Flames prospect battles back after surviving blood clot scare

mattpelech1.jpgIt’s not always injuries that occur on the ice that can threaten a player’s career. Sometimes it’s something you don’t realize is there until it’s sometimes too late. Take the case of Calgary Flames. Two years ago, Flames prospect Mickey Renaud died because of a genetic heart condition. This year, prospect Matt Pelech found his road to the NHL slowed down not by an on-ice injury but by a blood clot that put him in the hospital. Vicki Hall of The Calgary Herald outlines his scary story and his road to recovery and rejoining the Flames.

They caught it on a Saturday night in January at the Abbotsford Sport and Entertainment Centre. Pelech was peeling off his equipment in the dressing room after a 4-2 win over Texas.

His defensive partner Keith Aulie gasped.

“Pelly, what’s going on with your arm?”

Pelech looked down. His arm was puffy, swollen and dark blue from the shoulder all the way down to his hand.

Looking back, Pelech remembers feeling his arm go numb in the second period. But he simply figured the funny, tingly sensation came from a pinched nerve or a minor burner.

Hockey players push through pain and discomfort on a nightly basis. This seemed minor. The visual evidence proved otherwise.

Dr. Reg Peters, an emergency room physician, was working the game that night. He took one look at the blue appendage and ordered Pelech to go straight to the Abbotsford hospital.

From there, the medical staff shipped Pelech to a hospital in New Westminster for more tests and a procedure called an AngioJet.

In simple terms, the doctors inserted a sheath into his bicep and sprayed clot-busting material up near the shoulder at the intersection with the first rib.

Didn’t work.

So he hit the road via ambulance again, and headed northbound to Vancouver General Hospital.

Pelech survived the scary ordeal but saw his season get interrupted last year to get fully treated and begin the road to rehabilitation. Hall’s story goes into vastly more detail about what went into helping relieve the blood clot that produced the scary blue arm situation for Pelech. I can’t suggest strongly enough reading the rest of it. For the Flames, this story coming away with a happy ending is a relieving change of pace after what happened to Mickey Renaud.

For Pelech this year, he’s back with the Flames on a one-year, two-way contract which is a great thing. Having to fight his way through to crack the Flames top six on defense might be asking a lot, however. The Flames are set to have Jay Bouwmeester, Cory Sarich, Robyn Regher, Ian White, Steve Staios, Mark Giordano, Adam Pardy and Staffan Kronwall on defense. Ouch. If/when Pelech doesn’t make the Flames, if they want to send him back to the AHL and Abbotsford, they’ll have to put him through waivers to do it. One way or another, Matt Pelech will get to prove his worth on the ice this year instead of in a hospital room and that’s great to see.

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    Colin White makes Senators playoff debut, Penguins lineup the same

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    The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.

    Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.

    After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.

    White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.

    Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.

    * – 21st overall.

    Boucher on Senators’ resiliency: ‘We’ve always chosen to fight’

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    It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.

    We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?

    Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.

    Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.

    Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

    WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators – Game 6

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    Last night, the Nashville Predators demoralized the Ducks and advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final. Will we learn their opponent tonight or on Thursday?

    That’s up to how the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators perform in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

    Will Sidney Crosby and the Penguins follow that 7-0 rout with a close-out performance, or will Erik Karlsson and the Senators avenge that embarrassing loss to send this series to a decisive Game 7?

    Find out on NBCSN at tonight. You can also watch the game online and via the NBC Sports App.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators (Pens lead 3-2)

    Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

    Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

    Check out the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 5

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    Pens redefining defense by committee

    Four things the Pens need to do to eliminate the Sens

    Swedish League champ sees another sign in NHL

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    It’s an offseason of change for SHL champion HV71.

    In the days following the league title, HV71 saw No. 1 goalie Linus Soderstrom sign his ELC with the Isles and d-man Andreas Borgman — the league’s rookie of the year — ink with the Leafs.

    Earlier today, HV71 winger Filip Sandberg signed a two-year deal with San Jose. Shortly after that, Columbus announced it inked Sandberg’s running mate up front, Kevin Stenlund, to a three-year, entry-level deal.

    Stenlund, 20, was the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (58th overall) at the 2015 draft. He’s coming off a good year, setting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played during the regular season, then adding 10 points in 16 playoff appearances.

    And he might have a chance to build on that campaign.

    Per the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets expect Stenlund to play next year in Sweden, rather than try to make the move overseas. It’s possible the Isles could make the same decision with Soderstrom — meaning it’s not all bad for HV71.