one week and another: haven’t really looked at it as a concussion

In The Paint: Montreal’s Classic Auctions closed out another big sale last week. Big-money items included a 1980 Miracle-On-Ice U.S.A. number-23 sweater worn by Rob McClanahan (sold for US$$86,220, including a buyer’s premium); four different gold-and-diamond Stanley Cup rings of Billy Smith’s (one of which went for US$ $36,563); a Herb Cain game-worn woolen number-four Bruins’ sweater (US$25,937); and one of Andy Warhol’s iconic 1984 “Wayne Gretzky #99” screenprints signed by both artist and subject (US$$8,249). Also on the block was this 1964 oil painting by brushtender Jacques Plante. Bidding started at US$300 with the final price climbing to US$2,014.

In The Paint: Montreal’s Classic Auctions closed out another big sale last week. Big-money items included a 1980 Miracle-On-Ice U.S.A. number-23 sweater worn by Rob McClanahan (sold for US$$86,220, including a buyer’s premium); four different gold-and-diamond Stanley Cup rings of Billy Smith’s (one of which went for US$ $36,563); a Herb Cain game-worn woolen number-four Bruins’ sweater (US$25,937); and one of Andy Warhol’s iconic 1984 “Wayne Gretzky #99” screenprints signed by both artist and subject (US$$8,249). Also on the block was this 1964 oil painting by brushtender Jacques Plante. Bidding started at US$300 with the final price climbing to US$2,014.

Carey Price is 6 foot 3, reported The Globe and Mail’s Sean Gordon, and his thighs are as stout as 50-year-old timber.

From Stan Butler, who coaches the OHL’s Brampton Battalion, came a tweet last week:

In hockey Choking equals Poor Preparation plus Low Self Confidence. #mentalpreparation

Evgeni Malkin told Sport Express about some of the keys to the success he’s been enjoying in his ninth NHL season. Language was one of them: as soon as English ceased to be a problem, he said, came “looseness and confidence.” Also, he has a good Russian cook now, who prepares soups and pancakes. His fridge, now, is filled with “tasty and familiar food, not the typical American chips and stuff.”

“Thank God,” said Malkin, “all is well and I am happy in life.”

When, last week, Philadelphia GM Ron Hextall traded a defenceman, Kimmo Timonen, to Chicago’s Blackhawks, he said that he was sending them not just a skilled and experienced player, “but a damn good person, too.”

“I’m comfortable and strong,” said Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf.

An entomologist who discovered a new species of wasp in Kenya’s Teita Hills of Kenya, being a Bruins fans, named it Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski, writes Carolyn Y. Johnson of The Boston Globe. And so Tuukka Rask —

who won the 2014 Vézina Trophy as the best goalie in the National Hockey League — will have the unusual honor of a callout in the scientific journal Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae.

“This species is named after the acrobatic goaltender for the Finnish National ice hockey team and the Boston Bruins, whose glove hand is as tenacious as the raptorial fore tarsus of this dryinid species,” the authors wrote in the paper, which has been accepted and will be published in April.

Robert S. Copeland, an entomologist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi who grew up in Newton, said naming this particular wasp after Rask reflected his admiration for a player who has “had an outstanding career in one of the most difficult positions in sports.”

The name also fit for other reasons. The project that led to the discovery of the species was underwritten by the government of Finland, Rask’s home country. The wasp is yellowish and black, similar to the Bruins’ colors. The grasping front legs of the female have claspers that look vaguely like goalie gloves.

Alert: if you happen to be browsing Player Bios filed by the Detroit Red Wings, and you come across captain Henrik Zetterberg’s he does not, in fact, collect smoke-detectors. The actual wording is this:

OTHER: Hosts guests from local children’s hospitals at DRW home games in his Zetterberg Foundation Suite… Serves as the team spokesperson for the annual smoke detector collection…Scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 2008.

Last month, while Michal Neuvirth was still a goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres, he paid US$2,000 to dive and embellish his distress after Nashville’s Mike Santorelli took a penalty for running into him. Neuvirth, who was trade on Monday to New York’s Islanders, is the first goaltender to pay the price, apparently; he’ll pay more if he does it again, says the NHL, up to a maximum of $5,000.

Headline on an NBC Sports item ahead of Detroit’s game in Anaheim Monday last:

Zetterberg (Jamie Benn head punch) doubtful for tonight

Two days earlier in Dallas it happened, during the second period of a 7-6 win by the Red Wings. Benn took a roughing minor for the punch; Zetterberg played on until the end of the period and missed the third.

