him long before Burke flew to Sweden on July 1st to try and sign the Sedin twins. In fact, he'd met with Gustavsson at least twice, including at the world championships. If he had signed the twins, he still would have tried to sign Gustavsson. But Mike Gillis beat him to the punch. Burke was in the air en route to Europe when the Vancouver GM closed the deal.
Q: Damien. You know nothing about goaltending. In order to play well, a goalie has to play often. Most great goalies have solid teams in front of them. Gustavsson has had neither. If you put Gustavsson in Vancouver. They will win the cup hands down.
Gustavsson was the sacrificial lamb in Boston. The Leafs were due for a loss and they shielded Reimer to protect him from a confidence breaker going into Montreal. Yep. Give Gustavsson Boston in Boston. If he wins it's a bonus. If he gets shelled.. we've saved Reimer. Save percentages mean NOTHING. Where are the shots from is what counts. You wait and see. Gustavsson will get run out of town and be a star elsewhere ... and Reimer will end up being another average goalie. Take that to the bank.
Stephen Smith, Newmarket
A: Two bizarre thoughts in one question. First, that with Gustavsson in net the Canucks would win the Cup easily. Second, that save percentages mean nothing. I look forward to your follow-up email when your predictions all come true.
As far as me knowing nothing about goaltending, I know just enough to cheer on my 13-year-old son every week when he takes the crease.
Q: Why isn't Cody Franson playing instead of Komisarek or Gardiner. Enough with Komisarek. He's not good. Wilson and Burke know it. Stop covering for the bad signing and the fact that he's American and get Franson in. Also, stop the line juggling. Let Bozak play and take the faceoffs on Kessel’s line. Finally give Kadri the chance to play. This "one bad night" and you’re out policy by Wilson has everyone afraid to just play and maybe make a mistake. Let the right guys play and gel. Address this stuff Damien!
Quinn McCabe, Ottawa
A: Okay, one by one. First, I don't think Komisarek is nearly as bad as some believe. He's just overpaid. But that doesn't make him worse than he is. Franson just hasn't played well enough to take somebody's job, and the same goes for Kadri. Bozak, meanwhile, has already played himself out of a regular spot beside Kessel. He had his shot. I think Wilson has to manage the balance between letting some guys stay together - the Grabovski line, Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarson - and searching for combinations that work on the best on any given night.
Q: Does Burke have a penchant for American-born players? Looking down the Leafs roster I cannot remember a team with such a high percentage of U.S. players. I am wondering if this is a result of Burke's influence or just a matter of coincidence. I don't have a problem with this current Leafs roster, just something interesting I noticed. Your thoughts?
Thanks for your opinion as always.
Nick Bloomfield, Dartmouth, N.S.
A: Nope, I don't think he does. His team in Anaheim was predominantly Canadian. He's drafted any number of Canadian players in recent years. I don't think any responsible GM can afford to favour one nationality over another these days. Just gotta find the best.
Q: So far this season, Ron Wilson has avoided dressing Jay Rosehill or Colton Orr. A move I actually applaud. I believe the team is winning, in part, because it's dressing players who are more two-way hockey oriented than, say, bludgeon ready. Even with the injury to Colby Armstrong, the team is still plenty tough (see Brown, Schenn, Phaneuf, Komisarek). However, Armstrong and Clarke MacArthur both look to be out of the lineup, which makes adding one of the hired goons all but inevitable.
My question is: With a plethora of NHL calibre defencemen hungry for ice time, and a winning team seemingly focused on puck movement from its rearguards, wouldn't a logical choice be to dress 7 D-men, as opposed to one of the tough guys?
Curious to know your thoughts. Thanks!
Jordan Kern, Toronto
A: Dressing seven defenceman is an option, but few NHL coaches like it. It's just too hard to even out the rotation. Moreover, the idea forward rotation is four lines at least for half of the game, and dressing seven blueliners takes that option away unless one can take shifts at forward. I'm not saying its a bad idea. It's just tricky to manage, and most coaches prefer six.
Q: Everyone who follows your column knows full well that there is no love lost between you and "General Wilson". For his part Wilson has difficulty communicating with the media but more so with his own players. There are players in the league who have come right out and stated that they would not play for Wilson for various reasons. Can Brian Burke not see what is happening in Leaf Land? With eight D-men on the roster this situation is going to arise each and every game unless Burke steps in and puts an end to it?
Gil Martel, Barrie
A: I don't think there's an issue of "any love lost" between Wilson and I. I respect his pro record. I don't particularly have trouble with his strategies. But his win-loss record in Toronto is what it is, and I struggle sometimes with his ascerbic, sarcastic style. But there are definitely head coaches in Toronto I've liked a lot less. I've really got no problem with Wilson.
As far as juggling D-men, this is what happens when you start adding depth. There's going to be competition for jobs, and that's a good thing.
Q: I am turning off the NHL. I do not want to send that violence message to my four grandsons. I will watch the CFL instead. I hope that Stephen Harper takes charge of this because obviously the old boys club in the NHL could care less about the message it sends of children. Fighting can be easily eliminated. Ten games first offence, then 20, then a season. Let’s get the goons out of the game and put some talent in there. I would rather watch Sidney Crosby than some goon.
Randy Hamel, Red Lake
A: Well, my preference is to keep watching and keep fighting the good fight, which is to get the goon element out of the game. But to each his own.