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Proteau's Blog: Temper temper

• Did you see Mats Sundin bash in the penalty box video camera in Nashville Thursday night? He's another in a long line of players who get sent to the sin bin, then take out their frustrations on the camera.

As my good friend Jeff Marek noted, the NHL should be heavily fining players for that kind of behavior. The league is trying to promote this game through technology, but it doesn't need to promote petulant temper tantrums from its star players.

• Thursday, I made reference to former NBAer John Amaechi's decision to come out as a gay man, and noted that the NHL is now the last of the “big four” sports without a publicly homosexual former athlete.

I also speculated that it would be a long, long time before an NHLer announces he's gay – and as I noted in my latest entry for the Globe and Mail's hockey blog, an NHL GM confirmed my suspicions.

“A player or ex-player announcing he's gay? No chance whatsoever,” the GM said. “You'd have better odds of a guy coming out as a member of Al-Qaeda.”

Harsh words, perhaps, but also a blunt indication of the tough road ahead for any gay elite hockey player who wishes to live his life as an open book.

• Sometimes people ask me what I get out of this job. I'm not getting rich doing it, and more often than not, readers write in to demand I be served with a restraining order keeping me at least 300 feet away from any word processor.

But then I get a response like the one Ron Haffling sent in Thursday night. Ron had read my now-annual Screen Shots column about the sad state of the Bruins and Blackhawks, and felt compelled to reply:


I read most everything you write for The Hockey News and only miss something by accident. In your article "Same Ol' Sad Story For Hawks, Bruins" I sadly find myself agreeing with most points on the Hawks. You cover the bad points and end with what seems to say there is no hope for the future. Do you feel that the large number of prospects and minor league players the Hawks have, many of them good to very good in their current stage of development, will not have enough impact on the Hawks to make them a contender?I've had my season tickets since 1963 and have seen over 2,000 live NHL games not to mention far more than that on TV. Yes, it was a lot more fun in years past. No question, we have been waiting a long time for improvement, but then so were the Pittsburgh Penguin fans. There's only going to be one Sidney Crosby, but then if a team can put enough good players on there roster, I have to think the final chance for a cup would be similar.Sometimes I think I'm the only fan that still respects Bill Wirtz, but no one disputes he is a remarkably successful businessman. My thoughts are he has not changed his thinking on the NHL enough to keep up with the their changes. It seems that if he would turn over control of the Hawks to his son Peter we would see a lot of improvement in the team.I'm sure this sounds like a disappointed fan who is too much an optimist. I hope that is not the case. I feel the future is bright for the Hawks.

Ron Haffling

As I said in my reply to Ron, I don't think the Hawks are hopeless. There's hope almost every year, but somehow things keep going awry for them. I also told him how lucky the Hawks are to have fans of his caliber. I know it's an honor for me to be able to write for fans of the game like him.



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