Thursday, May 3, 2012

Malcolm Gladwell is the renowned author of, among other works, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw. In Outliers, one of the things he writes about is the advantage presented to athletes born in the first part of the year. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look, as are any of his books.
Gladwell also writes for The New Yorker, which is where you will find his essay titled Offensive Play: How different are dogfighting and football?
If you haven’t read it, it’s right here. In it, Gladwell writes extensively about concussions and football.
Anyway . . . Gladwell recently was interviewed by Kathy Waldman for Slate.
In one question, Waldman asked: “What do you think is the single most compelling reason to abolish college football? Corruption? Head injury? Lost focus on academics?”
Gladwell replied: “The factor that I think will be decisive is the head-injury issue. Colleges are going to get sued, and they will have to decide whether they can afford their legal exposure.”
I’m sorry fight fans, but that also is a decision that hockey teams and leagues are going to have to deal with if they don’t act to abolish fighting.
There was tragic news on Wednesday with former NFL linebacker Junior Seau having been found dead in his Oceanside, Calif., home, an apparent suicide victim. Seau, just 43 and a sure-fire Hall of Famer, apparently died of a gunshot wound to his chest. That fact immediately had people jumping to conclusions as they assumed he wanted to preserve his head in order for it to be examined in a search for CTE.
This situation is eerily similar to that involving Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears safety, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest in February 2011.
The Associated Press reported: “Duerson's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL, claiming the league didn't do enough to prevent or treat concussions that severely damaged Duerson's brain before he died in February 2011.”
Seau is the eighth player off the roster of the San Diego Chargers who played in the 1994 Super Bowl to have died. All eight weren’t yet 45 when they died.
But it is far too early to be jumping to conclusions about Seau. So let’s just allow the process to play itself out and then we’ll see what’s what.
Seau had a tremendous career, having playing in two Super Bowls and having been selected to 12 straight Pro Bowls. He was an All-Pro on six occasions. Yes, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Mike Lopresti of USA Today takes a look at Wednesday in the NFL right here.
It was Adam Hughesman Day in Kennewick, Wash., on Tuesday, as proclaimed by Mayor Steve Young. Hughesman, who just completed his fifth and final season with the Tri-City Americans, shed a tear or two as he was presented with a key to the city.
Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald has more right here.
F Brendan Shinnimin, Hughesman’s linemate with the Americans, picked up two trophies at the WHL awards ceremony in Calgary yesterday. For a look at all the winners, visit the WHL website.
The transfer of the AJHL’s St. Albert Steel to Whitecourt, Alta., has been unanimously approved. The AJHL’s board of governors met Wednesday in Red Deer and approved the request by Greg Parks, who is the owner/GM and head coach of the Steel. . . . Whitecourt, with a population of around 14,000, is 175 km northwest of St. Albert. The Whitecourt Wolverines will play in the Scott Safety Centre, which seats around 1,000.
The ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads won’t renew Hardy Sauter’s contract as head coach. Sauter, a former WHL player and coach, spent two seasons as Idaho’s head coach, going 63-59-22 and getting to a conference semifinal each time. . . .
Todd Gordon won’t be returning as head coach of the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. The team made that announcement this week. Gordon had been head coach since 2009-10, the franchise’s first season. . . .
The BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters have added Brent Heaven to their staff as an assistant coach. He spent the last six seasons with the junior B Castlergar Rebels and Creston Valley Thunder Cats, both of whom play in the Kootenay International junior league. He has worked as an assistant coach, head coach and GM. . . . This season, he guided the Thunder Cats to a 30-17-0-5 record. . . . In Trail, he will work alongside GM/head coach Bill Birks. . . .
Dane Litke has resigned as head coach of the NAHL’s Janesville Jets. He had been head coach since the birth of the franchise in May 2009. He was the NAHL’s coach of the year for 2009-10. . . .
Andrew Verner is the new goaltending coach with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He takes over from Ron Tugnutt, who chose to leave the Petes in order to focus on his position as Hockey Canada’s goaltending consultant. Verner, who ended his pro career two years ago, and Tugnutt are former Petes goaltenders.
Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 30 Thoughts always is a good read and this week is no exception. It’s right here.
During this season, the BCHL asked fans to vote on the top player from each decade of its history.
“In November, the top 50 players in BCHL history were revealed as voted by the fans,” reads a BCHL news release. “There were 10 players chosen from each of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. From those groups, more fan voting was held to determine the top player of each decade.”
Here are the final results, as released by the BCHL, with the runner-up in parentheses:
1960s – F Bob Nystrom, Kamloops Rockets (F Eric Shishido, Kamloops Rockets).
1970s – F Chad Campbell, Penticton Broncos (G Andy Moog, Kamloops Braves, Penticton Vees).
1980s – F Brett Hull, Penticton Knights (F Mark Recchi, Langley Eagles).
1990s – F Paul Kariya, Penticton Panthers (F Shane Kuss, South Surrey Eagles).
2000s – G Brad Thiessen, Penticton Panthers/Vees, Prince George Spruce Kings, Merritt Centennials (D Duncan Keith, Penticton Panthers).

The WHL’s championship final begins tonight in Edmonton with the Oil Kings meeting the Portland Winterhawks.
For a preview, tune in to Oilers NOW with Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED out of Edmonton this afternoon at 1:30 MT (12:30 PT). You’ll hear Stauffer, Cam Moon, the radio voice of the Red Deer Rebels, and yours truly taking a look at the WHL’s final series.
Here are the dates for the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup (all times local):
Thursday, May 3: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Friday, May 4: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 6: at Portland (Rose Garden), 6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 8: at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
x-Thursday, May 10: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, May 12: at Portland (Rose Garden), 6 p.m.
x-Sunday, May 13: at Edmonton, 6 p.m.

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