Wade Belak’s tragic death has created debate and discussion throughout the hockey world.
From seeing other former players come out and put pressure on the NHL and NHLPA to do things to better assist players to the league and the union saying they’ll team up to start improving things, it’s been a terrible summer for the league and for those who care for its players.
As for what ailed Wade Belak, who’s believed to have committed suicide, his mother says that he suffered silently with the same issue that addled Rick Rypien: Depression.
James Mirtle from The Globe & Mail shares the story.
Speaking from Nashville, where Belak’s funeral will be held Sunday afternoon, Lorraine Belak told the CBC on Friday that the family believed he was in “control” of the problem.
“I think he was taking control of that,” she said. “We didn’t talk about it all the time, or a lot.
“It’s extremely difficult to wrap our heads around this. But we are trying to cope the best we can.”
Two players dead over the course of a month and both dealt with depression problems. Depression is a difficult problem because many who suffer from it do so privately never wanting to put on a public face that shows pain. Others don’t want to their family and friends to worry about them.
In Belak’s case, given what others have said about him after his death, many never seemed to know that he was struggling with depression. With his mother saying she knew as well as TSN host Michael Landsberg also confirming Belak’s personal ordeal, it shows how an illness like this can go unnoticed and unknown by even those that work with him daily.
It’s so sad to see these things come to a head in such terrible ways. Seeing someone get to a point where they feel their only escape is to end their own life is the most tragic and terrible situation and one that affects everyone around them after the fact. Getting players and people the help they need when they feel hopeless is something that hockey fans are getting to know all too much about now.
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game online here.
The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.
Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.
After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.
Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.
As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.
The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Although Connor McDavid‘s NHL career has only just gotten started, is he already the league’s most important player? (Sportsnet)
While we’re on the subject of McDavid, what should we expect from him for the remainder of his rookie campaign? (NHL Numbers)
Jack Jablonski was paralyzed on Dec. 30, 2011 at the age of 16 while playing high school hockey, but that hasn’t ended his pursuit of a career in hockey. He’s spent the last two years hosting a weekly hockey-talk radio program and has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as a communications intern. (Orange County Register)
Arizona State has earned its first NCAA victory. (Arizona Republic)
The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs got their rings. (LA Kings Insider)
The Anaheim Ducks and the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 13-year-old Kai Quinonez, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia four years ago, a tremendous experience. (Orange County Register)