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Wake-up call

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Some people say to me, “Adam, how do you not go Steve Downie-level insane trying to come up with a different lead paragraph for your mailbag column every week?” I never answer them, because I’m too busy trying to come up with a different lead paragraph for my mailbag column every week.

Can anybody spare a linesman’s leg I can hack at with a hockey stick?


I am bewildered by the recent elbow-to-the-head calls on Brendan Witt, Derek Boogaard and now Dion Phaneuf. Witt and Boogaard are vilified and given five-game suspensions, but Phaneuf’s hit is actually considered clean? What gives Adam? Is this yet another example of Colin Campbell’s need for glasses and a sense of continuity and fairness? Or maybe we need a committee to help Colie understand. I would love to hear about or read your thoughts on this. Thanks, Adam.

Monica, Minnesota


I’ll never pin all, or even the majority of the blame on Campbell. The NHL’s chief disciplinarian gets his marching orders from the league, owners and GMs who decide what actions fall outside and within the bounds of sportsmanship.

If the NHL wanted a uniform set of rules that adequately protected its players and punished head shots regardless of the intent behind them, they could have that set of rules this afternoon.

However, that would mean actually utilizing those rules and applying them to all players – not just the professional pests and borderline lunatics of the league, but the star players as well.

Obviously, we can’t have that. And by “obviously” I mean, “ludicrously.”

Dear Adam,

Could you imagine that one day the city of Saskatoon would get an NHL franchise? I'm asking because I was studying there as a foreign student in 2001-02. Thanks in advance for answering! Take care,

Tammo Lotz, Leipzig, Germany

Dear Tammo,

With all respect to the great people in Saskatoon, I think it would take a revolution the likes of which no professional sport has ever seen to put an NHL team in that market.

I also think if such a situation were to plague any league, the NHL would be one of the odds-on favorites. Remember, this is a league that has had nearly as many of its owners running afoul of the law as the NFL has had with its players.

Anyway, the notion of the Saskatoon Roughriders (come on, you know that shout out to the Canadian Football League would be pretty cool – not to mention, the lime green jerseys) joining the NHL is not one to put all your hopes and dreams into. Too many financial bombs have to rock the league before it even considers a town that, even for the NHL, would redefine the term “small market.”


I have been a hockey fan for years and a subscriber to THN for about six months now, but have been reading the publication for about five years. Here is my beef: How come in the "Good Ol’ USA" we can't get a syndication of Hockey Night in Canada, or for that matter any good games on television? I am by no means bashing Canada, because it is their national sport, but as a fan I would love to be able to have the great broadcasts that they get. I WANT HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA IN THE USA.

Josh Redman, Eureka, Ill.


First thing’s first: thanks for subscribing. We don’t always get a chance to thank readers for continuing to support everybody who draws a check from THN, but I know we’re all especially grateful people choose to dispose of some of their disposable income with us.

As for HNIC: you may be able to watch the program if your cable service offers access to the NHL Network, which airs games in real time. Here’s hoping you’ve got the extra cake to spend on it.

Hey Adam,

What's with smelling salts on the bench? I would think that playing in the NHL would provide enough of a rush that such stimulants shouldn't be necessary.

Shawn McDonald, Stratton, Ont.

Hey Shawn,

Let’s not impugn the reputation of every NHLer as being dependant on anything other than their natural abilities.

While I’m sure there are players out there who use the salts for their performance, trainers will tell you they’re more often utilized to bring around a player who’s been knocked loopy by a hard check or inadvertent collision.


What was the reasoning behind the Devils sending Scott Clemmensen down to the American League after Martin Brodeur came back? Were there cap issues with keeping Clemmensen over Kevin Weekes? You would think his play over the past few months would have been enough to keep him in New Jersey.

Jason Osborne, Enfield, N.S.


You would think that, wouldn’t you? The problem for Clemmensen is that Weekes would’ve had to clear waivers before being sent down to the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Lowell; he very likely would’ve been claimed by a team that could use some goaltending insurance heading into the playoffs (Detroit and Washington come to mind).

Clemmensen, on the other hand, did not need to clear waivers before being demoted. So, rather than lose an asset for nothing, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello went the safe route, even if it was unfair to Clemmensen.

But hey, life is unfair, right? I mean, as soon as this sentence ends, I have to start working on another lead paragraph for next week’s mailbag. Somebody get me the smelling salts!

Ask Adam appears Fridays on Proteau also answers readers' question in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every Friday from 3-4 p.m. EST 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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