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.

Suspend him or not: Matt Martin’s elbow on Wild defenseman Keith Ballard

Adam Proteau
Matt Martin (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Islanders left winger Matt Martin has made a name for himself as the NHL’s annual hits leader for the past few seasons. However, Martin’s hit on Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard Tuesday resulted in a horrendous on-ice scene and could result in disciplinary action being taken against him.

Ballard had just made a pass midway through the game when Martin attempted to finish a check on him. Ballard turns away in an attempt to avoid it, but Martin’s left elbow follows through and makes contact with Ballard’s head, knocking his head directly into the boards and rendering him unconscious. Read more

Canadiens say goodbye to icon Jean Béliveau in unforgettable pre-game ceremony

Adam Proteau
The casket of Canadiens great Jean Béliveau's lies in wake at Montreal's Bell Centre. (Paul Chiasson-POOL/Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens played their first home game since the Dec. 2 death of franchise legend Jean Béliveau at age 83. And, in keeping with the spirit of arguably the most gracious men ever to play hockey, the organization honored him with an unforgettable pre-game ceremony that will bring tears to the eyes of even the most hardened heart.

After Béliveau lay in wake at the Bell Centre for the past two days, the pre-game ceremony began with a three-minute video tribute screened on the ice of the arena and a beautiful instrumental track. It continued on with tributes to the former Habs captain in both of Canada’s official languages and an extended look at his life, which he lived with extraordinary dignity on a public stage. Read more

A slapshot to the mouth isn’t enough to end Blues captain David Backes’ night

Adam Proteau
David Backes (Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

St. Louis Blues captain David Backes is one of the game’s more rugged players, but wears a visor to protect his eyes. Unfortunately for the veteran center, his visor couldn’t protect him from taking a slapshot to the mouth Monday night against Florida. But a serious mouth injury wasn’t enough to keep him from taking the rest of the night off.

Backes was in front of the Panthers’ net midway through the first period attempting to redirect a shot from teammate T.J. Oshie, but it changed direction after hitting Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and rose up underneath Backes’ visor before striking his mouth. The 30-year-old center immediately left the ice holding his mouth and headed for the dressing room: Read more

Despite Gary Bettman’s soft-pedalling, an NHL team in Las Vegas is a virtual certainty

Adam Proteau
Gary Bettman (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

As he’s wont to do, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman did his best to temper expectations in a state-of-the-league, board of governors press conference late Monday afternoon. But the topic he tried to soft-pedal – becoming the first of the Big Four pro sports leagues to set up shop in Las Vegas – cannot be soft-pedalled. And so Bettman’s announcement that the league has given billionaire insurance magnate William Foley permission to conduct a season’s-ticket drive in the city as a gauge of interest in hockey will lead to rampant speculation the NHL-to-Vegas is going to be confirmed sooner than later.

As it should. Some in the hockey industry have began operating as if an NHL franchise for the Nevada gambling mecca is a fait accompli.

“The league’s confidence has never been higher, and with their costs controlled better than ever now, it’s not a secret they’ve felt good about Vegas for months,” said one prominent NHL agent, who spoke on condition his name not be used. “Look, you’ve got a billionaire prepared to pay the league’s asking price (rumored by the New York Post to be in the area of $400 million) for the team and an arena that’s privately financed and is going in whether the NHL is going there or not. The risk for the league is next to nothing at the moment, but there are still enough skeptics about the demographics that (league management) felt this was a first step they had to take to address the doubt. But this is a situation where, if you’re asking the question publicly, you probably have a good idea of what the answer will be. Otherwise, you don’t ask the question.”

That is the key takeaway from Monday’s news. Why would the NHL float this trial balloon if it weren’t confident the people of Las Vegas would respond positively? It’s handing the average citizen an opportunity to put that city on the pro sports map, and even casual hockey fans or non-fans might be seduced by the allure of something new and sign up for season’s seats based on sheer exuberance alone. And rest assured Bettman doesn’t want to have to step in front of microphones months from now and say something along the lines of, “Hey folks, remember that Vegas thing I mentioned a while back? Didn’t work out. But the good news is the people told us it wasn’t us, it was them.” Read more

Tributes to Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau pour in before national funeral

Adam Proteau
The casket of Canadiens great Jean Béliveau's lies in wake at Montreal's Bell Centre. (Paul Chiasson-POOL/Getty Images)

As Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau lay in wake at the Bell Centre in Montreal – with thousands lining up for the opportunity to say goodbye to the team’s captain and a man whose ceaseless class and grace resonated across Canada and the community of the sport he loved – tributes from inside and outside the hockey world poured in.

Former Canadiens owner George Gillett was emotional as he described his connection to Béliveau, who passed away Tuesday at age 83: Read more

Why patience is a virtue, by Radim Vrbata

Adam Proteau
Radim Vrbata (Getty Images)

Vancouver Canucks right winger Radim Vrbata had just one goal in his past six games – after scoring 10 in the previous 19 games – heading into Sunday’s showdown against the host Ottawa Senators. But the veteran sniper showed that patience, both from game-to-game and minute-to-minute on the ice, is a virtue that eventually gets rewarded.

Vrbata, who’d found the back of the net only once since Nov. 23, took a nice pass from teammate Ryan Stanton at center ice and broke in on Sens goalie Craig Anderson with just one Ottawa defenseman between them. The 33-year-old former Coyotes mainstay could’ve passed to another Canuck, but he found that holding onto the puck, getting Anderson to bite on an attempted poke check, and deftly twisting around him and scoring the first goal of the game was a better plan: Read more

Seven very, VERY serious things the NHL should fear. Seriously

Adam Proteau
Gary Bettman

Since the most recent lockout ended in 2013, there’s been almost nothing but good news for the NHL. Business is booming in just about every market. The league’s massive Canadian broadcasting deal will fill the coffers of owners and players for more than a decade to come. And whispers of expansion are louder than ever.

But don’t take that to mean there isn’t anything that keeps Gary Bettman and league personnel awake at night. There is. For your terrified convenience, here are seven frightening nightmare scenarios keeping the fear in NHL people: Read more

Daniel Alfredsson says goodbye to Ottawa – as a player, at least – in this touching pre-game speech

Adam Proteau
Daniel Alfredsson (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Senators fans and Daniel Alfredsson himself have been preparing themselves for Thursday’s retirement ceremony for the longtime Ottawa captain for weeks, if not longer in their minds as they could see the end was drawing near for him. But the affable star winger, retiring as he’s about to turn 42 years old next week, still found himself in tears when the moment finally arrived. And the veteran had to stay focused to make it through his pre-game goodbye speech without breaking down and revealing the depth of his affection and gratefulness for the support he’d been given in his time in Canada’s capital city.

After taking part in an early-day press conference in which he signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the team, Alfredsson stepped onto the ice in an Ottawa uniform and took part in the pre-game skate with his former Sens teammates before they took on the New York Islanders at Canadian Tire Centre. Alfredsson, who turns 42 next Thursday, was given the spotlight for a 10-minute ceremony that was as dignified as the classy Swede was during his 18-year NHL career. Here’s the full ceremony: Read more