Five things NHL and NHLPA could do, right now, to help prevent tragedies

Ken Campbell
Louie DeBrusk (left) and Todd Ewen (Photo by Glenn Cratty/Getty Images)

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.

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Enforcers are dying…why isn’t the hockey world doing something about it?

Ken Campbell
Todd Ewen (Photo by Glenn Cratty /Allsport)

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.

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Police confirm death of former NHLer Todd Ewen was suicide

Ken Campbell
Todd Ewen (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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 “A 100 percent call won’t be made until the medical examiner returns their report.

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A Toronto-Philadelphia rivalry primer for Drake and Meek Mill

Tie Domi (far left) and Donald Brashear  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

One of the biggest pop culture stories going around right now involves rappers Drake and Meek Mill, former friends turned enemies. The beef between the pair began over hurt feelings and escalated into several freestyle diss tracks…you don’t care about this. We’re The Hockey News. But since Drake used the Blue Jays’ World Series victory over the Phillies as ammo against Meek Mill (guess which two cities these guys are from?), I thought we should hockey this thing up, just in case the rappers need more material (and after hearing Meek Mill’s “Wanna Know,” they do).

Here’s a brief history of the bad blood between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers:

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Draft prospect Jakub Zboril played “like a pig” when he was growing up

Ryan Kennedy
Jakub Zboril at the draft combine (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the most buzzed-about prospects at the draft combine in Buffalo was Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Jakub Zboril, a Czech national who plays with an edge and can contribute at both ends of the rink. It’s looking like Zboril will go in the middle of the first round in Florida thanks to that combination of talents, but his physicality has made him far from a favorite amongst opponents.

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Top 10 fights between NHL stars since the 2004-05 lockout*

Ronnie Shuker

Fighting is better suited for the ring, not the rink, and that’s where it’ll be tonight, when boxing’s two biggest superstars, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, face off in the biggest fight in, well, all of human history.

Two boxers of this stature rarely step in the ring together, but it’s a significantly more frequent occurrence among the NHL’s elite players.

Here are the top 10 fights between NHL superstars since the 2004-05 lockout*:

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Calling Colton Orr up to the Maple Leafs sends all the wrong messages

Ken Campbell
Colton Orr

Just so we all have this straight, Buffalo Sabres fans are chided for cheering for their team to lose games so it can guarantee itself a chance at drafting a generational talent who could alter the course of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are being hailed as “classy” for calling up a player who can barely play at the American League level for the last game of the season?

All right, carry on then.

The Maple Leafs have called up Orr, a player to whom they’ve already paid almost $6 million in exchange for eight goals in 231 games and are paying $925,000 to play for their AHL team this season, as some kind of thank you for everything he has done for them. We can only imagine what the send-off would be if Orr had actually done anything to help the Leafs win a game over the years. Read more