Of the game, Pavel Datsyuk said, “We play not really good today. We happy we win.”

Regarding Zetterberg, reporters in a scrum that included Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News asked coach Mike Babcock whether his captain might have a concussion. “Yeah,” he said, “I don’t really know that. I didn’t talk to the guys. Let’s just say he’s got an upper-body injury and I don’t know if he’s fine tomorrow or not fine tomorrow, so we’ll see him tomorrow. We’ll practice tomorrow and then play the following day, so we’ll see where he’s at.”

“You go through this whole range of feelings when things aren’t going well,” said Cam Neely, president of the Boston Bruins, for whom he once used to skate the wing. The team’s season, if you haven’t been paying attention, has been lacklustrous. “I’ve been frustrated. I’ve had some anger tossed in there. And now, for the first time, I’ve landed on disappointed.”

Detroit GM Ken Holland: “He got punched in the head, didn’t feel great after the game, so anytime you have any kind of head injury, you don’t feel good and we’re not going to put you in the lineup.”

From Ken Dryden, writing in this month’s Walrus about Scotland’s referendum, tells of visiting the house in Harwick, in Scotland, that his ancestors left in 1834 to come to Canada. A man named Norman Huggan lives there now; afterwards, Dryden went to a local pub called the Waverley.

Longtime NHL referee (ret’d) Kerry Fraser wrote about Benn’s punch in his column on TSN.ca, specifically the question of why wasn’t the Stars’ captain punished with more than the merest minor penalty.

Historically and currently a punching motion with the hand or fist, with or without the glove on the hand, normally directed at the head of an opponent is roughing. Roughing is a minor altercation that is not worthy of a major penalty to either participant. (An altercation is a situation involving two players with at least one to be penalized). A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who strikes an opponent with his hand or fist. (Rule 51.1)

In reviewing this altercation that resulted from a Detroit end zone face-off, the initial push-off and subsequent glove punch that Jamie Benn administered to the head/helmet of Henrik Zetterberg fell completely within the parameters of this roughing rule. The altercation began as a result of Zetterberg tying up Benn with a stick between the legs and a left-hand shoulder wrap after the Stars captain won the draw back toward the top of the face-off circle.

Benn attempted a ‘crow-hop’ to break free from Zetterberg’s restraint/interference to get to the front of the net without success. As the shot and eventual save was made by Jimmy Howard, Benn created separation with a forearm push and subsequent glove punch to the lower right side of Zetterberg’s helmet. Unless there is a change in the rule and operating procedure, this play will continue to be enforced as a minor penalty for roughing.

Calgary’s Brian Burke, leonine President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames, took to Twitter last week to clear up any misconceptions you might have about his feelings on the fancier stats: “I embrace analytics as part of our broader system to assess talent and build our team, any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

Keith Gave from Fox Sports Detroit talked to GM Holland. “There’s still 24 games to go,” he said. “There’s a lot of hockey left. I talked to Zetterberg and basically said forget about the standings. At the end of the day, the attitude of our training staff and me as a manager — when you’re dealing with people’s heads — we’re going to err on the side of caution.”

“I’m not in the habit of standing in front of 400 neurologists and telling them how to do their job,” former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter said last week, while standing in front of a panel at New York University’s Langone Medical Center called “Concussion in Sport: The Latest in Diagnosis and Management.” He did discuss the “life-altering” concussions that ended his career a decade ago. “The frustrating aspect from both a medical staff’s perspective and an athlete’s is there’s not a lot of metrics associated with this injury,” he said.

About 70 former NHLers have a concussion lawsuit pending that the league is hoping to see dismissed. “Although Richter said he doesn’t know enough about the NHL lawsuit to comment,” writes Pat Leonard of The New York Daily News,

he did put forth this opinion from personal experience: “People who say (every player) knows what they signed up for, that’s absolute nonsense. I only know about concussions because I went through one. The average person has no clue what it’s like recovering from it, how devastating it can be. But the reason is we haven’t had the studies behind it.”

Zetterberg told The Free Press that he’d never had a concussion before, so why start now? “I haven’t really looked at it as a concussion,” he said. “Until the symptoms go away, I have to take it easy. I rode a bike a little bit yesterday. Hopefully, I can do the same today.”

