Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two Rangers Prospects Win Player of Week Honors

Christian Thomas had a poor start to the 2011-12 season, but the 20010 second round pick was on fire last week with three goals and six assists in just two games for the Oshawa Generals.  That performance was good enough to land Thomas the Ontario Hockey League Player of the Week award.  With the huge week Thomas now has 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points in 20 games so far this season.

Not to be outdone was 2011 fourth round pick Michael St. Croix was announced as the Western Hockey League's Player of the Week.  St. Croix racked up eight points, three goals and five assists in three wins for his Edmonton Oil Kings.  St. Croix continues his tremendous season now amassing 16 goals and 25 assists in 29 games for the Oil Kings.

Rangers Toy Drive Today 4-7 P.M.

The New York Rangers do an excellent job with their community outreach for those less fortunate whether it be the Garden of Dreams, the annual coat drive or the Rangers annual Toy drive which is today.  The collection drive will be held at Madison Square Garden in the Theater Lobby from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m..   Bringing a new, unwrapped toy to the event, fans will be able to get an autograph with current Rangers players who will be in attendance along with Rangers legend Adam Graves.

From information collected from those who have done this before the current players are divided into two per hour session and one toy is required for each hour you want to get an autograph, so bring three toys if you want to participate in all three hours.

Well worth a few dollars to help out those less fortunate this holiday season and spend a few moments with the players from the team you love.

Do Findings Inside Boogaard's Change Debate On Fighting In Hockey?

There is a constant debate amongst some surrounding the game of hockey about the need for and viability of fighting within the sport.  The detractors argue that most who predominantly fight would not otherwise be in the league, while the supporters talk about how it has always been a part of the sport and that fighting can have a purpose within a game.  That debate might be changing more and more with the results of testing on Derek Boogaard’s brain.  Boogaard, who died this past May, was a player who made his living in hockey as a fighter, enforcer and tough player.

Today in Part III of “Punched Out” John Branch at the New York Times reports that the way Boogaard made his living in hockey could have significantly contributed to the condition his brain was in when he died.
Boogaard had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as C.T.E., a close relative of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head. It can be diagnosed only posthumously, but scientists say it shows itself in symptoms like memory loss, impulsiveness, mood swings, even addiction.  
There is no way to know if Boogaard's addiction issues and change in mood that ultimately played a factor in his untimely passing were a result of this disease directly, but it does add more dimensions to the discussion.  Obviously Boogaard is not the first brain of a professional athlete to show this disorder manifesting itself, but he was by far the youngest and that is the most startling development of the study on his brain.
The scientists on the far end of the conference call told the Boogaard family that they were shocked to see so much damage in someone so young. It appeared to be spreading through his brain.  Had Derek Boogaard lived, they said, his condition likely would have worsened into middle-age dementia.
Does that change the equilibrium on the role of fighting in the NHL?  While one result should not be the defining opinion it is tough to argue with the comments from Dr. Robert Cantu of Boston University.
"However, based on the small sample of enforcers we have studied, it is possible that frequently engaging in fist fights as a hockey player may put one at increased risk for this degenerative brain disease," said Dr. Robert Cantu, co-director of the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE).
Regardless of these results fighting still has a place in the sport of hockey, but maybe the role of fighter/enforcer needs to be done away with for the well-being of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to help their team, even if their brains suffer for it.  The Boogaard family donated Derek's brain to science for the rest of us to better learn how what he did impacts the chemistry of the human brain, so let us take the information and learn from it.

Leafs' Phaneuf Crushes Rangers' Sauer With Huge Hit (w/ video)

During the third period of Monday night's game between the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, Leafs' captian Dion Phaneuf leveled Rangers' defenseman Michael Sauer with a huge hit along the boards.  Sauer was pinching down from the point to keep the play alive and try to get the Rangers the tying goal when Phaneuf stepped up and destroyed him.  Sauer did not return to the game and no update is likely on him until tomorrow as the Rangers are off today.  Tough to see Sauer get nailed like that, but a perfectly clean hit by Phaneuf that must be kept in the game.

Here's the video: