The Don defense

Adam Proteau
By: Adam Proteau
Apr 25, 2008
The Hockey News

The Don defense

Adam Proteau
By: Adam Proteau
Apr 25, 2008

It was an eventful Thursday evening in the Proteau compound, as the first intermission show on Hockey Night In Canada suddenly got a little personal.

How? I’ll let the first questioner of the day get the story started.


Were you watching Coach’s Corner Thursday night? Don Cherry went off on one of your columns! How does it feel to be taught a lesson by Grapes? (Just kidding!)

Mario Rossi, Montreal


Yup, I was watching. And it was quite enjoyable to see Canada’s most benevolent, understanding, progressive hockey mind “analyze” the words from one of my Proteau Type columns that ran in our April 29th edition.

(Here’s a link to the show. The mention comes right near the end.)

The best part was – and I know this is going to shock some of you, so have a chair or railing handy before reading any further – Cherry completely missed the point.

The column did not argue that Canadians don’t excel at nearly every facet of hockey; my point was, the game, in and of itself, belongs to no nation – in the same way soccer doesn’t belong to Italy and basketball isn’t inherently an American sport – and the continual babblings of those hockey fans in Canada who argue otherwise year after year is tiring beyond words.

For example, take this passage from the piece:

Isn’t it enough every other country on Earth would have to turn into hockey factories and pump out elite-level NHLers for decades before they could come close to matching Canada’s impact on the game?

Does that sound anti-Canadian to you? It doesn’t to me, but that didn’t stop Cherry from attempting to rebut the article by rhyming off all the championships Canada has won in recent years.

What he didn’t do, though, was address the actual arguments I made.

He didn’t explain why two Russians (Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin) are considered the frontrunners for the Hart Trophy. He didn’t explain why two of the three Vezina Trophy finalists (Evgeni Nabokov and Henrik Lundqvist) aren’t from Canada. He didn’t explain why two of the three Norris Trophy finalists (Zdeno Chara and Nicklas Lidstrom) also came from somewhere other than his homeland.

Most importantly, he didn’t explain why the provincialist, protectionist Canadian mindset – the one many people, including those at high levels of NHL management, believe has hampered the game’s growth – is actually beneficial to the sport.

In sum, I know I’ve got to be doing something right to be on the wrong side of Don Cherry. I wear his disdain like a badge of honor. 

Hi Adam,

I always read your “Ask Adam" features every week and I really enjoy reading the questions and your responses.

Just a quick question regarding the Ottawa Senators and Ray Emery: since Bryan Murray has no plans to bring him back into the fold for next season (read: buyout), do you see Emery playing elsewhere and if so, whereabouts? Or are GMs afraid to touch this goaltender?

My personal opinion is that he would be a nice fit for the Maple Leafs (my favorite team – not afraid to admit it), provided he can change his attitude. Of course, this would mean the end of Andrew Raycroft, but I consider Emery an upgrade, attitude or not.

Thanks for your insight!

Jason Morgan, Florenceville, N.B.


Thanks for the kind feedback. Unfortunately, I don’t share your feelings on Ray Emery being a good fit with the Maple Leafs.

That’s not to say he couldn’t enjoy an on-ice rebound in Toronto, but the fishbowl existence he would have to submit to is exactly the opposite of what he needs after burning out so spectacularly in Ottawa.

Emery needs to go somewhere – maybe Atlanta, maybe Tampa Bay, maybe Los Angeles – where nobody knows his name. Just about everywhere else, his reputation will precede him and thus limit his chances at rebuilding it.

Ask Adam appears Tuesdays and Fridays only on The Hockey To send us your question or comment, click HERE.

Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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The Don defense