Jay Bouwmeester and the rest of the Flames are off to a hot start this season. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
We’ll get to this week’s mail momentarily, but since I’ve begun mentioning it in other places, I might as well mention to AA readers that the book I edited and co-wrote, Puck Funnies: Hockey Humor, Hilarity and Hi-Jinx, will be hitting virtual and actual book stores in the very near future.
As the title suggests, the book is a knee-slapping, hand-clapping collection of hockey tales that expose the game’s lighter side, featuring stories from expert funnymen such as Denis Leary and Colin Mochrie, as well as features on the Hanson Brothers, the Blackhawks director of player personnel (and legendary master prankster) Marc Bergevin and the wacky escapades of team mascots.
Is it the perfect holiday gift for your favorite hockey fan? Buy it and you’ll have your answer to this intriguing, DaVinci Code-like mystery!
Hi Adam. Looks like your belief that the Calgary Flames will challenge for the Western Conference title was bang-on! That’s got to make you feel good, right?
Brad R., Winnipeg
That would make me feel good…if four of the teams I picked to make the playoffs in the East weren’t currently occupying spots 11 through 14 in the conference. And I’m not even going to mention where the Blackhawks, Ducks, Canucks, Oilers or Red Wings are in the West right now. Thank goodness it’s early.
But I will say a special thanks to Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Without his efforts in Edmonton’s two games against Calgary, the Flames might be 2-2 instead of 4-0.
Adam, I was shocked to hear about Theo Fleury’s admission that Graham James sexually abused him when James was coaching Fleury in junior hockey.
My question to you is, how many people in the hockey world knew about what happened to Theo – and why wouldn’t they have spoken out about what happened to him before now? Thanks,
Jane K., Southport, Indiana
For years, there were all sorts of rumors that Fleury was one of James’ victims. And if you read between the lines of certain stories written about Theo, you would have been aware something was never quite right with him after he was coached by James in Moose Jaw.
If you’re asking why nobody went ahead with the truth about James and Fleury during his NHL career, I’d say that, for there to be confirmation, Fleury would have had to confirm it himself. Obviously he wasn’t willing to do so.
But this isn’t one of those situations where Fleury is making the revelation to sell books. This has been a long time coming – and what the man needs now is support from the people around him, as well as his fans, as he learns how to cope publicly with the evils that were done to him.
Adam! First of all, you make me laugh, in a good way, on a regular basis. Thanks for your sense of humor that always comes through in your writing.
I was just curious about your picks to win the NHL’s individual awards this year. Don’t know if you already published them in the THN magazine, but I think non-subscribers would be interested to know, too. Thanks again!
Tony M., Mississauga, Ont.
Thanks for the kind thoughts. I haven’t made individual award picks this year, but since you asked:
Hart: Alex Ovechkin
Art Ross: Joe Thornton
Selke: Mike Richards
Norris: Dan Boyle
Vezina: Miikka Kiprusoff
Calder: Victor Hedman
Jack Adams: Brent Sutter
Hi Adam, I haven’t seen you make any mention of the Battle Of The Blades competition. Should I take that to mean you have no interest in it?
If so, you’ve actually been missing out on a lot of fun – particularly, Tie Domi channeling his inner Toller Cranston. I daresay that alone is worth the time investment.
G. McRae, Ottawa
It isn’t that I hate BOTB; I’m just too busy watching hockey, writing about hockey and talking about hockey to spend the time on it.
However, I give full marks to all involved for putting aside their egos and trying something different. I’m no figure skating fan (that sound you just heard was thousands of mouth-breathers saying, ‘Really?’ before calling me a figure skating fan, anyway), but perhaps this will give hockey players pause to consider an activity they deride on a regular basis.
Adam, I’ll make this super-quick: is there any chance the Columbus Blue Jackets make the playoffs with another incredibly awful power play? I know it’s early, but they’ve already got the second-worst conversion rate in the West this season. Is it Ken Hitchcock’s conservative coaching that’s the issue or are their players the real problem?
Jeff V., Canton, Ohio
Nobody knows about the Jackets’ power play woes more than yours truly. That was the chief reason I thought Columbus wouldn’t make the playoffs last season, yet they did it anyway despite having the worst PP (12.7 percent efficiency) in the entire league.
That’s a credit to Hitchcock’s coaching – not to mention Steve Mason’s netminding – and Blue Jackets management is fully aware that has to change this year. It’s one of the reasons GM Scott Howson took a flyer on Anton Stralman – and if things don’t improve real quick-like, I don’t doubt for a second Howson and Hitchcock will continue to search for either an internal or external solution.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers' questions in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show on XM Radio channel 204. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.