I was impressed with yesterday's Winter Classic in all the little details that the NHL got right. The faux brick on the outside of the rink was phenomenal, and really gave the rink a Wrigley-esque feeling. Yesterday's game between one of the up-and-coming teams in the Blackhawks and one of the elite teams in the Red Wings was nothing short of entertaining, and both teams played with some great intensity. Well done, NHL, and I look forward to the next one!
With that being said, let's take a look at some of the stories I may have brushed over in preparing for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic.
- The London Hockey Concussion Summit is scheduled for January 17 in London, Ontario, and will feature former NHL players Eric Lindros, Alyn McCauley, and Jeff Beukeboom, along with Canadian women's hockey star Jennifer Botterill, as some of the speakers. The idea behind this summit meeting is to address the incidence and treatment of concussions in youth hockey. With the number of concussions increasing year after year in sports, this is long overdue, and I commend the doctors and athletes who are coming together to discuss this issue. As you may know, I am a big supporter of this kind of research and science, especially when young players' lives and livelihoods are on the line.
- Some of you may have heard of Don Sanderson, a senior men's hockey player playing defence for the Whitby Dunlops in Ontario. He was the young man who fell during a fight and hit his head on the ice, sending him to the hospital in a coma. Mr. Sanderson passed on today as he succumbed to his injury. He was only 21 years old. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and teammates. Mr. Sanderson was taken too soon. Rest in peace, and may you skate for eternity.
- In another tragic story, a father from Edmonton passed away yesterday after drowning when the Bobcat he was driving plunged through the ice. The man was trying to build a rink for his kids out of a dugout, but the snow-covered ice couldn't support the weight of the machine, and he was trapped inside. Paramedics were unsuccessful in reviving the man who had been under the ice for over two hours. Rest in peace, sir.
- The US-Canada hockey game at the World Junior Championship on New Year's Eve - game of the year for 2008. There isn't anything even close in my mind. With the US up 3-0 in the first period, Canada rallies to tie it before the intermission, and then outscores Team USA 4-1 the rest of the way. There were hits, there were scrums, there were irate coaches yelling at officials. This is the kind of pressure-cooker than the WJC is, and it's a shame that not many American fans can watch this kind of hockey. Despite them losing, this game was an absolute dandy, and both teams should be proud of the way they played!
- Boston rolled over Pittsburgh in two games last week, thus solidifying their claim as "Beasts of the East". Boston really has everything - solid goaltending, great defensive zone coverage, secondary scoring, depth, and solid composure. This is a team to be feared right now. The big, bad Bruins are back!
- Congratulations go out to the KHL's Moscow Dynamo who defeated Canada by a 5-3 score in the Spengler Cup Final. 25 years previous, Dynamo had attended and won the Spengler Cup as well, so this win was long overdue. Former St. Louis Blues forward Petr Cajanek scored a hat trick against the Canadians, giving the Moscow team the gold medal. Well done to all the teams at the Spengler Cup, and I look forward to next year's tournament!
Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!