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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    Condon keeps standing on his head for Sens, this time sinking Sharks

    SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 07:  Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators makes a save on a shot taken by Mikkel Boedker #89 of the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on December 7, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Chris Kelly scored with 1:06 remaining and Jean-Gabriel Pageau added an empty-net goal, giving the Ottawa Senators a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.

    Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson also scored for the Senators, who beat the Sharks for a fifth straight time. They’ve won three straight in San Jose for the first time ever.

    Logan Couture and Brent Burns scored for the Sharks, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

    Mike Condon stopped 35 of 37 shots for the Sens. The Sharks outshot Ottawa 18-4 in the third period, and Martin Jones allowed three goals on 16 shots overall.

    The Senators struck quickly, recording a power-play goal less than four minutes into the contest. Mike Hoffman tossed the puck toward the net and it bounced off Burns’ skate. Burns lost sight of it and Stone picked it up, firing past everybody into the net.

    Hoffman has a point in six straight games and in eight of nine since missing a pair of contests with an injury.

    Karlsson made it 2-0 with a goal about four minutes later. Sharks defender Brendan Dillon tried clearing it from in front of the net, but Karlsson was right there to fire it to the high glove side.

    Couture got the Sharks on the board with a power-play goal midway through the second period. The Senators cleared the puck two straight possessions before Joe Pavelski rushed to the net and then slipped the puck to an open Couture, who has six goals in his past eight games, about 10 feet away for the score.

    Burns tied the score 6:30 into the third period, methodically working the puck to set up a shot that squeezed past Condon to the glove side.

    NOTES: Senators D Marc Methot missed his fourth straight contest with a lower body injury. … Stone has eight points in his last six games. … Karlsson has nine points in his last five games. … The Sharks recalled F Kevin LeBlanc and D Mirco Mueller. Mueller was a healthy scratch. … Sharks D Paul Martin recorded his 300th NHL point with an assist on Burns’ goal.

    UP NEXT:

    Senators: Continue a four-game trip at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

    Sharks: Travel to Anaheim for a game Friday night and then return home to face Carolina on Saturday night.

    ‘If he was in Toronto, there’d be no Carey Price, media-wise’ – Boudreau on Dubnyk

    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07:  Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild celbrates a win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on April 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 2-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    The Minnesota Wild aren’t exactly dominating the NHL, so it might be easy to ignore just how outstanding Devan Dubnyk has been to start the 2016-17 season.

    We’re talking “Carey Price and Tuukka Rask territory.”

    While his 11-6-3 record won’t blow anyone’s mind, his 1.65 GAA and .946 save percentage are jaw-dropping. With Dubnyk doing special things, Bruce Boudreau felt the need to say weird things* after Dubnyk helped the Wild beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Wednesday.

    “If he was in Toronto, there would be no Carey Price … I’m just saying media-wise,” Boudreau said after the game, as you can see in this video:

    That’s some Haagen-Daz level praise from Boudreau.

    Even if Dubnyk was in a bigger market, there’d probably be room in our hockey thoughts for Dubnyk and the consensus best goalie in the world, but Boudreau’s larger point is taken: Dubnyk has been right there with the best early on this season.

    And, let’s be honest, we shouldn’t be too hard on Boudreau or he might stop saying … well, things like this:

    Never change, Bruce.

    * – Unlike his comments about “Die Hard,” which were amusingly on-point.

    Trademark headaches for the Vegas Golden Knights?

    LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 22:  The team name and logo for the Vegas Golden Knights are displayed on T-Mobile Arena's video mesh wall after the Vegas Golden Knights was announced as the name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise at T-Mobile Arena on November 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The team will begin play in the 2017-18 season.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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    It’s difficult to tell just how big of a headache this might be, but SBNation‘s Mary Clarke uncovered quite the eyebrow-raiser on Wednesday: the Vegas Golden Knights’ trademark request was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    You can read the 164-page document here (if you’re weird), but the gist is that “registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark” used by the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights.

    Clarke summarized it simply enough:

    Essentially, the logos and stylizations are too similar. It’s baffling the NHL and Vegas didn’t go through the trademark process before announcing the name and logo last month. Yet, all is not lost. Later down, the document states the Black Knight Sports and Entertainment group “may respond to the refusal by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration.”

    Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt received this release from the Vegas Golden Knights, which indicated that they will respond to the refusal (and also noted how teams like the Boston Bruins and UCLA Bruins share names without issues).

    There seem to be some mixed messages, at least if you note owner Bill Foley’s response to NBC Las Vegas’ Amber Dixon:

    Hmm.

    This could merely be a messy issue that really doesn’t cause anything to go off track, even if people are certainly having some fun at the league and team’s expense.

    The logo and other marks seem to be the biggest sticking point, so compare the two for yourself:

    Again, this could all be a mild disruption, but it’s an odd situation. And, to some, a great laugh.

    Related: There also might be some issues involving the Army.

    Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

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    It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

    For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

    After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

    Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

    Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

    Capitals over the last three games:
    Shootout loss to the Lightning
    Overtime win against the Sabres
    Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

    Bruins over the last five games:
    Shootout loss against Flyers
    Shootout win against Hurricanes
    Regulation win against Sabres
    Overtime win against Panthers
    Overtime loss to the Capitals

    Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.