Adam Proteau

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.

Oilers legends were impeccable in Edmonton, but since they’ve moved on? Peccable. Very Peccable.

Adam Proteau
Kevin Lowe (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When you consider what the glory-days Edmonton Oilers accomplished as players, you have to stand back in awe. Few teams were ever as ferocious. Fewer could boast of the stunning depth and breadth of their talent. From Wayne Gretzky to Mark Messier to Paul Coffey to Jarri Kurri to Grant Fuhr and so many more, the franchise was like a Hockey Hall of Fame Factory that churned out legends the way potato chip companies now churn out preposterous flavors (coming soon: butterscotch pine blueberry guacamole mortadella cheese omelette), and their fans were treated to nightly exhibitions of the best the sport had to offer.

But since the Oilers won the last of their five Stanley Cups nearly a quarter-century ago, things rarely have gone the Oilers’ way. In fact, things have usually gone out of their way to avoid going the Oilers’ way. And if you look at the exploits of Edmonton’s key figures from those peak years after they left Edmonton – as coaches, as GMs – it becomes readily apparent that on-ice success doesn’t translate to the management suite.

In Phoenix, Gretzky had a slew of different titles (including alternate governor, managing partner, head of hockey operations and head coach), but he was unable to steer that team to any success before departing in 2009. In Manhattan, former Oilers coach and GM Glen Sather has been a success if you judge success by Eastern Conference championships (one in 13 seasons) and perpetual roster turnover, but not by any other metric. And of course, In Edmonton, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish have been at or near the Oilers’ reins of power since Sather left the organization in 2000, yet they’ve proven utterly incapable of pushing the franchise back into relevance.

And quite frankly, it’s shocking owner Daryl Katz continues to operate as if they’ve got the answers.

It may have felt great for Katz to bank on Lowe and MacTavish when he bought the team in 2008, and it’s easy to see why: Katz is an Edmonton native who was in his early twenties when the duo were playing integral roles in the Oilers’ dynasty, and bringing them aboard was always going to play well in the press. Lowe and MacTavish are confident, intelligent men who could inspire many who count themselves as hardened cynics. These weren’t snake oil salesmen.

The only problem with hiring former stars as management figures to deliver you a Cup is this: it doesn’t work.

Take a look through the list of Cup champions, and you will find few, if any who were being led by former star players for the franchise. Read more

Martin St-Louis: still crazy for goals after all these years

Adam Proteau
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Martin St-Louis may be 39 years old, but the reason he’s headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame when his career is over is because he’s never stopped playing with the hunger of a rookie. You could see that on display Sunday night when St-Louis‘ New York Rangers hosted the Montreal Canadiens and the right winger scored a beautiful goal that was all about extra effort.

The Blueshirts were already up 2-0 on the Habs late in the second period when St-Louis turned on the jets chasing a puck into Montreal’s zone, then picked the pocket of defenseman Alexei Emelin before flipping the puck up and past goalie Dustin Tokarski for his eighth goal of the season: Read more

An NHL player’s guide to not looking like an idiot on the internet

Evander Kane (via Twitter)

Being an NHL player has its rewards, but also its dangers. And I’m not just talking about on-ice pitfalls. I refer to social media – which, as this issue’s editor-in-chief has shown, can be a wonderful place but can also create a massive public relations disaster. With that in mind, here are some tips to help NHLers navigate the tricky landscape of Twitter, Facebook and the social media world: Read more

The bite will be back for the Florida Panthers soon

Adam Proteau
Florida's BB&T Center (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

SUNRISE, FLORIDA – For the grand majority of their 20 seasons of existence, the Florida Panthers have done little to instill a sense of confidence in their fan base. An average of two playoff appearances every tenth of a century tends to have that effect. A regularly changing ownership group doesn’t help much, either. But the franchise’s current powerbrokers know full well they can’t change that with hollow guarantees, PowerPoint presentations or slick ad campaigns.

The only thing that will fill their 19,250-seat arena on a nightly basis is what they’ve consistently lacked since their inaugural season in 1993-94: wins, and many of them. Read more

NHL’s opening salvo in concussion lawsuit battle with former players a clear case of victim-blaming

Adam Proteau
Bernie Nicholls (Getty Images)

As reported Thursday by TSN, the NHL has made its first significant legal reply in regard to the 2013 lawsuit filed by former players who believe the league seriously mishandled its approach to concussions and head trauma. And one only need give the reply a quick perusal to recognize it as the worst kind of victim blaming.

Filed in November of last year, the players’ lawsuit – now backed by a group of some 40 former NHLers including retired L.A. Kings star Bernie Nicholls and Toronto Maple Leaf Gary Leeman – alleges the league didn’t provide adequate protection from head injuries before a head trauma research committee was formed in 1997, and that, beyond that point, the results of that committee weren’t properly shared among players. Responding via legal documents filed in a Minnesota federal court this week, the NHL contends players forced to retire prematurely due to concussions should have realized on their own the risk they were taking and what could happen to them.

“Publicly available information related to concussions and their long-term effects, coupled with the events that had transpired – i.e., the players incurring head injuries – should have allowed (players) to put two and two together,” the NHL said in court filings obtained by TSN.

So let me get this straight – the league whose commissioner in 2011 said it was premature to link fighting in hockey with chronic traumatic encephalopathy is the same league that’s now saying players ought to have known what was up all along with head trauma in the sport because they should’ve read magazine and newspaper reports the league was questioning the veracity of? Does this make sense to anyone? Read more

Once again, Alex Ovechkin does what he does best – score eye-popping goals

Adam Proteau
Alex Ovechkin (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin has built a mile-long list of highlight reel goals – and he added some more footage to the collection with a dazzling, nearly end-to-end rush against the Colorado Avalanche Thursday that was the deciding marker in a 3-2 Washington victory.

The Caps’ captain picked up the puck at his own blueline, swiftly carried it down the ice, deked Avs defenseman Jan Hejda and tried to fire the puck on his backhand at Colorado goalie Reto Berra; the puck went past the net, but it rebounded right back to him, and Ovechkin made no mistake from close range on his forehand, even at a difficult angle and Hejda on his heels: Read more

Canadiens boost blueline depth by dealing Rene Bourque to Ducks for Bryan Allen

Adam Proteau
Rene Bourque (Getty Images)

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been one of the NHL’s busier wheelers-and-dealers of late, acquiring veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar from Dallas for Travis Moen last week and adding to the changes Thursday by dealing out-of-favor winger Rene Bourque to Anaheim in exchange for blueliner Bryan Allen.

That the soon-to-be 33-year-old Bourque was a goner from Montreal is no surprise; the team waived and demoted him to the American League earlier this month after being frustrated once again with his lack of production and engagement during the regular season. He bought himself some time last spring with eight goals and 11 points in 17 playoff games for the Habs, but after only posting a pair of assists in 13 games this season, Bergevin had seen enough. Read more

No comebacks for Fantastic Finn Teemu Selanne: “My career is over, that much is certain”

Adam Proteau
Teemu Selanne (Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

If you were desperately hanging on to the hope hockey legend Teemu Selanne would continue his professional playing career – either in Europe or back in the NHL – even as he approaches his mid-forties, you can let go of it: the surefire Hockey-Hall-of-Famer confirmed Wednesday he’s retired for good.

In an interview with the International Ice Hockey Federation’s website, the 44-year-old Selanne made it clear he won’t be tempted by lucrative contract offers from the KHL or any other league. Read more