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The Hockey News

Another week, another whack of questions to answer.

Once again, if you don’t see your submission here, you can always check The Hockey News magazine – or listen to THN Radio on XM Channel 204 every Friday from 3-4 p.m. EST – to see if I responded to you in either of those forums.


Being a hockey junkie in the San Francisco Bay Area has never been easy, given that, 1) our only hockey stories, even about the Sharks, come from the Associated Press wire service; and, 2) the NHL Network is no longer part of basic cable here. So I must turn to you as a potential paragon of reason. I write to you about the scintillating topic of game-winning goals. Has the NHL ever considered changing its screwed-up system for determining game-winning goals (and goalie wins, for that matter)? A player could lose out on a game-winning goal because a goalie gave up a meaningless goal at the end of the game; at the same time, a backup goalie could get himself a win by giving up the same meaningless goal. If a starting goalie leaves a game ahead 1-0 in the third and his team scores a second time, the backup goalie could give up a soft goal at the end of the game and get credited with the win. Shouldn't the win (and game-winning goal) be the goal that put a team ahead to stay (a la baseball’s late, great, game-winning run batted in)? Even better, under the same scenario, if a goalie ever scores on the empty net at the end of the game, it behooves him to give up an easy one as time expires so that he gets the game-winning goal. This stat is currently no indication of clutch play, given the way it so heavily relies on luck. In the above situation, the guy who broke the last tie should get the game-winner. What do you think?

Gary Castro, Redwood City, Calif.


To my knowledge, the NHL hasn’t seriously pondered changing its game-winning-goals formula. Nor has the league looked at revamping its plus/minus calculations, despite a number of statistical challenges to that statistic.

I think you make a good argument; unfortunately, this is another one of those areas in which the NHL’s reticence to willingly evolve reflects poorly on the league. Perhaps someday there will be an administration that acts pro-actively in all areas of the hockey industry, but I have little confidence the current one ever will.

Hey Proteau,

Is Ken Campbell as big an a$*#@&% as he seems?

Kevin Coté, Halifax, N.S.

Hey Coté,

To the contrary – Ken is a fantastic guy; he’s a devoted family man, a deep wellspring of knowledge about hockey and Bugs Bunny cartoons and one of the best writers in the industry.

I think some people read Ken’s stuff and imagine he’s a 24/7 seether, never taking a moment to smile or laugh or enjoy the sport. And that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

I wouldn’t presume to speak for Ken, but if he’s anything like I am, any and all of his words of anger originate out of a profound love for the game. I’d rather have him covering the sport than some easily pleased rube who can be manipulated by the hockey establishment.


How large is the trapezoid behind the nets?

Glen Cuthbert, Hamilton, Ont.


If you’re looking for a square footage total, I can’t help you. All I know is the trapezoid’s lines begin six feet from either goal post and extend out diagonally to the point where they’re 28 feet apart at the end boards.


My parents believe Robyn Regehr is the worst defenseman in the NHL and should retire because he is too slow to keep up with the fast pace of the NHL game. Could you explain why so many NHL players and other people involved with the NHL believe that Regehr is one of the top defensive defensemen in the league?

Patrick Michael Jordan, Winnipeg

Patrick Michael,

Let’s start with the fact Regehr was a combined plus-58 in the four NHL seasons prior to his current campaign. He’s also deceptively strong, exceedingly savvy when it comes to positional play and has one of the best panic thresholds in the game.

I hate to be in your parents’ bad book, but if Regehr became an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season (he’s actually signed through 2012-13), I’d be willing to bet he’d be right up there with Montreal’s soon-to-be-UFA Mike Komisarek as one of the highest-paid defensive d-men in the league.

The fact Darryl Sutter got Regehr to accept $4 million a season is one of the biggest coups of the GM’s current tenure with the team.

Hi Adam,

I was wondering, what was the reason why there are different types of free agency, even in the restricted free agency. How could the players accept those kind of restrictions? It's a major blow to an employment market, which is supposed to be free. One can argue that teams need to have guarantees that the players in which they invest for years will stay in the system for a while, but if you see the "real world" (i.e. non-professional sports world) you're most likely free to leave your job with a more or less short notice, or on the other hand, get fired and have a more or less short notice. Still, the company that you left had invested in you and may want a return on their investment. How come the NHLPA doesn’t do anything about that? I hope you'll be able to help me!

Clement Le Flem, Paris, France

Hi Clement,

I understand your point, but it’s hard for me to fault the Players’ Association for not securing an ideal system of free agency for its members.

You have to remember, the NHLPA wasn’t in any position of bargaining strength during the 2004-05 lockout. That’s in large part the fault of former union boss Bob Goodenow, who made a huge strategic error in requesting players prepare to sit out for two years in their struggle with the league.

In any case, the fractured NHLPA couldn’t dictate that any major policies be included in the collective bargaining agreement. That’s why some people are still amazed they were able to reduce the age of unrestricted free agency in the first place.

In the real world, players would have all the rights of any civilian looking for work. But as we’re all aware, the NHL is anything but the real world.

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.

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