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The NHL’s ‘Emergency Rehabilitation Plan’ would cover nightmare scenarios like a plane crash

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As NHL.com’s John Kreiser points out, the NHL has been lucky enough to have never dealt with a catastrophe on the level of what the KHL is going through after Lokomotiv Yaraslavl’s tragic plane crash today.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been any accidents that have shaken up the NHL before, though. Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bill Barilko died in a plane crash in 1951 months after scoring a Stanley Cup-winning goal while former Los Angeles Kings player Ace Bailey and fellow scout Mark Bavis were aboard the second plane that crashed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

That being said, there has never been a situation in which an NHL franchise had to completely rebuild its team because of such a tragedy. Naturally, many people probably couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if an NHL team suffered a similar fate as Lokomotiv did today. Japer’s Rink unearthed a story from the Metro News that explains the league’s “Emergency Rehabilitation Plan.”

The piece explains that the league requires teams to have $1 million insurance policies for all of its players to cover a nightmare scenario like a plane crash. Here’s the rest of the details about such a situation via the Metro News.

If a team is left with fewer than 14 players and one goaltender following some sort of catastrophe, the league sets in motion its Emergency Rehabilitation Plan.

First, the “disabled team” would be allowed to negotiate to buy players under contract from other teams, with payment coming from the insurance money.

If that didn’t fill out the roster, a draft would be held, much like an expansion draft. Teams could protect 10 players and one goalie.

The disabled team would be allowed to take no more than one player from each of the other teams. The price for each player is $1 million in insurance money.

Considering the millions of miles that hockey teams travel, it only makes sense to have a contingency plan, even if it feels a bit morbid to imagine the details. There have been quite a few instances in which sports teams or individuals were involved in plane crashes, so the NHL should feel lucky to avoid such a tragedy. (You can read more about the history of such sad moments in sports here and here [H/T to James Mirtle]).

Let’s hope that we’ll never need to see the Emergency Rehabilitation Program in action, even if it’s a good thing to know that it exists.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.