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Dropping the ball

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It’s the dawn of a new Ask Adam era – not online, but on the satellite radio airwaves, as we’ll begin answering reader and listener questions on the brand new THN Radio Show that debuts Friday on XM Home Ice channel 204 from 3-4 p.m. eastern time.

So if you don’t see your question answered at – or in the smaller AA feature in the magazine itself – subscribe to XM and listen in; you might just get yours dealt with on the air.

Hey Adam,

When are you guys at THN going to start taking the Bruins seriously?

Joe Meeks, Boston

Hey Joe,

Me? Not take the Bruins seriously? Surely you jest.

I mean, I know THN’s collective pre-season predictions had Boston out of the playoff mix, but here’s what I wrote about the Bruins for my personal picks:

For Bruins fans accustomed to watching their team stumble and bumble enough over the past decade to qualify as a vintage Peter Sellers comedy, the team’s lunch-bucket, blood-‘n’-guts effort in ’07-08 was a welcome change. Coach Claude Julien and his burgeoning charges will prove it was no fluke.

See? All kinds of seriousness-taking going on in those two sentences.

Hey Adam,

Will the NHL ever adopt a simple win-loss system like the NBA? I think it is really stupid if, for example, Montreal were to post three regulation victories over Toronto and the Leafs were to win the other three in overtime/shootout, you couldn't say they split the season series because Montreal has nine points and Toronto has six. Having a win-loss system would change the record books, but they have already done that with the annual rule changes and the shootout.

Jeff Evkovich, Welland, Ont.

Hey Jeff,

Although I’m on record as preferring a system in which a team would get three points for a regulation time win, two points for an overtime win, and one point for a shootout win – oh, and no points for any type of loss – I don’t believe we’ll see the NHL change their current system anytime in the near future.

Why? Because the current setup creates the appearance of league-wide parity, thereby giving fans in just about every NHL city hope their team can make the playoffs – and believe enough to keep buying tickets as deep into the regular season as possible.

Of course, it’s mostly an illusion; as noted by Newsday’s Mark Herrmann, only four teams that were in the NHL lottery mix as of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday last season wound up securing a post-season berth by springtime.

Unfortunately, as long as the league reaps financial rewards for perpetrating such illusion, they will continue as the Criss Angel of the sports world.

Hey Adam,

I love your column, but sadly you are No. 2 on my list (the Top 10 is my favorite). Nevertheless, your column is still elite. Anyway, I have two questions. First, would you consider Jonathan Toews, my favorite player, an elite player? Now, my second question: Can teams negotiate trades between the trade deadline and the end of the season preparing for an off-season trade? P.S. Did you realize our names are similar? Thank you,

Gary Preteau, Winnipeg, Man.


Answer No. 1: Abso-expletive-lutely.

Answer No. 2: For the most part, no. A team can’t technically agree to a trade that kicks in after the Stanley Cup has been awarded.

But can they agree to set up the rough parameters of trading a particular player or pick somewhere down the line? Sure. Sometimes, it’s called “future considerations” other times, the simple expression of interest in a player can set the stage for a future deal.

P.S. Answer: I sure did notice that. Shout-outs to all my Preteau, Prateau, Pruteau and Proteiuo brethren!


What, if any, do you think would be the next major rule change in the NHL?

Jeremy Goldstein, Los Angeles


The rule I think will be looked at heavily by the league’s competition committee and GMs is the delay of game penalty that happens when a goalie plays the puck outside the trapezoid.

Many hockey observers believe that – when combined with the crackdown on obstruction that frees up forwards to come into the offensive zone at high speed – restricting a goalie to his crease on dump-ins contributes heavily to the rise in hits-from-behind into the end boards.

The NHL can’t reverse course on obstruction, leaving the removal of the trapezoid as the easy, rational way to improve player safety.


When referees make wrong or bad calls, do you think the ref should look at the replay to get the call right?

Zahid Patel, Scarborough, Ont.


Yes I do, in every call that’s made during the game – but only if thousands of fans begin demanding seven-hour games each night of the regular season.

Listen, I think the NHL should be commended for reviewing disputed goals. They’re kind of important.

But once you accept the fact any NHL game consists of two teams that always feel they’re being wronged by each other, you have to concede to subjectivity and simple human error when it comes to officiating.

I’m not saying we should allow refs to interpret the rulebook as they see fit. Easily recognizable standards should be applied – and to the credit of chief official Stephen Walkom, they are being applied, if only accompanied by a stiff and painful learning curve.

Ultimately, though, there are times when no technology will protect from the sting of a blown assignment. I don’t know of any business – with the possible exception of eunuch identifiers – that can claim otherwise.

Ask Adam appears Fridays only on 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.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.


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