In California, OC Weekly talked to Brian Talbert and Mike Hammer, two of the three guys who founded a company called Violent Gentlemen in 2012, at a time when the third guy, George Parros, was playing for Anaheim’s Ducks. The company, one of Orange County’s “fastest growing clothing brands,” sells t-shirts and fleeces and leggings and beanies and ballcaps, and business hasn’t suffered since Parros and his moustache retired from the NHL this past December. But:

Talbert and Hammer still get disapproving looks sometimes from people who don’t understand the name of their brand.

“There’s a big difference between ‘violence’ and ‘violent’ that people don’t understand,” Talbert says. “A violent gentleman is someone who might be aggressive when they need to be, like on the ice or in any sport, but then is the kind of guy that will help someone up if they get knocked down. Sometimes people get caught up on ‘violent,’ and we’re just begging them to get to the second word.”

Toronto traded winger Daniel Winnik to Pittsburgh last week, but he didn’t know when he’d be able to get there. “The process has to work itself out,” he said, waiting on a visa. “You get to Pittsburgh when you can.”

What did Zetterberg think about having been Bennpunched? “I think, when you’re in the game, you’re in the game,” Helene St. James from The Detroit Free Press heard him say. “It is a battle sport, you’re in battle all the time. Once I went into the room and got away from the ice a little bit, I realized I (wasn’t) the way I was supposed to be, and we decided to not play anymore.”

Did he mind that the NHL didn’t look at it? “I don’t think it was that bad. He just got me in a bad spot.”

Flyers’ coach Craig Berube said that his team needed to prevent the Columbus Blue Jackets from cycling the puck like last game. What Philadelphia needed was better puck support.

“I feel like it hasn’t changed since Saturday,” Zetterberg told The Detroit Free Press as the week went on, re: being Benn-punched headwise. “Hopefully, I feel better soon. I thought I would be better, but unfortunately, I am not.”

He was, quote, avoiding standing in bright light.

Reporters wondered: any headaches? “I have some symptoms that I don’t have when I’m a hundred per cent. Until those symptoms go away, we’ve just got to take it easy.”

From Bill Roose at DetroitRedWings.com, Thursday last:

Zetterberg, who has spoken to the media now twice since last Saturday, has not elaborated on what symptoms have bothered him. Whether it’s headaches, dizziness, nausea, or even amnesia, Zetterberg isn’t saying.

“I got little symptoms still,” he said, “but it’s significantly better than last time.”

Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf posited that Alex Ovechkin of Washington is a diver.

“I didn’t know he was going to dive tonight the way he did all over the fucking ice. That part of it’s a little embarrassing, pardon my language. He’s a great player. He’s going to score goals and make plays. That other stuff’s embarrassing,”

Friday, The Detroit News:

Zetterberg skates for first time since head punching

“I’d hoped to be back a few days before, but obviously it’s fun to be able to be on the ice again and be allowed to be on the ice again,” he told Helene St. James. “Just got to see how I respond to this and take it from there.”

Ottawa defenceman Jared Cowen paid US$113,464.64 to hit a Florida forward, Jussi Jokinen, late. “I’m disappointed,” Cowen said after the NHL suspended him for a trice of games for his troubles. “Three games is a bit much. I’m trying to be a physical player out there and do my job. If I don’t do that I’m not in the lineup. To do that, you’ve got to play on the edge. That’s what I was doing. I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. It’s a bit over the top but there’s nothing I can do about.”

99“I have known Patrick Brown for a number of years now,” Wayne Gretzky said. “Patrick is a strong Conservative.”

“He has some chips floating around,” Detroit’s Ken Holland was saying on the subject of defenceman Kyle Quincey’s ailing foot and whether it needs surgery or not. “He’s played a bunch of years with them.”

The Red Wings traded for Dallas winger Erik Cole. Arriving to join his new team, Keith Gave reported,

the first thing he did was deliver an important message.

It came from the captain of his former team, Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, to the captain of his new team, Henrik Zetterberg. Cole was acquired for two draft picks a few hours before Monday’s deadline.

“He sent me with an apology,” Cole told reporters after his first practice with the Wings. “I told Z this morning.”

Bulletin from Detroit: this afternoon, Wednesday, from Ansar Khan of mlive.com:

DETROIT — Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will be back in the lineup tonight when the team returns home after six games on the road, hosting the New York Rangers (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network only).

Zetterberg missed four games with a head injury after being punched and elbowed by the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn on Feb. 21. He will center a line with Justin Abdelkader and newly acquired Erik Cole.