While all the chaos and drama in the NHL is once again focused on the Ottawa Senators, the rest of the league still has a few interesting news and tidbits for us to follow:
- The tragic death of Adam Johnson has sparked a conversation about neckguards once again. It seems the NHL and NHLPA are starting to look into ways to avoid another tragedy from ever happening. While still in the early stages, and I don't see a full neck protection mandate happening right away, it's a long overdue conversation and it's unfortunate that it took the death of a player for it to be taken seriously.
- Unlike the NHL, the WHL is not taking any more chances. As of Friday, all WHL players will have to wear neck protection. Exceptions will be made for teams who can't get the required equipment in time.
- It was only a few days ago that Joe Thornton announced he was retiring from the NHL. Now, he's back in the hockey limelight in a very different role. Hockey Canada has recruited Jumbo Joe to the management team of the Spengler Cup.
- Speaking of retirements, Paul Stastny has announced his retirement from the NHL after 17 years.
- The Washington Capitals have not looked great so far this season and they have just been dealt a pretty unfortunate blow. Nicklas Backstrom has decided to "step away" from the game to deal with an ongoing hip injury. There is no indication for how long this break will be, or if retirement is in the future for him, but at 35 years old with an injury that has given him so much trouble in past seasons, the writing might be on the wall.
- While the Boston Bruins have often gotten away with their hard hitting rough ways, the NHL took exception to Charlie McAvoy's latest offense. He has been suspended 4 games for his illegal hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
- The game of hockey can be tough on its players. Some manage to get through in generally good shape but others are forced to end their dreams far too soon. That's the case for Charlottetown Islanders associate captain Lane Hinkley who at 19 years of age has announced his retirement from hockey. After doctors found significant legions and scars on his brain scans already putting him at risk for CTE and early dementia; Hinkley had to see his hockey career cut short. We can only hope that he can find ways to heal those injuries and is able to enjoy a long and healthy life outside the sport.