More reaction to the sudden death of Wade Belak…van Riemsdyk’s contract could be a template for Dallas’s Jamie Benn…Why Dustin Byfuglien’s arrest for BWI isn’t a laughing matter…A look at the Senators offense for this coming season…Ten reason Lubomir Visnovsky wasn’t a nominee for the Norris last season…Is the Rangers defense too young?
RAW CHARGE: Cassie McClellan examines the effects of depression and drugs upon hockey players and everyone else, offering up excellent advice and suggestions on identifying depression, addiction and how to seek help.
HOCKEY WILDERNESS: “nathaneide” posts an anonymous post from a reader who suffers from depression, providing invaluable insight into the condition.
COPPER & BLUE: Derek Zona wisely advises pundits, bloggers and fans to avoid jumping to conclusions regarding concussions, suicides and CTEs in the wake of Wade Belak’s suicide.
PUCK DADDY: Justin Bourne with a fascinating first-person account on the difficulties some players face adjusting to life after hockey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many in the hockey community are trying to come to grips with the recent deaths of Belak, Rick Rypien, Derek Boogaard and Tom Cavanagh. It’s understandable we all want answers, or to find fault, or to lash out, or to find a magical solution which will ensure more players don’t suffer as those players did, leaving behind grieving families and bewildered teammates. As I’ve said elsewhere, there aren’t any easy answers. It’s up to the NHL and NHLPA to do the best they can to address these issues, determine if there was more that could’ve been done, and try to ensure they can provide the best available help for players present and past, and to let those players know it’s okay to seek help, to remove the stigma of perceived weakness that dogs those who suffer from depression or addiction.
DEFENDING BIG D: Brandon Worley makes a good case for the possibility of Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn using the recent new six year, $25.5 million contract of Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk as a template. Worley points out Benn was a better player than van Riemsdyk over the same period of time. He feels once the Stars ownership situation is finally sorted out, a Benn contract extension will be announced soon afterward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Worley makes a great case for Benn, who hasn’t received as much publicity as van Riemsdyk, but he certainly has been a better player over that period than the young Flyers forward. If he continues that trend this season, he’ll be in line for perhaps more than van Riemsdyk.
DEADSPIN: Barry Petchesky doesn’t find it very funny that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was arrested for boating while intoxicated, especially the fact most who comments on the arrest obsessed over Byfuglien’s weight. Petchesky suggests it’s a sign of poor decision-making by the blueliner, and points out this story could’ve turned out much worse.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I first heard about Byfuglien’s weight as a separate rumor, and had a bit of a chuckle over it until I heard the full story. Suddenly, his weight issue was irrelevant. I’m not suggesting Byfuglien has a drinking problem or is suffering from depression, but Petchesky raises a good point about the poor judgement Byfuglien demonstrated, first by being intoxicated while boating, and then doubling down by refusing a breathalyzer. If convicted, this could make it difficult for him to travel between Canada and the United States this season.
SILVER SEVEN: “DarrenM” examines the Senators offense for this coming season, and doesn’t expect to see much of an increase as the team rebuilds with youth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could also suffer if Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek are waylaid by injuries again. They’ll need those three to stay healthy over the course of the season as they’ll be the ones carrying the bulk of the offensive load.
BATTLE OF CALIFORNIA: Earl Sleek offers up a tongue-in-cheek list of ten reasons why Anaheim Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky wasn’t a finalist for the Norris trophy last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe reason number ten was the deciding factor!
HOCKEYBUZZ.COM: Jan Levine examines the Rangers defense corps to determine if there’s any justification to the criticism its youth could be its weakness.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That youth could be a weakness, but if Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto can continue to develop, it might not be an issue.