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NHL on TSN Quiz: Leafs' centres, Briere, 2011 HOF and scoring

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TSN.ca Staff
11/3/2010 10:13:17 PM
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Each week, the members of the NHL on TSN panel voice their opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.

As a follow-up, TSN.ca offers you the opportunity to chime in on all the big issues with our insiders. Read up on all the questions and answers from TSN's hockey experts, and put in your own two cents on our popular Your Call feature.

This week, the panel discusses the Maple Leafs' centre ice corps, Briere's three game suspension, the 2011 Hall of Fame-eligible players and innovations to score more goals.

Question #1: Will the Maple Leafs' centre ice corps - Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, John Mitchell and Tim Brent - ultimately lead to their downfall this season?

Bobby Clarke: The most important person on the team, for any team, is the centreman. With the defenses that are being used, every team has so many players down low and unless the Maple Leafs get a No. 1 centreman or unless they get a lot more production out of the centremen they do have, they're going to have an awful tough time making the playoffs.

Craig MacTavish: I think they're good enough to compete for a playoff position, they certainly were at the start of the year, and I think they're good enough. They might have some troubles overall offensively, but it's not going to be exclusively the centreman.

Bob McKenzie: I will break the tie and say yes, it will be their downfall. There will be certain games where they get the job done but over the course of an 82-game schedule, they need more skill in their top six and they need more strength down the middle.

Question #2: Danny Briere says three games is excessive for his high stick/cross-check on Frans Nielsen. Was it excessive, just right or lenient?

McKenzie: I will say excessive. Under normal circumstances, a player would get one game for that crease to the top of the helmet that didn't inflict any damage. Because he was a repeat offender you make it two games, so it was just heavy by one game.

MacTavish: I'm going to say lenient. As a centreman, you know what your stick is capable of and you know where your stick is going. Nobody better portrayed that then Bob Clarke himself. Accidently-on purpose take your teeth out, and that's what I think Daniel Briere was trying to do.

Clarke: It wasn't really that bad if it was the first time he had done it, but because he's a repeat offender I think it was just right.

Question #3: Which of these Hall of Fame-eligible players deserves to be first in line when 2011 voting takes place - Ed Belfour, Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros or Joe Nieuwendyk?

MacTavish: I'm going to say Joe Nieuwendyk. He was the perfect compliment to three teams. He started in Calgary where he won a Stanley Cup, and was a perfect compliment in New Jersey and Dallas.

Clarke: I'll say Eddie Belfour. For me, the best goaltender ever has been Martin Broubeur, but after that you've got Grant Fuhr, Ken Dryden and so many others, and Belfour's right in there.

McKenzie: I'll say Pavel Bure and the reason is simple; three times he lead the NHL in goals. If you can lead the league in goal-scoring and be an electrifying presence who is also a physical player that had an unbelievable impact, I think that's the definition of a Hall of Famer and I think it's time. 

Question #4: Now that scoring is at its lowest in the post-lockout era, it's time to consider ways of increasing scoring. Which innovation tested at the summer R & D camp would you endorse as a means to increase scoring - the shallow net, wider bluelines, or no icing permitted while shorthanded?

McKenzie: I will say no icing while short-handed but in reality, I don't want to make any changes at all. I'll take the most dramatic of the three if I'm going to do it. But what's better; a 2-1 hockey game in the final five minutes or a 5-1 hockey game? One's got three goals and one has six goals. Is the six-goal game better? Not necessarily. I would just leave things the way they are.

MacTavish: I'm going off the board with bigger nets. I don't understand what the aversion is to lengthening the nets. When the economy sputters, you need stimulus in the way of money. When your offense sputters, you need stimulus. Widen the nets and you'll get a lot more goals scoring when you do that.

Clarke: I think we have to move all the faceoffs to the middle of the ice. I think we have too much play on the boards, which is a little bit exciting but it's hard to score.

Joe Nieuwendyk (Photo: Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)
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