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Going the distance

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It seems that every week, there are dozens more Ask Adam submissions to sort through. And the more that come in, the guiltier I feel for not being able to get to each one.

Alas, until they change my job title to “Full-Time Question Answerer,” I won’t be able to make the guilt go away.

But remember, I will use some for the magazine edition of the mailbag, so keep an eye out at your local newsstand for the latest 3-D version of THN.


Why hasn't the NHL gone to five-man shootouts yet? Are they even considering it? It seems like a joke to me to battle it out for 65 minutes and then decide a game based on only a three-person shootout. You might as well just have a coin toss.

Michael Raiger, Sarnia, Ont.


If it were possible to agree with somebody more than just saying, “I couldn’t agree with you more,” I would be there with you on this.

I’ve argued the league should’ve sent out five shooters aside right from the implementation of the shootout. Unfortunately, as befits the NHL’s management style, they stuck a big toe in the experimental waters rather than jumping right in.

As my friend (and Hockey Night In Canada host) Jeff Marek noted, the shootout delivers excitement virtually every time it is employed to end tie games. Extending that excitement is a no-brainer – which likely means it will take the league until 2015 to see the light.


I want to let you know that I am not a big fan of yours (specifically), but I respect the fact that you and I share a common passion for our great Canadian game of hockey. I am a subscriber to THN and have been for several years. As a team, the THN group is solid and the results of your collective efforts are consistently superior to any other hockey publication available in North America. You have written an article published in the Nov. 24, 2008 edition on page 20 titled "The Class of 2008." For 15 years I was the self-proclaimed heavyweight champion of Wendel Clark Fans. Why else would I waste several minutes of my Sunday afternoon to write to you over such an inconsequential supporting statement (excerpt) from one of your many columns? It could be as simple as a difference of opinion, but I want to know for sure. I know that Wendel was a defenseman, yet you refer to him being drafted as a "quiet-but-quake-making-forward." I went to the Blades website and looked up his stats from 1983 and 1984; they list him as a left winger. This would mean that you are correct. I don't think so, but please do correct me (again and officially) if I am wrong. I know that Wendel was a defenseman and I thought that he was drafted (initially) by the Leafs with the understanding that he had the potential to move up because of the way he played during his junior career.

Jeoff Lennox, Cambridge, Ont.


I appreciate your honesty, and I’m not offended in the slightest. I’m not in the business to make friends or court adulation – and in fact, a good debate with a respectful opponent is one of the best benefits of this job.

As for your question: it is absolutely true Clark spent his early-to-mid teens as a defenseman. However, he did take regular shifts as a forward in his final year in Saskatoon and played up front with the Maple Leafs right from the beginning of his NHL days.

When I wrote that particular line, it would have been rather clunky if I’d included the evolution of Clark’s hockey career. That’s why I didn’t actually write that the Leafs “drafted” a quiet-but-quake-making forward; I wrote “…Leafs fans fell in love with a quiet-but-quake-making forward…”.

It’s a subtle difference, but a valid one. Leafs fans didn’t fall in love with Clark when he was a Blades blueliner. They fell in love with him when he joined the Leafs.

A. Proteau,

You've done a great job with your blog and I read it regularly. Where do you think Brian Burke will land and do you think he will make that team a good one?

Austin Arsenault, St. Andrews, N.B.

A. Arsenault,

I am thanking you kindly. As I have said for some time, Burke will land in Toronto. Nothing makes me think any different now.

And yes, I think he’ll make the Maple Leafs better. That’s not to say he won’t make any high-profile errors or take any significant risks, but I think Burke is a good judge of hockey lieutenants; that ability to surround himself with smart people – and trust in their judgment – will be a main reason for his success.


I have Nicklas Lidstrom’s stick from the 1991 World Championships in Turku/Helsinki/Tampere, where Sweden became champions. It is in perfect condition. I worked in the security organization during the games and therefore got the stick after a training session the Swedish team had. I’m thinking to sell it to someone who values these rarities. How to proceed? Do you have any suggestions?

Ari Pesonen, Östersund, Sweden


Do they have eBay in Sweden (SweBay? SwedeBay?)? Or a If so, try one of those sites and see what interest you’d get.

Or, if you’d rather go to the pros, get in touch with a hockey memorabilia expert such as Good luck.


Do you see either Seattle or Houston with NHL franchises in the next five years?

John E., Cocoa Beach, Fla.


In five years, no. In 10 years? Possibly. And if not in 10 years, not at all? Yes.

And do I love asking myself questions? Oh, yes.


Why is a young and fantastic coach like John Tortorella on the TSN panel and not coaching?

Paul Hamilton, White Fox, Sask.


Tortorella will get another opportunity, as every coach who’s won a Stanley Cup deserves. I hope it’s soon, because his career as a professional talking head on TV is not evolving as it should.

Just the other night, Tortorella refused to enter into a panel discussion on TSN because the subject matter concerned the NHL coach’s fraternity.

Upon seeing him hold up his nose at the conversation, my b.s. detector exploded. I’m not sure if anybody’s told this to Mr. T., but that network pays him to provide commentary – not to publicly pity the fools whose job it is to stoke and provoke interest in the game.


Why was Tim Thomas not on the All-Star ballot?

Jason, Boston


Because Manny Fernandez was put in charge of creating the online balloting process, that’s why.

(Pause for effect…)

In reality, it’s because the NHL can’t, for practical reasons, list every NHLer on its electronic ballot. Therefore, they must choose to draw an arbitrary line as to who gets in and who doesn’t.

Thomas hasn’t performed year-in, year-out at an elite level for more than a couple years – and since he’s on the wrong side of 30 years of age, he doesn’t get the benefit of the “upside” argument – so he didn’t make the cut.

If he can continue his sizzling start to this season, though, I suspect he’ll be on the ballot next year. And if ever someone was worthy of a write-in campaign…

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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