Canadiens must be careful with P.K. Subban’s minutes – for his sake and theirs

Adam Proteau
P.K Subban and Kyle Turris

When the Montreal Canadiens lost defenseman Alexei Emelin to an injury in the first period of Wednesday night’s game against Ottawa, the pressure on the team’s defense corps ratcheted up significantly. There was no immediate word on the severity of Emelin’s upper-body ailment, but in the immediate wake of losing the veteran and the 20 minutes he averages per game, head coach Michel Therrien leaned on a blueliner he’s been leaning on more of late: star P.K. Subban was on his way to playing more than 30 minutes for the third time in five games when he was forced out of the game late in the second period after blocking a shot. Subban returned to start the third and still finished the night with 30:45 of playing time, but it very easily could’ve been a higher number than that.

The Canadiens are already rumored to be seeking a defenseman on the trade market, and the injury scares to two of their veterans should be considered a warning shot across the bow to accelerate the process. Because while the 25-year-old Subban is clearly capable of being on the ice for more than half of every game, Therrien and GM Marc Bergevin must be delicate with his minutes. Just as an NHL GM must balance the needs of the now with the needs of tomorrow on the salary cap front, so too must he keep an eye on the big picture when it comes to the use of his star players. And because Subban is one of the NHL’s most marketable, personable and talented players, Bergevin needs to be aware of the demands that are going to be placed on him not only this year, but beyond. Read more

How the Soviets’ felt about the Americans’ Miracle on Ice

Ronnie Shuker
51791081-Fetisov

Americans love their underdogs. Even more so, perhaps, because America so rarely plays the role of the underdog. That’s why the United States’ victory over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., remains one of the country’s greatest sports stories ever told.

For every underdog story, however, there is the favorite’s tragedy. Of Miracles and Men, the latest documentary in ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series, takes the Miracle on Ice tale and tells it from the other side. Like the recently released Red Army, it humanizes the supposed robots of the Big Red Machine that were upset by a group of college kids on a Friday night in February some 35 years ago. Read more

Five horrible hockey coaching gaffes to rival Pete Carroll’s Super Bowl blunder

Vladimir Myshkin, Team USSR (Eric Schweikardt, SI/Getty Images)

If I’m a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, I’d probably agree their choice to throw on second and goal was a mistake of Titanic proportions.

Given I’m neutral, I see it through a different lens. Running the ball was no guarantee of a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch, it turns out, isn’t efficient at punching it in from the one. And goal-line running plays, as this Pittsburgh Steelers fan can attest (see Jerome Bettis, 2005 AFC divisional playoffs), can have just as dire consequences.

Regardless, of your take, the play will live in infamy and Pete Carroll’s legacy will be attached to it.

But epic coaching gaffes aren’t unique to football. Here are five head-scratchers from our world that ended with massive fails.

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Advertising on World Cup of Hockey jerseys isn’t close to the travesty of ads on NHL jerseys

Adam Proteau
Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey (Getty Images)

A TSN report Thursday rankled more than a few people with news the NHL and NHLPA intend to put advertisements on player jerseys in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on a “trial” basis.

Sacrilege? Nah. And I say this as someone who detests the idea of advertising on NHL teams’ jerseys. But the World Cup is a different animal altogether. That tournament isn’t steeped in tradition like the Olympic Games, nor does it originate from a place of pure, uncompromising athletic competition, like an IIHF world championship. The history of the World Cup traces back to the Canada Cup, which was in large part the brainchild of the villainous NHLPA turncoat Alan Eagleson.
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Even with defensive Devils, Martin Brodeur worthy of spot alongside all-time greats

Ken Campbell
Martin Brodeur Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Martin Brodeur’s 125th and final NHL shutout, with the exception of the fact it was recorded with the St. Louis Blues, was a fairly routine affair. He faced just 16 shots and made a couple of big stops in the first period, but in general terms had a fairly easy night.

Brodeur’s critics will try to diminish his laundry list of accomplishments by saying that Brodeur had far too many nights like that during his career, that he was the beneficiary of playing for teams that played defensive hockey with a religious zeal and didn’t allow chances, either in high number or high quality, that most other goaltenders had to face.

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Team Foligno makes more coin, but Team Toews has the Cups and gold medals

Ken Campbell
Alex Ovechkin (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – We have no idea which team is going to win the All-Star Game Sunday afternoon, but we’re pretty sure which one is buying the drinks.

Boosted by the surprise late selection of Alex Ovechkin, Team Foligno broke the bank and shattered the NHL’s salary cap with a payroll of $122.91 million, more than $16 million more than Team Toews. The team also picked up $2.25 million in salary when it made a trade to acquire Phil Kessel for Tyler Seguin.

Where Team Toews is lacking at the pay window, however, it makes up for in team achievements. Led by the team captain, teammate Brent Seabrook and Patrik Elias, Team Toews has a total of 10 Stanley Cups, compared to nine for Team Foligno. And when it comes to Olympic gold medals, it’s not even close. Team Toews has 11 of them, while Team Foligno has just five. Read more

Nicklas Backstrom’s PED ordeal ends with settlement, sanity prevails

Nicklas Backstrom  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Almost 11 months after Nicklas Backstrom’s drug scandal ordeal began in Sochi, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have acknowledged what everyone seemed to know all along – that the Washington Capitals center was the victim of an honest, but costly mistake.

And, as a result, he’s getting his wrist slapped and we all move on.

The three bodies issued a joint statement Thursday that they had reached a settlement in the dispute, which was to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Read more

Ask Adam: The mailbag returns (for a limited time only)

Adam Proteau
Patric Hornqvist and James Neal

Hello again. I used to answer the mail on a weekly basis around here, and still will on special occasion. Thanks to those who submitted a question for the first, far less regular edition of Ask Adam in 2015. Here’s this file’s batch:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.22.06 AM

Vince,

I wish I could be the NHL version of Antique Roadshow – and in a few years, that may in fact turn out to be the case – but alas for now. It’s next to impossible to judge just from a picture like that – a google image search had no matches – and it could be from any era. I’d have it appraised at a reputable memorabilia dealer near you. You don’t want to sell something like that online and wind up not getting sufficient value for what could be a valuable piece of hockey history, so go to the people who do this type of thing for a living.

Adam,

Can we believe NHL injury reports, or are they just something that is put out to satisfy a league requirement? For example, when Patric Hornqvist went out, he had taken a shot to the leg. It was almost immediately reported he had a lower body injury but would be out “a few weeks”. Now he is listed as having an upper body injury. Smells like post-concussion to me. Can you enlighten me? Thanks in advance.
Raymond Lees
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