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.

If it’s over for him, Daniel Alfredsson the player and person should be celebrated

Adam Proteau
Daniel Alfredsson (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

We should know that, when the end of their playing career arrives for most NHLers, it does not arrive in the fairy tale format. For every Raymond Bourque, there are hundreds of guys who experience a less-than ideal exit from a league most never want to leave.

If that’s how it has to be for Daniel Alfredsson – and this Detroit Free Press report suggests that could very well be the case – the 42-year-old has nothing to be ashamed of. If his ailing back can’t take any more punishment, it says nothing about his competitive desire or legacy. It only speaks to Father Time’s eventual dickishness to us all. And if Alfredsson has played his final NHL game, there’s little doubt he’ll be regarded as a terrific talent on the ice and one of the sport’s best ambassadors away from it.

Yeah, he didn’t get to celebrate a Cup win the way fellow good guy Teemu Selanne did. But that’s no reason to be sad about his retirement. There are too many teams and too few Stanley Cups awarded every season to adequately reward all the talents that ache to win at the game’s highest levels.

No, now’s the time for Alfredsson’s fans in Ottawa and Detroit to celebrate the contributions of one of hockey’s most fundamentally decent human beings.
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Are the Isles for real? Also: for real, Rangers?

Adam Proteau
John Tavares (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Try getting this to make sense in your head: the defending Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers have lost three of their first four games and their superstar goalie has surrendered 12 goals in his two most recent games – and their cross-town counterparts, the New York Islanders, as hard-luck and bad-news of an operation as has existed in recent memory, are basically unstoppable.

I’m not saying either ever was out of the realm of possibility. I’m just saying that any NHL fan in the Manhattan area has grown accustomed to a certain pecking order of late: the Rangers on the heap’s top, bankrolled by owner James Dolan’s fortune and steered by GM Glen Sather’s whims on the free agent and trade market; in the middle, the New Jersey Devils, a.k.a. the little engine that almost always could qualify for the playoffs (and, on occasion, a deep post-season run) despite existing on an internal budget and a revolving door of talent; and at the bottom, the Isles, consistently flailing in the obscurity of decrepit Nassau Coliseum, newsmakers almost exclusively for their errors and economic soap operas.

For now, at least, the Devils remain the same – they’re essentially the cast of Cocoon on the cheap, yet they lead the Metropolitan Division with three wins in their first three games – but, as evidenced by the Isles’ 6-3 romp over the Rangers Tuesday, the Blueshirts and Islanders have traded places. Read more

Jamie Benn battles through three Blue Jackets for blue collar goal

Adam Proteau
Jamie Benn (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Dallas captain Jamie Benn is leading an improved Stars team, but as he showed Tuesday against Columbus, Benn can be a one-man wrecking crew with the puck as well.

The 25-year-old Benn had a three-assist night against the host Blue Jackets, but it was his blue-collar, hard-fought goal that saw him weave his way through three opponents before scoring on Sergei Bobrovsky that had people gasping in awe:


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Ask Adam: Jerseys, jinxes, OT changes & more

Adam Proteau
Mike Green (Getty Images)

Hello again, and welcome to a special edition of the Ask Adam mailbag, last seen around these parts a few months ago after a long and spirited run. The process has remained the same – you question, I answer – but the questions were solicited exclusively via Twitter tonight. I’m rested, rejuvenated and happy to engage with those kind enough to submit something, so let’s have at it.

Adam, why can’t the home team choose what color jersey they wear? The NFL does it. Seems like good marketing to me.
Ethan Wittig

Ethan,

Time for this annual question, I suppose, so it’s good to get it out of the way early. The NHL switched to home dark jerseys and white jerseys on the road in the 2003-04 season, but they do permit teams to make requests to wear either white jerseys at home or special third jerseys on occasion. So there is some choice, but clearly, the league prefers it this way, and not enough teams feel differently to force a change.

Adam, the AHL test of overtime looks good so far. How does NHL/NHLPA feel about it?
Mike Flannery

Mike,

You’re right, the AHL adopting 3-on-3 overtime has been a success, at least in limiting the number of games that go to a shootout: through Monday, all six games that went beyond regulation ended before a shootout was necessary. And the tweak – extending overtime to seven minutes, playing the first three minutes 4-on-4, and switching to 3-on-3 following the first whistle after the four-minute mark – hardly is radical.
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Here’s a hat trick from Steven Stamkos

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

Newsflash: Steven Stamkos has the ability to take a puck and put it past the goal line virtually at will. And the Lightning superstar showed why he’s one of the favorites to win the Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies this season when he went off on the Montreal Canadiens Monday in Tampa Bay, scoring three goals in the first two periods and leading the Bolts to a 7-1 romp over the Habs.

Stamkos got on the scoresheet for the first time (and the first time this season) at 9:51 of the opening frame when he grabbed a rebound and flipped it past Canadiens star goalie Carey Price:

Goal No. 2 for Stamkos came at 13:15 of the second period, when teammate Victor Hedman connected with him on a brilliant stretch pass the length of the ice for a short breakaway on Price: Read more

Panthers’ attendance woes shouldn’t be a shocker

Adam Proteau
BB&T Center (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

When I was in Sunrise, Fla., a few weeks back to work with Roberto Luongo on our current magazine edition, I attended the pre-season game between Luongo’s Panthers and the visiting Dallas Stars. And as I said at the time, I was more surprised to see bare white rink boards than I was the minuscule crowd in attendance. Given the failures of the many Panthers teams that came before the current one, I didn’t think a Standing Room Only ticket policy would be in effect.

So I have to say, it feels like as if everyone was getting worked up a little too much Monday when next to nobody showed up at the BB&T Center to see the Ottawa Senators come to town. Sure, the optics of seeing row upon row of empty seats has to be sobering to Panthers fans worried about the future of their team in South Florida. But it wasn’t as if there was all sorts of optimism abounding before new owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu bought the team last season. The reality is, anyone who has seen this team struggle on and off the ice for the grand majority of the past two decades understands just what a long road to respectability there is ahead for the organization.

When I met with Cifu for the story, he gave me the distinct impression they were under no illusions as to the challenges of the market. It’s very likely he and Viola expect there will be a string of games attended this poorly. But if the team can’t do anything on the ice to begin with, it’s not about blaming the fans in Florida for staying away. They have every right to not support a perennially mismanaged team. Read more

AHL drops 12-game suspension on Trevor Gillies; is it enough?

Trevor Gillies (Getty Images)

The American Hockey League came down hard on Adirondack Flames forward Trevor Gillies Monday, suspending him 12 games for viciously assaulting Rochester forward William Carrier Friday. But some would argue they didn’t come down hard enough, and that hockey as a whole still has a ways to go to give real teeth to their punishments and truly dissuade players from becoming repeat offenders like Gillies, who was suspended twice (for a total of 19 games) in his justifiably brief NHL career (57 games from 2009-11). But that doesn’t make it any less stomach churning to watch him snap and smash Carrier’s head into the ice. See for yourself:

Gillies apologized for his actions, but these are now three separate incidents in which he was a genuine danger to his opponents. Here are the examples of what got him suspended in the NHL: Read more