Anything is possible as we head into the final quarter of the 09-10 AFHL Regular Season.
Comment from Gary Thorne: Hello all. Thanks for the time and lets go.
Steve from Miami, FL: Which AFHL team has the best goalie? What do you think about Chiefs Henrik Lundqvist?
Gary Thorne: I take Brodeur or Miller into any playoff year. Lundqvist is outstanding, but unproven in the playoffs. But the AFHL Playoffs is completely different and it’s going to be new for everyone. I think Lundqvist is going to do fine, but quality experience is tough to beat.
Cliff from Richmond, Virginia: Who do you think will win the AFHL Stanley Cup?
Gary Thorne: I think Hollywood because they are very well rounded. But if Broduer gets hurt, yikes. He’s their only starting goalie. But I think any team that makes the AFHL Playoffs has a real shot.
John from Buffalo, NY: Gary, do you think Ryan Miller will lead Team USA to a gold medal? Also, do you think the Heroes have enough this year – what do you think they need to win the cup? Thanks!
Gary Thorne: Yes, but that will be left for debate. Miller is one of the best goalies in the world right now. No, the Heroes don’t have enough to win the Cup. Miller and Bryzgalov is great for goaltending but they also have to do it on D and offense and I think that is too much to ask of this team… unless they make a trade of course.
Mike from Portland, ME: Hey Gary, enjoy your work up here among the pines. What do you make of GM Furino’s comments? He should have known he was going to come off like the proverbial ugly American, shouldn’t he?
Gary Thorne: Hi Mainer. Yes, Anthony knew, but couldn’t help himself. He will back off the comments as all professionals do in this day and age, but he meant every word. General Bradley said in WWII, if you want an effective army, be sure they get three squares a day and receive their mail regularly. If you want hockey players to perform, you better take care of everything including the small stuff.
Dan from Winnipeg, Manitoba: Do you now agree that Steven Stamkos should be on Team Canada. See what that other young gun is doing for the Russians. I agree with people that say you need younger fresher legs out there with more desire and heart to win. Older vets are just embarrassing.
Gary Thorne: Just wanted to add this for folks to see. This is a common comment today. Yes, Stamkos should be on Team Canada.
Lisa from Philly, PA: Gary, do you forsee a future Washington Power team ever winning the AFHL Stanley Cup? Or will the other teams just too dominant? Is it finesse, speed and skill that is beating the “bump and grind” team style? Or is it something else?
Gary Thorne: Absolutely. Whatever the case may be, the Washington Power will always have a chance as long as they have their key players in place. Once their young players develop, Washington will be able to play the skate and finesse game as the competition in the AFHL force that upon teams and players who want to compete at that level.
Jason from Grand Rapids, MI: Is there any reason to believe that Ilya Bryzgalov will continue his good performance this year?
Gary Thorne: Sure, he’s been solid for most of the season. He’s hasn’t been as hot as he was earlier in the year but if his team plays better more consistently then he’ll continue putting up good numbers. I don’t think his numbers can get any worse than right now. And that’s not bad. Not unless he decides to experiment with playing while blindfolded, anyway.
Melissa from Toronto: Gary, you aren’t afraid to criticize, whether it’s flimsy one-piece sticks or players’ performances. Have you ever been confronted by someone who thought you were offside?
Gary Thorne: I’m sure people say stuff, but I’ve never been confronted. You know, I’ve got to do my job for the viewers, and I’ll continue to do my job that way.
Sam from San Jose, CA: What do you think of the Wheat Kings changes so far?
Gary Thorne: I think their new GM Jay Irvin is making great decisions. He’s a tough taskmaster, and he’s extremely well organized and well disciplined. They had fallen into disarray with the old GM, so he was a good choice. Irvin has an excellent reputation, and he’s accomplished a lot. I think it’s a good combination. He’s instilling a different attitude. (Winnipeg is) a unique place because the press has been giving them a hard time as of late, and you need a strong guy who can take it. And I think Jay Irvin can do that. However there are rumors the team can move to a different city after this season.
Andrew from London, Ontario: Datsyuk returned to St. John’s, does that make them a contender in the Canadian Conference?
Gary Thorne: Yes, it does. Datsyuk has that much talent and power and ability to play big minutes against top centers in the game. Having said that, it gives the Red Wings so much more strength now. You have to be strong on offense to win the AFHL Stanley Cup. With Datsyuk, Toews, Zetterberg, that’s a terrific combination.
Steve from Dallas, TX: Where would you like to see the next Winter Classic played?
Gary Thorne: I think New York would be cool. Islanders versus Rangers, great rivalry matchup.
Comment from Gary Thorne: Thanks one and all and sorry for the delay when the little laptop went POOF. And remember, in the immortal words of Red Green, KEEP YOUR STICK ON THE ICE.