Adam Proteau worked for The Hockey News from 2002 to 2015 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.
Ben Bishop almost certainly isn’t anywhere close to 100 percent healthy, but in making an incredible save on Hawks captain Jonathan Toews late in the first period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final Monday, the Lightning goalie continued to show he doesn’t have to be in ideal condition to keep his team in an important game.
Bishop had already made several strong stops after Chicago came out strongly in front of their home crowd at United Center, but his right pad save on Toews – who had just received a slick pass from fellow Blackhawks star Patrick Kane – with some six minutes left in the fist period was spectacular: Read more
Montreal GM Marc Bergevin locked up veteran center Torrey Mitchell to a three-year, $3.6-million contract Monday that will keep him in the Canadiens organization through the 2017-18 season. Read more
The Arizona city of Glendale’s battle with the NHL’s Coyotes is taking a toll on a variety of people, including long-suffering team employees, fans and players – players including star Yotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spoke out Sunday in stark and unflattering terms regarding the saga. In an interview with Sebastian Noren of radio station ESPN 1230, Ekman-Larsson compared the municipality’s decision last week to dissolve its arena lease agreement with the Coyotes and Gila River Arena to an embarrassing comedic act.
But his first feeling was one of troubling deja vu. Read more
It’s the debate that never really ends – which NHL position do you absolutely need a star at in order to win a Stanley Cup championship? – and it likely won’t end by the end of this column. But the impact of Chicago’s Duncan Keith and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman on the 2015 Cup Final adds more evidence to what many see is an overwhelming pile of it that favors one position: you can win a Cup without a traditional No. 1 superstar center, and you can win one without a cream-of-the-cream-of-the-crop goalie, but you cannot hoist the most storied trophy in professional sport without the presence of a workhorse, perennial Norris-Trophy-candidate defenseman.
Keith has averaged more than 31 minutes through 22 games, and Hedman is leading his team with nearly 24 minutes of ice time on average. Both are arguably the respective Conn Smythe Trophy candidates as playoff MVP. They’re out there virtually every other shift, usually taking on the opposition’s top players. And considering how Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane have had scoring issues in this series, Hedman and Keith are doing what they’re being asked to do in all aspects.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. Seven of the past eight Cup-winners employed a blueliner who could command control of the play in a manner few of his peers could. Two of the past three years, the L.A. Kings have sent the gazelle-like Drew Doughty over the boards more than 27 minutes per playoff game. In Chicago’s most recent two Cup wins, Duncan Keith has averaged nearly 28 minutes a game. When Boston won it all in 2011, Zdeno Chara was on the ice some 27.5 minutes a night. When the Red Wings won their last championship in 2008, Nicklas Lidstrom gave his team nearly 27 errorless minutes per game. The Pittsburgh Penguins were an anomaly in 2009 – Sergei Gonchar was their most-utilized defenseman at 23:02 per game – but when the Ducks won it in 2007, they had an incredible three defensemen averaging more than or a shade within 30 minutes each game (Scott Niedermayer and 29:50, Chris Pronger at 30:11, and Francois Beauchemin at 30:33). Take away just about any player from their aforementioned championship squad, and there’s no assurance that squad would have its name etched on the Cup. Read more
In an interview Thursday with radio station WGR-550, Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray said the team is considering buying out the contract of veteran center Cody Hodgson. Read more
With the recent settlement of a class-action antitrust lawsuit targeting the NHL’s TV blackout policy , hockey fans will be able to see their favorite team play on the road without being forced to subscribe to a league-wide content package. Read more
A day after the city of Glendale, Ariz., voted to dissolve its arena lease agreement with Gila River Arena and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, league commissioner Gary Bettman continued speaking out strongly against the decision. And, speaking to THN via phone Thursday afternoon, he wanted to nip one particular rumor in the bud. Read more
A day after the city of Glendale, Ariz., angered the owners of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes with the announcement it would be exploring the possibility of voiding the team’s lease agreement with Gila River Arena, the municipality voted to do just that. And the decision – made by city councillors late Wednesday evening in a 5-2 public vote – has once again put the franchise back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and renewed speculation it may relocate.
The team’s response to the decision was immediate and dismayed. Read more