NHL Notebook, part II: Injuries piling up
Is it us or has there been an alarming number of injuries to NHL players and prospects during this lockout?
Or perhaps it is because there wasn’t much of an internet back in 2005. Almost no hockey-related websites existed and such information was slow to trickle out.
Anyway, Edmonton prospect Oscar Klefbom, playing overseas in Sweden, suffered a season-ending, left shoulder injury in early October that will require surgery.
“I dumped the puck in the offensive zone and I got a small hit from behind and I lost my balance and I flew into the boards,” Klefbom told the Edmonton Sun
“I had to catch myself with my left arm. Afterwards, I couldn’t feel my arm, it was like a dead arm. I didn’t know what happened.”
He will become the fourth Oiler to have undergone shoulder surgery since last season: Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, and Taylor Hall being the others. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also injured his shoulder last season, but did not require surgery.
Then there’s the sad sack Columbus Blue Jackets, who can’t seem to catch a break. Their general manager makes a bad deal to get rid of Rick Nash; the lockout begins; then their All-Star Game gets cancelled because of the lockout.
And now the Blue Jackets No. 2 overall pick from this year’s draft, Ryan Murray, will need shoulder surgery and is done for the season – if we ever have a season. He’ll need six months recovery, the Columbus Dispatch
The paper said Murray suffered a torn labrum Nov. 16 in a WHL game against Victoria. Murray plays for Everett.
Sadly, the 19-year-old was considered a strong prospect to compete for Team Canada at the World Juniors and the IIHF World Championships.
Finally, in New Jersey, Devils Calder Cup finalist Adam Henrique will be gone 4-6 weeks to surgically repair ligament damage to his left thumb.
Henrique was injured during an AHL game with Albany.Teletubby driving
Someone might want to mention to Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan that the next time he decides to drive drunk, he might want to wear something a little less noticeable the big purple Teletubby outfit he had on when he got busted.
Sheahan’s blood-alcohol count was a staggering .30 when he was arrested Oct. 29 in Grand Rapids, with the information just now coming out. He also was carrying someone else’s ID on him – Brendan Smith, a teammate of his on the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Because his DUI limit was higher than .17, Sheahan was booked under Michigan’s new “super drunk” law which carries a 180-day jail sentence, if convicted, and possible deportation since he is not an American.Pay cuts
A number of NHL clubs have cut wages, hours or outright laid off personnel during the lockout, including inside the NHL’s own headquarters.
Add the Minnesota Wild to the list. According to the Star Tribune
, the team’s 200 employees are going on a reduced work schedule of 32 hours which comes to a 20 percent pay cut. Harding’s plight
Michael Russo presented a touching story this week in the Star Tribune
on goalie Josh Harding’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
“I had a couple days where I felt bad for myself, but no more,” Harding said. “There's things in life that happen. Sometimes you can't explain it. You deal with it.”
He noted himself several signs of the disease: a tweak in his neck, dizziness, seeing black spots and numbness throughout his right leg.
“I just knew that something wasn't right,” Harding said. “Honestly, I hadn't felt normal for a bit.”
In late September, Harding had an MRI on his neck when Wild team doctor Dan Peterson noticed an abnormality and ordered an MRI of the brain.
That’s when doctors found MS. Harding vows he will continue to play until he can’t. He was recently cleared by the club to begin training this fall.
“I'm a team-first guy," Harding said. “If we play a 41- or 60-game season, you lose seven in a row, you're not going to catch up. Let the distraction be now rather than when we're on a four-game road trip, we need to win and all of a sudden it leaks out.”
The Wild coaching staff and management were fully briefed on his disease on Wednesday.
“There’s so much for myself to learn about MS,” Harding said. “I’ve already learned a lot, but there’s so much I want to learn.” Man of many talents
That would be David Courtney, the long time voice of the LA Kings, the Clippers and Angels, who died suddenly this week at 56 from a pulmonary embolism.
Courtney began his hockey career with the Kings in 1971, wearing a numbers of hats from PR assistant, to gofer, to video tape specialist.
“He was so happy when we won the Cup. He's like all of us,” Luc Robitaille told the LA Times
. “He's been bleeding the Kings through all the years, and this was a big moment.
“It's just devastating. I think it's a reminder that we've got to enjoy every one of our days because you never know. He's going to be thoroughly missed.”
Courtney’s signature introduction at the old Forum and Staples Center was simple, yet elegant.
“Ladies and gentlemen, your Los Angeles Kings.” Associated Press, Canadian Press, Calgary Sun, Columbus Dispatch, Detroit Free Press, Edmonton Sun, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, New York Daily News, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Sun, contributed to this story. E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com