Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 8/12/12

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 21: Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 21, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After one week of trying to get people to ask me questions pertaining to hockey, I have received four questions from two people. Even though it is a low amount, I thank them for it. You can see their questions and my answers after the jump.

This upcoming week, as well as just about every week throughout the year, I will continue to answer your questions that you would like answered. They can be about the NHL, AHL, juniors, minors, hockey gear, rules and more. As long as they are about the game of hockey.

If you do have questions, email them to thehockeymailbag@yahoo.com immediately so you won't forget. Or, you can tweet them to @Fang_Faction.

Don't forget, your questions will be answered!

Shea Weber, captain of the Predators, in pregame warm-ups.From Stephen S. in Nashville, TN asks...

Q: Will the Nashville Predators be good this season?

A: As of right now, it is hard to tell because there are still moves to be made not only by the Predators, but within the tough Central Division. This off-season, there is no question the entire Central Division skill has decreased, but with that comes more competition. 

The re-signing of Shea Weber saved Nashville's season and I do believe they will be a playoff team, no biased opinion about it. With the current roster they have, they will either finish 7th or 8th, just getting in.

The upcoming season for the Nashville Predators will be up-and-down with crazy emotions of anger, happiness and depression due to a very young team trying to get used to the NHL grind.

To answer the question, Nashville will be good this season, but not as good as last season.

From Ben P. in California asks...

Q: What is the difference between an associate coach and an assistant coach?

A: Honestly, I had to look this up myself. However, I wasn't able to find much on your question.

There really isn't much distinction between the difference of the job between the "associate" and the "assistant" coaches. The associate coach is second in charge to the head coach and the assistant coach is "below" the associate.
NHL Referee looks on at the play.
Q: If a puck is batted down in the offensive zone by an offensive player above the cross bar and hits a defender and goes in the net, is it a good goal? Or is it whistled dead when he high sticks it?

A: According to Rule 80 Section 3 of the NHL Rulebook, "When an attacking player causes the puck to enter the opponent’s goal by contacting the puck above the height of the crossbar, either directly or deflected off any player or official, the goal shall not be allowed."

To answer your question, it wouldn't be a good goal. However, if the opponent bats the puck himself into the net, it is a good goal.

Q: When can a player touch the puck with his hands? Only in the defensive zone? 

A: According to Rule 79 of the NHL Rules, a player can touch the puck anywhere on the ice. However, there is a difference in which zone he is in. 

If a player is in his offensive zone, that player can "bat" the puck out of the air with an open hand. Afterwards, that player will have to immediately knock the puck down to the ice. If that player closes his hand on the puck and skates with it, then it will be a minor penalty for handling the puck.

Or a player can push the puck along the ice with his hand, and the play will not be whistled dead unless, under the Referee's discretion, that player has passed the puck to a teammate. 

According to Rule 79 Section 2 of the rulebook, in the defensive zone, "play will not be stopped for any hand pass by players in their own defending zone. A hand pass in the defending zone is considered to have occurred when both the player making the pass and the player receiving the pass have both of their skates inside their defending zone." 

Follow me on Twitter @Fang_Faction
Email me your question to thehockeymailbag@yahoo.com 

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