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Mailbag: Sam Gagner's audition

Updated: February 3, 2012, 2:41 PM ET
By Craig Custance

If that was a tryout, that's about as good as it could have gone for Sam Gagner. Four goals. Four assists. And a place in the Edmonton Oilers' record books next to Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.

It was an eight-point night Thursday for Gagner in Edmonton's stunning 8-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Gagner has been a regular in the rumor mill for half his career, and before the game Blackhawks blogger Tab Bamford examined the positives and negatives behind the Blackhawks potentially acquiring him, including the fact that Gagner and Patrick Kane know each other well from their days together in London.

After Thursday night, there's another negative. The price just went up.

Chicago GM Stan Bowman has a history of acquiring players who aren't just rentals, but chances are he'll wait and see how Brendan Morrison fits before shopping for another center. But Gagner certainly made a great pitch.

And now, the Friday mailbag:

Why has Alex Ovechkin received such backlash over the last 12-24 months? Fans (not in the DC/MD/VA area) and national media slamming him and saying he's not an elite or top-flight player anymore. What has he done to deserve the turnaround? There isn't a team in the NHL or probably anywhere in the world that wouldn't want Ovechkin to play for them. So why such resentment towards him? He plays hard and with passion and wants to win. --David Jacobson, Frederick, Md.

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