Thursday, 17 September 2009

Comeback Stories Are Good News

Comeback stories are always great. It shows a commitment and dedication to something from the person making the return, and it's always nice to see good people get second chances. As I reported a while back, Jared Aulin had essentially put his hockey career on hold after a few scary injuries. Aulin looked like a decent prospect while with the Los Angeles Kings, and even had a fairly decent debut in the short 17 games he played. The last we had heard of Jared Aulin, he was taking classes at the University of Calgary in Alberta in the field of kinesiology.

Well, we have an Aulin sighting, kids! Jared is playing hockey with the Columbus Blue Jackets at their training camp, and will most likely end up with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch after camp ends. For Aulin, this is a huge step after it appeared that his NHL career may be over. After defeating the concussion problems and working through a shoulder injury, he tended bar while attending school. The physical therapy he was doing allowed the scar tissue in his surgically-repaired shoulder to break down and loosen up, and he turned his attention back to hockey.

"If I didn't think I had anything left, I wouldn't put myself in this situation. Realistically, I don't think I can step into game situations and feel 100 percent comfortable. But I don't think it will take much time," Aulin told Lindsay Kramer of "It's definitely a different story. But it's a very humbling story. I've never been a cocky person. But when you are a young player playing in the NHL, then not playing pro anymore... it makes you appreciate every opportunity you have."

Aulin, who has been working out still, appears to be in great shape. While it may take some time for his timing to adjust to the NHL again, there was no guarantee any team would even take a chance on a guy who hasn't played in a professional game since 2006-07. Even worse, it's extremely rare for a tam to take a chance on a guy who has been out of the game for three years and had extensive injury problems.

Aulin, however, is a low risk, high reward move for the Blue Jackets. If he makes the team, Columbus has another young forward in their stable. Aulin is only 27 years of age, and he already has both AHL and NHL experience. If he doesn't make the team, he can go to Syracuse and hone his skills while waiting for a call up to the NHL. As Aulin said, "it makes you appreciate every opportunity", and I'm thinking that he'll give his heart and soul for this opportunity.

And if, for some strange reason, he is cut by the Blue Jackets, they lose someone they never anticipated having available to them. It's not like he's done if he's cut by Columbus, though. It's simply another hurdle for him to overcome. And he's overcome several major hurdles already.

I really do hope that Jared Aulin makes the Blue Jackets. It would be one of those "feel good" stories that could inspire other players to give their dreams a second chance. Heck, it may even inspire other non-hockey people to give their dreams another shot. And if it even inspires one person to start back down the path of their dreams, then his story has more purpose than he could imagine.

Isn't that what good news does - inspires us all?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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