Yesterday, it was Chris Pronger talking of the “dark days” he’s experienced while recovering from a serious concussion.
Today, it was another NHL defenseman’s turn to open up — Chicago’s Steve Montador.
Montador suffered a concussion last February. He returned for one game in March, but only lasted four minutes before he was pulled from action and shut down for the year.
It’s been a “roller coaster” ever since.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety and depression that comes with that,” said Montador, per CSNChicago.com. “I’ve had a lot of help to work through that and I feel like I’ve taken the right steps.”
On the depression the 33-year-old has experienced: “The first time I ever heard the word depression… there’s some stigma around it. What I’ve learned from my condition (is that) actual neural transmitters are being prevented from connecting and being used in the brain, so it’s an actual physical issue.”
Fortunately, Montador is feeling much better these days and is getting closer to making his return to game action.
“Just every day is a brand new day and there’s a lot of enjoyment,” he said. “I love being around the guys, I’m glad to be on the road here. To feel myself get better out there, I’m just filled with a lot of gratitude.”
The undefeated-in-regulation Blackhawks are in Denver to take on the Avalanche tonight.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.