This Week in THN: Dec. 20, 2010

In the Dec. 20, 2010 edition of The Hockey News:

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• In a Special Report, our cover story looks at the decline in minor hockey registration in Canada to the point where at least 30,000 fewer kids will be playing the game by 2016. This begs the question: Is hockey dying in Canada?

• Inside Hockey looks at the troublesome attendance figures in some NHL markets and how they’re trying to correct it; how the ECHL honored St. Louis Blues coach Davis Payne; how the Winter Classic may be helping hockey in the United States; what it’s like to take a bus trip with a Western League team; and more.

• In Proteau Type, Adam Proteau breaks down the steady decline of the New York Islanders, from their once-proud standing as a league powerhouse in the 1980’s, to their current position as a laughing-stock.

• In his editor’s notebook, Jason Kay writes that, despite the downturn in minor hockey registration, passion for hockey in Canada will never wane.

• Ryan Dixon writes about the importance of a defense pair with chemistry and finds out what goes through a coach’s mind when he’s putting together his blueliners.

• The THN inbox features the best letters to the editor, Adam Proteau answers a few of your questions on the Hall of Fame and goalie stats, plus the results of our online poll: “Should Pat Burns have been elected into the Hall of Fame this year?”

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• In our Team Reports, the Eastern Conference focus is on Jason Spezza, who almost left Ottawa, but has found a warm place within the hearts of Sens fans once again, while the Western Conference focus is on the resurgence of Todd Bertuzzi in Detroit. We also include depth charts, with salary cap hits, for each NHL team and look at new Islanders coach Jack Capuano, Nikolai Kulemin’s impressive two-way play for Toronto, Milan Hejduk playing like a kid again, and more.

• In Overtime, Ken Campbell honors the illustrious career of Pat Burns and how his death underscores the need for the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee to be transparent with their decisions.

• The Prospect Report features a look towards the Minnesota High School Hockey season, with players and teams to watch. We also look at Ryan McDonagh of the Connecticut Whale and the undrafted J.P. Anderson, who is starring in net for the Memorial Cup host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.

• In Last Minute of Play Larry Humber’s crossword puzzle provides a challenge for readers, Jersey Hound looks at the Phoenix Coyotes jerseys that vary by country and our Blast from the Past showcases an image from action at the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

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