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.

AHL suspends Brad Mills 20 games for failing performance-enhancing drug test

Adam Proteau
Brad Mills (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The American Hockey League announced Tuesday a 20-game suspension for Binghamton Senators Brad Mills after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

The 31-year-old Mills, who had one goal and two points in 34 games of NHL experience with the New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks, was in his first year in Binghamton after an eight-year AHL career that included stops in Lowell, Albany and Rockford; he has already sat out four games after the Senators removed him from the lineup last week once the test result came in, and he’s eligible to return to the lineup Dec. 12. Read more

Pair of Rangers could be in line for suspensions after questionable hits

Adam Proteau
Chris Kreider (Getty Images)

NHL chief disciplinarian Stephane Quintal and the rest of the NHL department of player safety will have a busy Tuesday after a pair of questionable incidents and ejections took place Monday night in the same game between the Rangers and Wild.

The first took place late in the first period, when Rangers winger Chris Kreider drilled Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin into the end boards with a hit from behind that left Brodin in a heap on the ice:

Kreider received a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct; Brodin had to be helped off, but returned to play in the second period. However, the nastiness only got worse from there, because for some inexplicable reason midway through the second, Blueshirts defenseman John Moore decided to throw an elbow at the head of Wild center Erik Haula: Read more

NHL suspends Sharks’ John Scott two games for leaving bench

Adam Proteau
John Scott (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As expected, the NHL handed out its first suspension of the season for a regular-season on-ice incident Monday, hitting San Jose Sharks winger John Scott with a two-game ban for leaving the bench to start a fight with Ducks winger Tim Jackman Sunday.

As the NHL department of player safety made clear in a now standard video explanation it hands out after each suspension, Scott left the bench on a legal line change, but made no effort to play the puck and instead instigated a fight with Jackman. Scott himself admitted he had no intent to join the play and was strictly interested in throwing fists: Read more

Pens’ Olli Maatta diagnosed with thyroid tumor, but full recovery expected

Adam Proteau
Olli Maatta (Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins sophomore defenseman Olli Maatta heard the words nobody wants to hear at any point in their lives, let alone at barely 20 years of age: doctors discovered a tumor that could be cancerous. Fortunately for the native Finn, the overall diagnosis sounds far less ominous: he’ll have surgery next week to remove the tumor, which is on his thyroid; he’s healthy enough to play until he goes under the knife; and he’s expected to return to action within a month.

“Even if (the tumor) is found to be cancerous, we do not expect that he will need radiation or chemotherapy, and we anticipate a complete recovery,” said Penguins team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas. “In all likelihood, Olli will go on to live a healthy life and this should not affect his ability to play hockey long-term.”

Maatta didn’t seem at all fazed when he spoke with reporters after the announcement, and that’s in part because he first learned about the tumor three weeks ago. He’s already had a physical challenge after undergoing shoulder surgery in May, and although this is an altogether different type of ailment, he appeared ready at a press conference Monday afternoon to move ahead and take this one on: Read more

Like it or not, Sharks/Ducks-type brawling an increasing rarity in today’s NHL

Adam Proteau
Ducks and Sharks players brawl. (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Sharks and host Ducks engaged in a nasty little bit of NHL business late Sunday night when the two teams combined for 165 penalty minutes, nine fighting majors and eight misconducts in San Jose’s 4-1 win over Anaheim. Included in the mess were multiple ejections to players from both teams (including Ducks star Corey Perry and Sharks blueliner Justin Braun) a third period brawl and the second fight of the game between Anaheim’s Tim Jackman and San Jose’s John Scott, who left the bench in direct violation of Rule 70.2 to get into it with Jackman late in the third period.

(Some will say Scott was on a line change, but Rule 70.2 stipulates even legal line changes that lead to the instigation of a fight can be subject to supplemental discipline, and there’s no doubt that’s what Scott did.)

The win snapped both the Ducks’ seven-game win streak and the Sharks’ four-game losing skid. But the game also was significant in that it was arguably the first game of the regular season in which the NHL has sufficient evidence by which to suspend a player for his on-ice actions. Things can change in a single game, obviously, but when many teams have played ten percent of their season without some episode of superfluous chest beating occurring, there might just be evidence of an actual culture change beginning to take root among players and within league management circles.

The evidence of the different times in which the NHL now operates is all around us: over here, Sabres coach Ted Nolan, no dainty peacenik in his playing career, correctly notes the pointlessness of a staged fight; over there, former Canucks, Oilers and Rangers head coach and new Hockey Canada president Tom Renney is taking a bold stance against fighting (“(H)ockey is not the WWE. And this sport must teach many things to young people about character, integrity, teamwork, not fighting.”); Read more

Patrick Kane’s 500th career point involves who else? Jonathan Toews

Adam Proteau
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Given how linked-at-the-hip Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been since arriving in Chicago and helping deliver a pair of Stanley Cup champions to the Blackhawks, it was only fitting Kane reached a personal milestone with the assistance of the Hawks’ captain.

Kane and Toews collaborated on Chicago’s first goal of their game Sunday night against the Senators, with the former starting the rush into Ottawa’s zone before assisting on the latter’s second goal of the season: Read more

Columbus’ Nick Foligno escapes serious injury despite scary collision with linesman

Adam Proteau
Nick Foligno (Getty Images)

Nick Foligno is thanking his lucky stars Sunday night. The Blue Jackets right winger escaped serious injury after being taken off the ice on a stretcher due to an unusual collision with linesman Shane Heyer during the third period of Columbus’ game against the L.A. Kings.

Foligno was skating the puck up the ice along the boards and had his head down when he collided at an awkward angle with the lower back area of Heyer, who had jumped up on the boards in an attempt to avoid contact with players. The 26-year-old fell to the ice immediately and laid motionless for several minutes before he was removed from the ice strapped to a spinal board: Read more

It’s feast or famine – beat them or beat it – for NHL coaches these days

Peter Laviolette (Getty Images)

The coaching business in the NHL is about to get crazier thanks to the pending free agency of Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock, who almost assuredly will set a new record for a coach’s salary whether he stays in Detroit or moves on to a new place of employment. So, that has to mean better times are ahead for all coaches, right? A whole, “rising-tide-lifts-all-boats” thing, right?

Not so fast. Because although Babcock’s pending spike in pay may very well result in higher salaries for more members of the coaching fraternity, there’s other forces at play here: the increasingly rapid turnover of coaches at the NHL level – and this year, the early success of most off-season coaching changes.

There were six such changes in hockey’s best league this summer. Let’s take a brief look at how they’re working out: In Nashville, Peter Laviolette has the Predators off to a 5-0-2 start (including a big 3-2 win over Chicago Thursday) that makes them the last team in the league without a loss in regulation. In Washington, former Predators coach Barry Trotz has steered the Capitals to a strong showing out of the gate (just one loss in regulation in six games) and his relationship with star winger Alex Ovechkin is beginning on the right foot. In Pittsburgh, Mike Johnston is working with a significantly rejigged roster, but the Penguins have points in four of their first six games and should be fine. In Vancouver, Willie Desjardins has reinvigorated a Canucks squad that had been wholly deinvigorated under John Tortorella.

Things aren’t working out that well for all the new coaches. Read more