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Being accountable

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Now that the NHL season is officially over and the league’s awards have been handed out, how much breathing room do we get before talking hockey again – three, four whole days? Just another reason why exhibition games suck harder than an asthmatic vampire and ought to be done away with for good.

And remember, the Ask Adam segment on XM Satellite Home Ice’s THN Radio Show won’t be heard this week – and neither will the rest of the show, as we’re enjoying our first week off and now are on a bi-weekly summer schedule that also moves our live show from 3-4 p.m. Eastern time to 4-5 p.m. Adjust your social calendars accordingly.


I am going to save all the usual brown-nosing for other people and just ask my question. Doesn't Dany Heatley’s negotiating a no-trade contract and then asking for a trade verge upon a breach of contract situation? Do you think that sort of selfishness will affect ol' Heater's chances with the 2010 Olympic team? Should it?

Neil Westcott, Toronto


I’m no lawyer, but I’m sure there are more than a few legal types out there who would be happy to argue a breach-of-contract case on behalf of the Senators.

It likely won’t ever get to that stage, however. Should Sens GM Bryan Murray not find a trading partner for Heatley’s services by training camp, the winger may decide to stay home. But that move would damage his already-battered reputation even further and make it all the more difficult to find a new home for him.

Should Heatley’s selfishness affect his odds at making the Canadian team for next year’s Vancouver Games? Absolutely – although, if you recall, Hockey Canada and Wayne Gretzky were more than willing to stand behind Todd Bertuzzi and keep him on the men’s roster for the 2006 Torino Games even after the wave of horrendous publicity triggered by his infamous assault on Steve Moore.

If Steve Yzerman is similarly committed to controversial NHLers, Heatley could stick around. But I wouldn’t want his attitude anywhere near my country’s best players.


Thanks for writing such an informative column. I was wondering if you could explain what will happen to a team that is over whatever figure the salary cap will drop to for the 2010 season. I'm assuming they'd have to rid themselves of contracts to get under the cap, but what would happen if the total of all signed contracts were greater than the sum of all teams’ cap space? Thanks!

Nick Fagan, Columbus


As NHL bigwigs have explained to me quite often, the league isn’t losing any sleep over the scenario you’ve outlined.

No individual team would be allowed to sign contracts that put them above the cap ceiling – and if the drop in the ceiling was so massive that each of the 30 teams had to shed major money, all that would happen is the percentage of players’ salaries that are put into an escrow account – as a safeguard system for the owner’s guaranteed percentage of revenues – would skyrocket accordingly.

In other words, the players will take it in the goolies before the owners do. Nice “partnership” system, isn’t it?


Who do you think the Sharks will trade this off-season? Let me know. Your pal,

Larry Holford, San Jose

My pal Larry,

Patrick Marleau and one of Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe or Milan Michalek.


After seeing you in Civil War gear, you seem like a good-spirited guy. So why are a lot of your articles so negative? Seems to me there are a lot of great, positive hockey stories to be covered, yet you come back quite often to teams’ terrible financial situations, or the many errors of the Gary Bettman administration. I’m not trying to say you’re the only one out there who does this, but I’m honestly just curious to know what drives you to make the writing choices you make. Thanks,

Barry G., Calgary


I don’t take any offense whatsoever to your question. It’s one I get asked in a number of different ways all the time – and I enjoy explaining why I do what I do.

To answer it this time, though, I want to let a two-year-old column from outstanding (and now-former) Washington Post political columnist Dan Froomkin speak for me, because there are many parallels between what he is so very good at and the sports journalism business:

“Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do.

“What is it about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that makes them so refreshing and attractive to a wide variety of viewers (including those so-important younger ones)? I would argue that, more than anything else, it is that they enthusiastically call bulls***.

“Calling bulls***, of course, used to be central to journalism as well as to comedy. And we happen to be in a period in our history in which the substance in question is running particularly deep. Calling bulls*** has never been more vital to our democracy.

“It also resonates with readers and viewers a lot more than passionless stenography…I’m not sure why calling bulls*** has gone out of vogue in so many newsrooms – why, in fact, it’s so often consciously avoided. There are lots of possible reasons.

“There’s the increased corporate stultification of our industry, to the point where rocking the boat is seen as threatening rather than invigorating. There’s the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. There’s the fear of being labeled partisan if one’s bulls***-calling isn’t meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum.

“If mainstream-media political journalists don’t start calling bulls*** more often, then we do risk losing our primacy – if not to the comedians then to the bloggers…I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate bulls***-calling than a well-informed beat reporter – whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship – or whatever it is – out of the way.”

Hope that makes my journalistic goals and decisions a little easier to decipher. There are a lot of stenographers out there in all facets of journalism – and that’s fine if those folks are content to do that. But I aspire to fill a different role.

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Ask Adam appears Fridays on Proteau also answers readers' question in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every other Friday in the summer from 4-5 p.m. EST 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 His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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