Just when we'd all hoped it was over...there's more.
I couldn't believe it when I saw all the links saying "KHL crash"---you knew it couldn't be good. And it isn't. Even though it happened to members of what is basically the NHL's bitter international rival, some good people who were once (and always will be) members of the NHL family were on board that plane. I heard Tomas Vokoun was "very distraught" at Kettler today when he heard the news. He was upset because Karlis Skrastins, a good friend and teammate of his for so many years in Nashville was on board that plane.
So were Brad McCrimmon, Pavol Demitra, and Ruslan Salei, all three with their own storied careers.
I remember each of them---McCrimmon led the league in plus-minus in 1988, Demitra was a dazzling forward with St. Louis and Vancouver, and Salei the hard hitting Belarussian defenseman for Anaheim.
This makes me sick....but I had to say something. You don't just let something like this pass without paying some respects. The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team is now decimated, yet will somehow find a way to continue if I know hockey, however. Though a hockey season seems to be a secondary concern now. My heart goes out to the families of all those who lost their lives.
I'm sorry...I'm not prone to free writing like this, but I suppose despite the distance it's hitting a lot closer to home than you'd think. Because hockey players are family...even on opposing teams. That's why the most noble traditions in all sport---the end-of-series playoff handshake--exists. That's one of the many things that makes the game so great, and why we love the game and those who play it so damn much.
And so I'll end with this...make the most of the time with your family. Because you just never know....and this past offseason has proven that in spades. I believe hockey teaches valuable lessons and this is no different. I just wish it wasn't so costly.