Alec Martinez not close to returning because “they nearly cut his finger off”

Jared Clinton
Alec-Martinez

In today’s terrible hockey news, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is going to be out a while longer with a broken pinky because “they almost cut the thing off,” according to coach Darryl Sutter.

That’s right: Martinez was nearly pinkyless after breaking the digit while blocking a shot during a game late last week, Sutter told the Los Angeles Times. Read more

NHL’s opening salvo in concussion lawsuit battle with former players a clear case of victim-blaming

Adam Proteau
Bernie Nicholls (Getty Images)

As reported Thursday by TSN, the NHL has made its first significant legal reply in regard to the 2013 lawsuit filed by former players who believe the league seriously mishandled its approach to concussions and head trauma. And one only need give the reply a quick perusal to recognize it as the worst kind of victim blaming.

Filed in November of last year, the players’ lawsuit – now backed by a group of some 40 former NHLers including retired L.A. Kings star Bernie Nicholls and Toronto Maple Leaf Gary Leeman – alleges the league didn’t provide adequate protection from head injuries before a head trauma research committee was formed in 1997, and that, beyond that point, the results of that committee weren’t properly shared among players. Responding via legal documents filed in a Minnesota federal court this week, the NHL contends players forced to retire prematurely due to concussions should have realized on their own the risk they were taking and what could happen to them.

“Publicly available information related to concussions and their long-term effects, coupled with the events that had transpired – i.e., the players incurring head injuries – should have allowed (players) to put two and two together,” the NHL said in court filings obtained by TSN.

So let me get this straight – the league whose commissioner in 2011 said it was premature to link fighting in hockey with chronic traumatic encephalopathy is the same league that’s now saying players ought to have known what was up all along with head trauma in the sport because they should’ve read magazine and newspaper reports the league was questioning the veracity of? Does this make sense to anyone? Read more

Lightning ‘can’t go much longer’ without Victor Hedman: Cooper

Ken Campbell
Victor Hedman

The Tampa Bay Lightning got a welcomed sight Thursday morning when defenseman Victor Hedman joined them for an on-ice workout for the first time in a month. The fact that he took shots for the first time was an even better sign for a team that has weathered the storm well since Hedman left the lineup after breaking the index finger on his right hand in mid-October.

Nobody was happier, perhaps than Hedman himself, than Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team has gone 10-4-1 in his absence.

“I don’t want to throw numbers out but he’s a top-10-slash-top-five defenseman in the NHL,” Cooper said. “You pull the top defenseman from any team in this league and everybody would have issues. We’ve weathered this storm without him, but we can’t go much longer.”

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Pascal Dupuis out six months, career in jeopardy after blood clot in lung

Jared Clinton
Pascal Dupuis

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced winger Pascal Dupuis will miss at least six months with a blood clot in his lung.

The 35-year-old native of Laval, Que., was diagnosed with the clot on Monday after Dupuis said he was feeling discomfort in his chest. Team doctors said they were lucky that Dupuis came to them and that they could catch the clot before any serious damage was done. Read more

Injuries are no excuse, unless you’re the Columbus Blue Jackets

Ken Campbell
(Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

When a team runs into a rash of injuries, it’s easy to say that it creates an opportunity for someone else, that injuries can’t be used as an excuse, that organizations should have enough depth to recover and that everybody just needs to play harder.

And some of those things are true. But then you have the Columbus Blue Jackets, who until recently were losers of nine straight games and currently 10 of their past 12. There’s a time where injuries have to stop being an excuse. But, when you look at it objectively, this is not one of those times. Read more

Former teammate Marc Savard feels Nathan Horton’s pain

Ken Campbell
Nathan Horton  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

If it turns out that this is the last that we’ve seen of Nathan Horton as an NHL player, there will likely be a segment of the population that figures Horton has had it pretty lucky. After all, he played the game he loved at the highest level and has made $38 million doing it, with another $32.1 million coming to him in retirement.

What’s a little back pain when that’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Well, the money is nice, but it won’t replace the void that is created by being robbed of the opportunity to do something you’ve done since you were a child. And nobody knows that better than Horton’s former teammate Marc Savard, whose career was suddenly ended 25 games into the 2010-11 season, largely because of a concussion he sustained on a hit from Matt Cooke the season before. Read more