Minnesota Wild v New York Rangers

Dan Fritsche, Chris Ferraro file concussion-related lawsuit against NHL


Former NHL players Dan Fritsche (pictured) and Chris Ferraro are the latest names to pop up in concussion-related legal actions toward the league, as TSN’s Rick Westhead reports that they were mentioned in a lawsuit filed in New York on July 25.

The gist of this suit is that the league downplayed risks related to head injuries/concussions, including allegedly failing to share the findings of studies with players. Westhead passes along this passage from the lawsuit, which provides a summary of their argument:

“The NHL has intentionally created, fostered, and promoted a culture of extreme violence, including violence from fighting. The NHL has known that, due to such violence, head trauma to plaintiffs and the class has been and is imminent,” the lawsuit says. “The NHL has known that head trauma to plaintiffs and the class has and will be devastating and long-term negative health effects. Despite this knowledge and to maintain its revenue stream from violent construct, the NHL has and does intentionally subject plaintiffs and the class to head trauma.”

One interesting element of the lawsuit is that their representatives reportedly called on the league to begin a “medical monitoring program” for former and current players suffering from such injuries.

Some of the other details are a little fuzzier at this time, possibly because some elements are subject to change. Westhead’s report indicates that lawyers might eventually pursue a class-action lawsuit with about 100 people involved while the case already may involve damages of “more than $5 million.”

This is the fifth lawsuit related to concussions in the NHL, as word surfaced of the fourth one late in July. Here’s a quick look back at the threats of legal action:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.