It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the playoffs, the speculation surrounding the draft, and the offseason's looming trades and signings. But TSN's report on a program being put together by the NHL and NHLPA brought attention to a different aspect of the game—what happens when it's over. The program focuses on assisting players in going back to school and adjusting to life after they hang up their skates.
Here's how NHLPA exec Mathieu Schneider explained it.
"What we are trying to do is create a program that would encourage guys to go back to school and take courses during the year, whether it's high school that they haven't finished, or college courses," said Schneider, adding that players spend parts of nine months every year on the road. "Guys aren't given the tools.
"From the time they are 13, 14, 15 years old, their sport defines them and it becomes their entire life. It becomes, 'You have to focus on your sport until you retire and make the most of it.' That mentality is starting to change."
This news follows the recent death of former NHL defenseman Steve Montador, who suffered from CTE. Daniel Carcillo, a teammate of Montador's on the Chicago Blackhawks, called out the NHLPA for not doing enough to help retired players, and Schneider acknowledges Carcillo's criticism.
"Up until now we haven't figured out how to help those guys, no question about it," he said. "In the past, programs have been thrown together in a way that hasn't necessarily used the funds in the most efficient way possible. We're trying to make the most of the funds we have right now."
Although some players go on to successful careers as coaches or analysts—or other vocations entirely—there are just as many who struggle to adjust to a life without hockey, especially when chronic injury or CTE come in to play. A program like this is a good step forward in preventing players from slipping through the cracks. [TSN]
Did y'all know there's a new hockey comedy headed to IFC this fall? It's called Benders, and Denis O'Leary is an executive producer. Just FYI.
But back to real hockey—Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final is tonight. Presumably, Ben Bishop will be back in net for the Lightning because he's fine, totally fine, nothing to see here. (The post-series unveiling of injuries from both sides is going to be a doozy.) In the hours before puck drop, catch up on the state of things. [NHL.com]
Again, since Bishop is totally fine, the Bolts don't have anything to worry about in net. If you did, however, want to know about teams that have dealt with goalie injuries in previous Finals, you should read this piece from Sean McIndoe. [Grantland]
On the Stars front, Mike Heika takes a look at five goaltenders who are free agents and might be of use to the team. Antti Niemi and Ray Emery are among the names mentioned. [Dallas Morning News]
And while we're on the subject of Dallas goalies, Jussi Rynnas is expected to sign in the KHL. [Pro Hockey Talk]
According to a report from Finnish outlet Italehti, #DallasStars/#TXStars G Jussi Rynas will sign with Ak Bars Kazan. #KHL— Fedor Fedin (@FedFedRMNB) June 9, 2015
For your daily draft fix, the folks over at Today's Slapshot have a Dallas Stars Draft Preview up. [Today's Slapshot]
In former Stars news, Erik Cole won't be re-signed by the Red Wings. Cole was sidelined in early April with a spine contusion, which prompted some speculation about his chances of returning at all next year. [The Score]
Someone, somewhere is still thinking that the Los Angeles Kings are going to make the playoffs. Katie Strang breaks down what went wrong with the reigning champs and unpacks the issues surrounding Slava Voynov and Jarret Stoll. [ESPN]
Katie Baker takes a look at how the postseason brings the past, present, and future of hockey together. [Grantland]
Pierre LeBrun reported that the Pittsburgh Penguins have expressed interested in Chicago's Brandon Saad. He goes on to say it's unlikely the Blackhawks let the RFA get away, but mentions that the forward is one of the league's top offer sheet candidates. [ESPN]
Blackhawks beat writer Mark Lazerus shut down that rumor a little more forcefully.
Of course, they want him. Who wouldn't? #Blackhawks will re-sign Saad, offer sheets be damned. https://t.co/fGu4SRx7xi— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 10, 2015
As expected, the Detroit Red Wings hired Jeff Blashill to replace Mike Babcock as the team's head coach. Chris Chelios is rumored to be another potential addition to the staff. [MLive]
Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney said the team is "open for business" regarding offers to trade for its No. 3 pick in this year's draft. But before you get your hopes up, know he has a hefty price tag in mind.
Maloney on what it might take to wrestle that No. 3 pick away from the Coyotes: "First born."— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) June 9, 2015
Maloney might have a few other issues to worry about—Glendale is holding a special meeting to discuss canceling its agreement with the Coyotes. [NHL]
And finally, NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus (not to be confused the aforementioned beat writer Mark Lazerus, who probably had a long day on Twitter) has found himself in the, er, crosshairs after he expressed his dislike for hockey players' playoff beards. I'd hate to hear his opinion on Patrick Kane's mullet. [The Big Lead]