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Identity crisis

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The Hockey News

I got an Ask Adam question this week from a woman congratulating me on being hired as Panthers assistant coach and wishing me good luck in being inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame.

Detective Ted Cooper of The Hockey News videography department figured out she thought she was writing to former NHL great, and current Lightning assistant coach, Adam Oates.

So for any newcomers to this section, let’s reiterate (although I don’t believe I iterated it in the first place) that the Adam you are asking isn’t Adam Oates, Adam Foote, Adam Carolla, Adam Ant, Adam Sandler or John Quincy Adams. Thanks for your attention in this matter.

Mr. Proteau, why would the NHL pick New Year's Day to play the Winter Classic with nearly half a dozen college football bowl games competing for TV viewers? Wouldn't the week between the end of the NFL season and Super Bowl (in a non-Olympic year) be better for showcasing the NHL in the U.S.?

And why doesn't the NHL schedule include more than one outdoor game a season? Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Minnesota and Buffalo would be good outdoor candidates between December and February, right?

Steve Stuart, Tampa Bay

Mr. Stuart,

The note you made in parentheses about non-Olympic years is the deciding factor for me in keeping the current Winter Classic set-up as-is. I don’t think you’d want to schedule a marquee event on one weekend for three years, then switch it to another weekend every fourth year.

As for the possibility of scheduling more than one WC each year: I think the league should be open to the possibility on special occasions, but remember, each outdoor game takes real risks – mostly in terms of weather – and sooner or later, we’re going to see a canceled game. Scheduling two every year would virtually guarantee that happens.

Adam – Gordie Howe has, for the past couple of years, expressed much admiration for Alex Ovechkin. So, even though he is just 24, I'm ready to put Ovechkin as the first team left wing on my all-time all-star team, which would have Howe at right wing, Gretzky at center and Bobby Orr at one of the ‘D’ positions.

The great Red Army goaltender, Vladislav Tretiak, strikes me as the all-time best goalie, but I could be convinced otherwise. Who would you put at goal and at the other all-time ‘D’ position?

Bruce James, Silver Spring, Md.


Ovechkin would be on my all-time team as well, as would Gretzky, Howe and Orr.

However, I think your supposition that Tretiak is the best netminder would cause many a longtime hockey observer to wave his hands in the air as if he did in fact care and demand you consider Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur or Glenn Hall in that category instead.

Personally, I’d go with Brodeur. And my other defenseman would be Nicklas Lidstrom – although I could probably be persuaded to slot Ray Bourque in there.

Hey Adam, considering J-S Giguere's recent remarks and the constant speculation in Toronto, would it be ridiculous to wonder if Ducks GM Bob Murray would consider shipping Giguere and potentially a younger guy like Ryan Carter to the Leafs for Tomas Kaberle?

It seems that other than not really freeing up too much cap space for either team, this would be good for both teams player-wise. Kaberle seems like the kind of player Randy Carlyle would quickly build into his system, and he provides insurance next year if Scotty (Niedermayer) retires and depletes the Ducks' blueline further.

Additionally, the Leafs get goalie insurance as well as a young grinder who can chip in the occasional point (the kind of guy that presumably Burke loves). Or am I just looking at this completely wrong?

Jim Beime, Pasadena, Calif.

Hey Jim,

I wouldn’t say you’re completely wrong; you’re just looking at this mostly as a Ducks fan.

Look at the deal from Brian Burke’s point of view: you’re trading away your most valuable trade commodity for a goalie who (a) is a huge cap hit, and (b) who doesn’t want to be “goalie insurance” for any team, and Carter, a good plugger type of player whom the Leafs happen to have plenty of. In fact, other than Phil Kessel, nearly all of Toronto’s forwards fit the ‘grinder’ mode.

Starting to see what I’m getting at? If Burke wasn’t prepared to move Kaberle for Kessel (a deal that he’d probably make now), there’s absolutely no chance he’d settle for a far less attractive package.

Adam, with the Olympics just around the corner, why doesn't Canada ice two men’s hockey teams for the tournament? Our country has enough hockey talent to do so.

Russell Friday, Kashechewan, Ont.


We certainly do have more than enough hockey talent in Canada to put two elite-caliber teams together. But that’s not really the spirit of the Games, is it?

The spirit of the Games comes from the best of each country going up against one another. And thank goodness for that, because otherwise all we’d see in the summer Games would be, for example, 100-metre sprint finals featuring only Jamaican runners, or table tennis gold medal showdowns solely featuring Chinese players.

I’m sure you’d agree that would get real dry after a while – and so would nothing but Canadians playing in the championship round in hockey.

Hey Adam, love your writing, etc. I could put this question simply, but simple is boring, and I'm a visually entertaining kind of guy, so here goes: I'm wondering what would happen if, in some crazy occurrence, an NHL coach decided to do several hallucinogenic drugs before a game and decided it would be a good idea to nix the whole goaltender idea, and just roll with six skaters the whole game, yet they still managed to get a shutout because they were playing Nashville or Carolina.

Who would be awarded the shutout? Would it just disappear into thin air? That would throw an imbalance in stats! That's like dividing by zero! Thanks!

Jordan Jungwirth, Saskatoon, Sask.

Hey Jordan,

Thanks for the kind words, etc., and the, er, visually entertaining question. But I think that’s meant for Adam Carolla, so I’ll forward it on to him and hope he gets back to you.

Ask Adam appears Fridays on Proteau also answers readers' questions in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show 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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