Ken Campbell, The Hockey News' senior writer, is in his second tour with the brand after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native once tried out for the Ontario League's Wolves as a 30-year-old. Needless to say, it didn't work out.
When Patrick Kane showed up at the Chicago Blackhawks training camp last week, a heated debate began immediately concerning whether or not he should be there.
Those saying Kane had every right to be with his teammates argued that he had not been charged with any crime and deserved the same rights as any other person in any other line of work who faced the same circumstances. Hard to argue with that. After all, the presumption of innocence is one of the underpinnings of any criminal justice system.
The fact that the NHL Players’ Association will put forth an initiative at some point this season aimed at helping former players deal with issues they face in the transition to retirement should be applauded. It sounds like it could be a terrific program that could help a good number of former players find their niche after they’ve devoted almost their whole lives to playing hockey.
But to suggest something like this would have helped Todd Ewen deal with the obvious troubles he faced before he killed himself this past weekend is kind of like thinking one would be able to close a gaping wound with a Band-Aid.
Nobody ever sees this kind of thing coming. Everyone is shocked. The hockey world collectively clucks its tongue and laments the terrible tragedy. And it almost always involves a player who dropped his gloves and fought for a living. After all, when was the last time a skilled forward was found dead far before his time under mysterious circumstances?
And so it goes with Todd Ewen, who joins the likes of John Kordic, Rick Rypien, Derek Boogaard, Wade Belak and Steve Montador in a club of which nobody wants to be a part, but one whose membership is growing fairly rapidly. Ewen, a former NHL enforcer for four teams, died this past weekend at the age of 49. Police in St. Louis County have confirmed that Ewen’s death is being investigated as a suicide.
THN has received official confirmation from the St. Louis County Police Department that former NHLer Todd Ewen’s death is being investigated as a suicide.
“(Ewen’s death) is being investigated and classified as a suicide and there are no signs of foul play,” Sergeant Brian Schellman, public information co-ordinator for the St. Louis County Police Department wrote in an email to thn.com. “A 100 percent call won’t be made until the medical examiner returns their report.
As it turns out, we may have to alter the definition of the term “generational player.” It used to be that generational players came around only once in, well, a generation. But two in the same draft year? We’re getting a little spoiled here, aren’t we?
In the history of the NHL draft, which started modestly 52 years ago, only once have the No. 1 and No. 2 picks had careers that ended with induction into the Hall of Fame. That was in 1971 when Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne embarked on their NHL careers with the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings. We’re not about to suggest the Hall of Fame start working on plaques for Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel just yet, but the possibilities are tempting.
McDavid has been carrying the burden of future NHL stardom since his early teenage years. Eichel closed the gap going into this season when it came to the race for No. 1 overall, but as the season went on, McDavid widened it. By the time the Edmonton Oilers picked first overall in the draft, it was a fait accompli. Read more
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – This time last year, there was a real possibility Anthony Mantha would be one of the few players who would make the jump to the Detroit Red Wings out of junior hockey. Now nobody’s sure if that jump will even take place this season.
None of this should come as a surprise. The Red Wings have always preferred to let their prospects over-ripen in the American League and it’s a philosophy that has served them well. No team has produced NHL-ready prospects out of the minors the way the Red Wings have over the past decade. Even when the prospect is a tantalizing 6-foot-5 and has a sublime skill level and a nose for the net, these things take time.
Score one for the traditionalists. When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league’s seven-year partnership with adidas, he could not have been more adamant in squelching speculation that we could soon be seeing advertising on NHL sweaters. (And yes, they’re sweaters in hockey, not jerseys.)
Bettman could not have been more forceful, more unequivocal in his disdain for sullying NHL sweaters with advertising. All signs are pointing toward some form of advertising for the World Cup, which confirms the status of the tournament as nothing more than a cash grab for the players and league, one which will have no enduring effect on the world of international hockey and will serve as an entertainment spectacle for North American fans.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The best thing you can say about the NHL employing concussion spotters beginning this season is that it’s a good start. It doesn’t go near far enough yet, but it adds another layer of identification it didn’t have before.
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the league will introduce spotters at all of its 1,230 games this season whose sole purpose will be to watch for visible signs of concussions and alert training staffs. The NHL will employ two spotters per game, but the actual spotting will largely be done by people who work for the teams. NHL teams will have one designated person both at home and on the road who will be close to the bench watching for players showing signs of concussions.