Adam Proteau, currently the brand's columnist/writer, has worked for The Hockey News since 2002 and won the Professional Hockey Writers' award for best column in 2006. He also won the Esso Medal of Achievement for most improved player as a 13-year-old at the 'A' level in 1985, but he's less proud of that.
Just about every NHL media person working today will tell you it’s easy and often unfair to judge players’ actions from the comforts of the press box or our living rooms. We always have to bear that in mind when we’re talking about supplemental discipline. The game moves faster than any sport not contested on wheels, and there are times when players will seriously injure an opponent with no malice intended.
Then there are NHLers who “just happen” to be involved with an annually-increasing number of borderline dirty incidents in the same way Jason Statham just happens to make essentially the same action movie time and again. Which brings me to Alex Burrows.
The Canucks’ agitator was back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons Tuesday after this blindside hit to the head of Predators center Paul Gaustad got him a five-minute major and an ejection from Vancouver’s game against Nashville: Read more
The Winnipeg Jets are in the midst of a brutally tough playoff race and need all hands on deck the rest of the way if they’re going to continue playing after mid-April. That’s why the decision of star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to cross-check Rangers center J.T. Miller in the head Tuesday – while Miller was sitting on the ice with his back to him – is so dubious: in essence, Byfuglien is risking suspension on a nothing play, and considering how everyone knows the NHL is more sensitive about headshots, there’s no justification for it.
The play took place in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, and it materialized after Miller was looking to jar the puck loose from Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec and took a couple whacks with his stick at him. He’s unsuccessful in his scoring attempt and Miller falls over into a seated position by himself, but at that point Byfuglien, who hadn’t been anywhere near him, keeps both hands on his stick and drills it into Miller’s head and the back of his neck, pushing his head toward the ice: Read more
In his previous nine NHL seasons, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin reached or surpassed the 50-goal plateau five times. And the 29-year-old winger made it six times in 10 years with his 50th goal of the 2014-15 campaign.
The Capitals were home in Washington hosting the Carolina Hurricanes when their captain went to work 11 minutes into the first period, wiring a wrist shot past goalie Cam Ward: Read more
The Red Wings have been dealing with some goaltending issues of late, with neither starter Jimmy Howard nor No. 2 Petr Mrazek showing consistency between the pipes. But in a crucial Tuesday game against Ottawa, Mrazek came up with a gigantic save – in this particular instance, on Sens winger Mark Stone – Detroit is hoping to see more of as the playoffs loom.
The visiting Sens are six points behind the Wings for third in the Atlantic Division, and Detroit has to worry about the Boston Bruins (only three points behind them) as well, so they needed Mrazek to give them a chance to win. And that’s what he did with his lunging right pad stop on Stone early in the first period at Joe Louis Arena: Read more
The news former NHLer Andre Deveaux would face criminal charges in Sweden for a blind-side, stick-swinging attack on an opponent prior to a playoff game last week isn’t entirely unexpected. Once video of the incident surfaced, there were bound to be severe repercussions for the 31-year-old, and it’s looking like being released from his contract (as he was Monday) will be the least of Deveaux’s concerns.
The day after his release from Swedish League team Rogle BK, Deveaux had a warrant issued for his arrest, the TT news agency reported. Swedish prosecutors saw what we all saw – Deveaux inexplicably charging VIK Vasteras HK player Per Helmersson as his back was turned in warmups, winding up with his stick, swinging it baseball-style at Helmersson’s ankles, then clubbing him in the head – and decided a hockey punishment wasn’t nearly enough. And they were right. There was no major injury on the play, but what if that massive slash had shattered Helmersson’s ankle and decimated his ability to play at peak form for the rest of his career? In effect, Deveaux was gambling with an opponent’s career – and as it turns out, his own career.
You can argue whatever you like about whether or not Deveaux had been provoked in an earlier playoff game between his team and Helmersson’s, but that is missing the point. This is another cautionary tale, and it’s the one hockey’s fundamentalist old-schoolers don’t like to talk much about: the culture of the game can push you to levels of hyper-aggression you never thought possible, but there’s a Rubicon you can cross – and once you do cross it, the game’s gatekeepers won’t always be there to protect you. Read more
In being defeated 4-1 by the Blackhawks Monday in Chicago, the Los Angeles Kings missed out on a golden opportunity to insert themselves back into the Western Conference’s final wild card slot. Had they won, L.A. would have pushed Winnipeg out of that slot (by virtue of their tiebreaker advantage over the Jets) and kept pace with the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames in the race for second and third place in the Pacific Division. Instead, they’re now: two points behind Winnipeg with no games in hand; three points behind Calgary (the Flames have played one more game, but will hold the tiebreaker over the Kings if it comes to that); and five points behind the Canucks with the same amount of games (six) remaining.
For weeks now – to be specific, since February, when they reeled off eight straight wins after an abysmal January – many have been talking as if the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings were going to be a low-seeded team potential playoff opponents needed to respect, if not fear. And who can blame them? The incredible manner in which L.A. won its second championship in the past three seasons, the team’s collective spine that showed astonishing bend and no break, represent sufficient evidence on which to base a healthy trepidation of squaring off against them at the most important time of the year.
But that charge back to the playoff race has obscured a question that was being asked of the Kings as they stumbled out to a 21-18-12 record, and that question should be asked again now: what happens to Los Angeles’ roster if they fail to make the post-season? Read more
Tampa Bay Lightning rookie left winger Jonathan Drouin has had to earn every minute of his ice time on a deep Bolts team this year, and although he hasn’t been scoring at a great clip, the 20-year-old got a late birthday present Monday when he netted a beautiful breakaway goal against the league’s top netminder – and in Drouin’s hometown of Montreal, to boot.
Drouin, who scored 41 goals for Halifax in the QMJHL two seasons ago, had only scored twice in 65 games (along with a very respectable 27 assists) heading into the tilt with the Canadiens and star goalie Carey Price. But after a brilliant pass by teammate Anton Stralman from deep in Tampa Bay’s zone, Drouin broke in all alone on Vezina and Hart Trophy frontrunner Carey Price and made no mistake: Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks have already lost one important winger this season when star Patrick Kane suffered a broken clavicle in late February – and they got a scare on that front Monday night when Brandon Saad was knocked out of their game against Los Angeles after a run-in with the Kings’ tag team of Drew Doughty and Kyle Clifford.
The 22-year-old Saad, who is third on the Hawks in scoring this season with 22 goals, got stuck in the middle of Clifford and Doughty as he tried to score on L.A.’s Jonathan Quick during the first period of Monday’s game. Doughty leaves his feet on the play, and Saad winds up with a headshot: Read more