Good morning everyone! 26 days until the puck drops and we have some good topics to discuss today.
We start with concussions. The news broke a few days ago that the NFL reached an enormous $765M settlement with nearly 4500 former players in a landmark lawsuit regarding knowledge and treatment of head injuries. The Hockey Writers explore whether that settlement will have an impact on the NHL, another league in which concussions are a major issue.
This was just an introduction for the major story on tap today. Last week during the Olympic Orientation Camp for team Canada, Sidney Crosby gave a lengthy, candid interview to the CBC's Peter Mansbridge that aired last night in Canada. You can watch the interview here. It may just be the best 15 minutes you spend today. Sid is very candid in his description of debilitating symptoms, thoughts of never playing hockey again that swirled in his mind, and how the biggest thing the unconventional treatment in Atlanta gave him was hope. They touch on a lot of issues that do with head injuries and how difficult to diagnose and treat they are, and he speaks honestly and openly about his own gloomy experience. He also knocks on wood about his current situation, and I thought again and again how amazingly fortunate it was that he was able to take all the time he needed to recover, and then take the ice again and be the best player in the world we knew him to be. Sid was a great kid, and now he's just a great guy, a terrific man with an incredibly normal head on his shoulders.
After the summer during which he became a considerably richer guy and will finally earn proper pay for proper play, our Super Duper is back in the Burgh with the family and the menagerie. He said his confidence was bolstered when he remained on Crosby's line (this is what they refer to it, btw, Crosby's line, no catchy acronyms) even after they brought in the future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla.
What does the future hold for Marc-Andre Fleury? Probably the biggest question of all. For one, Sidney Crosby believes in Flower. He says it was hard for all of them to see the sky fall on Flower this year, but he thinks Flower will have a good year. We all hope so.
Dave Molinari is back from vacation and that's great. He catches up with the Penguin that
flew waddled back to the fold, Rob Scuderi, who is excited about people being excited about hockey in Pittsburgh. It's great to have Scuds back, because now I can go back to watching game 7 of 2009 SCF and not feeling the pang of his not being around any more. Let's hope he's still the same old Scuds.
Around the NHL, Brian Burke is rumored to be in talks with the Calgary Flames regarding a position in their front office.
Niklas Hjalmarsson agreed on a 5-year extension with the Blackhawks worth $4.1M annually. He has one year left on his current deal that carries a cap hit of $3.5M. Great deal for the Hawks, keeping the quality defenseman around for the next 6 years.
Tuukka Rask is back in Beantown and eager to resume his career that, he hopes, is still ascending. Last summer he signed a 1-year $3.5M deal, played out of his mind in the playoffs, and parlayed that into a shiny new 8-year $56M contract. I'm curious to see if and how that affects his play. Will he be still be their rock, or will the story assume a Bryzgalovian scenario?