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.

Bolts star Stamkos heating up on offense, extends scoring streak to four games

Steven Stamkos (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

In the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored three goals in 13 games. Unfortunately for the New York Rangers, Stamkos has become much more productive in the Eastern Conference Final against them – and Sunday in Game 5, the star center continued his hot streak by scoring for the fourth straight game in a 2-0 Bolts victory.

Tampa was leading 1-0 on a Valtteri Filppula goal 13:29 into the second period at Madison Square Garden, and nearly five minutes later, with the Bolts on the power play, Stamkos tipped in a shot from Ondrej Palat to record his seventh of the post-season and his 14th career playoff goal in 39 games: Read more

Lightning’s Filppula, Stamkos work smoothly together for first goal of Game 5

Adam Proteau
Lightning star Steven Stamkos celebrates teammate Valtteri Filppula's second-period goal against the New York Rangers in Game 5 Sunday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the incredible contributions made by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s younger players in the 2015 playoffs, veteran center Valtteri Filppula hasn’t been in the spotlight all that often. But in Game 5 of the Bolts’ Eastern Conference Final series against the New York Rangers, Filppula collaborated with star Steven Stamkos to score the first goal of the night.

Game 5 was scoreless through the first 33 minutes at Madison Square Garden, but Stamkos took the puck at the Rangers’ blueline late in the second period and quickly moved it along to Filppula, who wired a wrist shot past Blueshirts goalie Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0 for the visiting team: Read more

Ducks show no exhaustion after triple-OT Game 2, squeeze Hawks 2-1 & reclaim series lead

Adam Proteau
Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen grabs the puck as teammate Francois Beauchemin and Hawks captain Jonathan Toews collide in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final Thursday in Chicago. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ducks and Blackhawks played nearly two full hockey games Tuesday in “Game” 2 of their Eastern Conference Final, and many expected there might be a physical letdown when they squared off again Thursday in Chicago. But after losing home ice advantage in that triple-overtime 3-2 loss to the Hawks, Anaheim got it right back by locking down the opposition’s offense in a 2-1 Game 3 victory that marked Chicago’s first home defeat of the 2015 post-season.

The Blackhawks weren’t awful – they were the stronger possession team and outshot Anaheim 28-27 on the night – but other than one-man gang/star winger Patrick Kane (who scored their only goal in Game 3), they couldn’t solve Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen. The 25-year-old posted a .964 save percentage Thursday and improved his playoff goals-against average in 12 games this year to a sparkling 1.75 and his SP to .935, and is quietly making a very good case as a candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the post-season’s most valuable player.

Andersen’s resolve in net meant the Ducks’ offense didn’t have to get much past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford to win the game, and other than Patrick Maroon’s goal that opened the scoring at 12:55 of the first period and Simon Despres’ game-winner and first career playoff goal with 55 seconds left in the second frame, they didn’t. But they did block more shots than the Hawks by a 3:1 ratio (a total of 27 to Chicago’s 9) and their special teams were sharp: although they were undisciplined, their penalty kill successfully defended against all five Blackhawks power plays, and they capitalized on their only man advantage of Game 3 when Maroon scored.

In other words, it wasn’t perfect, but after the Ducks believed they deserved to win that three-overtime game, they probably believe they had a little good fortune coming. Read more

Pro wrestler-turned-UFC fighter CM Punk isn’t shy to show his true colors – Blackhawks’ red

UFC star, former pro wrestler and diehard Hawks fan CM Punk reacts after shooting the puck between periods of an NHL game between his favorite team and the L.A. Kings March 30 in Chicago. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

You’ve got to understand this about Phil Brooks, professionally known as CM Punk: he was never handed anything as a blue-collar kid coming out of Chicago, as a student, as a pro wrestler who rose to the pinnacle of the industry or in his current line of work as a nascent mixed martial arts fighter. Punk, 36, has had to grind and scrape for everything he’s earned, and he’s plied his trade (often injured) in hockey arenas across North America and around the world.

No wonder Punk has a love for the NHL, and no wonder he’s come to be acquaintances with many NHL players. There’s a camaraderie at play here, an understanding of serious and constant physical sacrifice and a respect for performing through pain that both parties endure on the regular. “A lot of the physicality is the same, and I was always drawn to hockey because of that physicality,” Punk said. “There’s definitely similarities between what I did, what I’m currently doing, and what hockey players do. And there’s an appreciation there that goes both ways.” Read more

Patrick Kane’s no-look backhand goal will blow (a) your socks off & (b) your mind

Adam Proteau
Hawks winger Patrick Kane celebrates with teammates Brad Richards and Duncan Keith after his first-period goal against Anaheim in Game Three of the Western Conference Final Thursday. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the first two games of the Western Conference Final between his Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks, superstar right winger Patrick Kane did not have a point. If you know him, that’s kind of unlike him. So he was probably due for a spectacular goal or setup of one – and sure enough, in Game 3 Thursday, Kane added to his already-impressive playoff scoring total with a no-look, backhanded goal most of us couldn’t perform on a video game.

The host Hawks were trailing Anaheim 1-0 late in the first period at United Center when Kane picked up the puck between the faceoff dots and directly in front of Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen; in one fluid motion, he took the puck on his backhand, and, without glancing toward the net, perfectly fired it between Andersen’s right arm and hip for his eighth goal of this post-season: Read more

Bolts’ ferocious offense too much for Lundqvist, Rangers in Tampa’s Game 3 win

Adam Proteau
Tampa's Steven Stamkos scores on Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Lightning and Blueshirts Wednesday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers had won the majority of their playoff games this year via low-scoring affairs. Well, by 2-1 scores, mostly. More often than not, they depended almost wholly on the brilliance of star netminder Henrik Lundqvist and carved out only enough offense to squeeze by. However, for the third game in this post-season – this time, Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Final series with the Tampa Bay Lightning – the Blueshirts were able to score more than two goals in one night when they got five goals past Bolts goalie Ben Bishop.

Unfortunately, Lundqvist wasn’t at his best for the second straight contest, allowing six goals for the second game in a row – and because of that inability to match a solid goaltending performance with a respectable showing on the scoresheet, the Rangers now trail the Lightning 2-1 in their third-round series after losing 6-5 in overtime. Read more

Lightning’s Stamkos steamrolls Rangers’ Hayes, scores Bolts’ first goal of Game 3

Adam Proteau
Steven Stamkos. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos doesn’t care whether he’s in the spotlight, but there was something odd about seeing Tyler Johnson excel thus far in the NHL playoffs while Stamkos struggled (at least, by his standards). But Wednesday in Game 3 of the Bolts’ Eastern Conference Final series against the Rangers, the Lighting captain was a threat to score – and to run the opposition over with a robust physical game that included a massive hit on Blueshirts winger Kevin Hayes.

Just two minutes into the first period, Stamkos leveled Hayes, who was carrying the puck behind the Rangers’ net with his head down: Read more

Babcock to the Leafs a bad thing? Only if you don’t like winning

Adam Proteau
Mike Babcock (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

So, let me get this straight: Mike Babcock, one of the most respected, productive hockey coaches alive today and the most sought-after free agent this summer – player or otherwise – signs with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this is a negative? The Maple Leafs use some of the millions they’ve saved under the NHL’s salary cap system and establish instant credibility in a dressing room that needed a full fumigation after the the toxic 2014-15 campaign, and team president Brendan Shanahan somehow screwed this hire up?

Sorry, not buying it. Read more