Small Ontario town rallies around star Jr. A player badly injured representing Canada

Adam Proteau
Neil Doef (via smithfallsbears.pointstreaksites.com)

Seventeen-year-old Neil Doef is a small-town Canadian kid like so many other small-town kids across this country: chasing the hockey dream, day and night, evenings, weekends, and probably in his dreams as well. But like very few kids, he had talent to go along with that love of the game: he was the leading scorer on the Jr. A Smiths Falls Bears of the Central Canada Hockey League, and the rookie of the year in that league last season at age 16; he’d just agreed to a full hockey scholarship at Princeton University; and he was named to Team Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, Sask.

Sadly, that’s where Doef’s life took a tragic turn on Sunday. Playing against the Swiss team, the left winger fell into the boards after colliding with a defenseman and suffered a terrible injury that not only threatens his hockey future, but his ability to live as he did before the game was played.

(At the request of Doef’s family, Hockey Canada president Tom Renney wouldn’t confirm Doef is dealing with major spinal trauma, but that was the suspicion. “(We) are not able to provide any further details and will when it is deemed most appropriate,” Renney said in a statement.)

Doef’s home of Smiths Falls (population 8,777) is admirably rallying around the injured youngster. An online fundraising campaign had raised more than $5,500 in two days, and the local Shopper’s Drug Mart has pledged $5,000 and will collect donations at its location. People interested in helping Doef can donate money at any Scotiabank branch under the account name “Doefstrong in trust”, or send an online money transfer to the address doefstrong@gmail.com.

The hockey world needs no more examples of how inherently dangerous the game can be. All we can do is do our best to help people who’ve been hurt. And although Doef faces a long and tough road, it’s heartening to see how quickly hockey’s family has stepped up to support him at such an awful time.

Upper-body injury sidelines Jets’ Trouba until February

Jared Clinton
Jacob Trouba

Just as things were starting to look like they were going the Winnipeg Jets’ way, the team announced today they will be without Jacob Trouba until February with an upper-body injury.

The 20-year-old Trouba’s injury adds to what is already a thinned out blueline as the Jets are already missing top-four defensemen Zach Bogosian and Toby Enstrom, both of whom are out with lower-body injuries. Bogosian has been absent from the lineup since Dec. 4 and isn’t scheduled to return until at least the second week of January, while Enstrom’s injury dates back to Nov. 23 and he’s not expected to return this month. Read more

Mumps outbreak has anthem as Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” gets parody treatment

Jared Clinton
Tally Deushane sings her parody song "Mumps Face" (via YouTube)

During the NHL’s mumps outbreak, every fan has been wishing for the same thing: what we need is a Taylor Swift parody to accurately describe the whole ordeal.

Wish no longer, hockey fans. Thanks to Tally Deushane, the co-host of the Girls Just Wanna Have Puck podcast, we now have a ukulele parody of Swift’s Blank Space, complete with lyrics like, “You got a mumps face, baby, better vaccinate.” Read more

Another NHLer with the mumps: Rangers’ Derick Brassard the latest to come down with a case

Derick Brassard (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just a few hours after Penguins star Sidney Crosby was confirmed to have come down with a case of the mumps, the NHL had another player linked to the virus when Rangers center Derick Brassard was sent from a road trip in Edmonton back to New York City with a suspected case.

Brassard, who was the Blueshirts’ second-leading point-getter (24 in 27 games), is the 14th player of the season to show symptoms of the mumps, which was contracted by teammate Tanner Glass in November. Other players affected include New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson; Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin, Clayton Stoner and Emerson Etem; and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin. Read more

Penguins make it official, Sidney Crosby sidelined with mumps

Jared Clinton
Sidney Crosby had a visibly swollen face when he met with media on Friday. (via PensTV)

Days after appearing before media with a very visibly swollen face, which led some to believe he had the mumps, Sidney Crosby is officially sidelined by the virus.

The 27-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins superstar has had his share of medical issues throughout his career, and this is yet another setback for one of the game’s best and brightest stars. Speculation began about Crosby have the illness after he missed practice on Thursday and, upon returning on Friday, had what appeared to be swollen glands. Read more

Sidney Crosby has giant, swollen face during meeting with media

Jared Clinton
Sidney Crosby had a visibly swollen face when he met with media on Friday. (via PensTV)

After missing practice on Thursday, Sidney Crosby rejoined the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. When he met with media he looked, well, different.

The right side of Crosby’s face was protruding and quite visibly swollen, leading to speculation that the superstar was the latest player to be hit with the mumps virus. The virus has spread throughout the league, most recently sidelining Adam Larsson and Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils.

You can take a look at Crosby’s interview below: Read more

Jonathan Toews suffers apparent head injury on brutal hit – so why was he playing immediately after?

Adam Proteau
Jonathan Toews (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

You want to believe the medical officials entrusted with NHL players’ health are always erring on the side of caution. Then you see Jonathan Toews returning to play immediately after taking an absolutely brutal hit from Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg Thursday, and the doubts don’t creep in – they stampede over you.

The Blackhawks captain and NHL star was driven headfirst into the boards at an awkward angle by Seidenberg midway through the second period of Chicago’s game against the host Bruins, and the result was enough to turn your stomach regardless of whether you’re a Hawks fan:

We can sit here and argue about the cleanliness of the hit itself – and the play will be reviewed by the league – but the fact Chicago’s medical staff and coaches allowed Toews to play his next shift is even more troubling. If this wasn’t the time to have Toews – a superstar who has a history of concussions – sent to the quiet room to be evaluated, then there isn’t ever a good time to do so. But what likely happened was the Hawks trainer asked Toews if he was good enough to continue with his next shift – and, just as every NHLer has been conditioned over the course of his life to answer, Toews said yes. He eventually left the game, but the sight of a star player being left open to additional injury (and perhaps an early end to his career) because nobody had the stones to tell him to get off the ice for his own good was and is deeply disturbing.

Even if you presume Toews wasn’t in a haze and knew full well what he was saying, his word alone isn’t good enough for him to continue playing after a hit like that. Read more

Larsson and Zajac latest NHLers to go down with mumps

Jared Clinton
Adam Larsson featured

Add New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac and defenseman Adam Larsson to the long list of players that have been sidelined by the mumps this season.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello confirmed that both players had been diagnosed with the mumps on Wednesday morning, reports Tom Gulitti. This puts the number of confirmed cases into the double digits, and the illness has already sidelined stars like Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry. Read more