Dominic Moore #18 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 2-0.
(March 28, 2012 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Moore recruits players for ping-pong tournament to support concussion research

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Unrestricted free agent Dominic Moore thinks he’s found a great way to raise money for concussion and brain research: table tennis.

Moore took some time off from looking for a new employer to the time to put together a fundraising tournament featuring past and present NHL players.

“Guys are obsessed with playing, they are competitive and it is a lot of fun,” Moore said, according to a report from the Toronto Sun. “It’s a great avenue to show their personalities. We’ll see if it works. I would love for it to get bigger and better every year.”

The motivation for such a fundraiser isn’t hard to figure out. Although the NHL has taken steps to combat concussions, they are still a big problem.

“The last few years, head injuries have been a constant headline,” Moore said. “The understanding in terms of the science of it is huge. As much as we are learning every day, it seems like every month they are coming out with new studies. There is still a long way to go.”

Among the participants in Moore’s tournament was reigning Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos.

“We have to be more aware,” Stamkos said. “When Mooresy asked me to be a part of this, it was a no-brainer, no pun intended. It’s important in our game today and we want to learn as much as possible about it starting in youth hockey and moving up to the pro ranks.”

Stamkos thinks that the league and NHLPA has done a great job protecting the players by changing the rules and imposing harsher suspensions. At this point he thinks that “the onus is on the players.”

Toews says he is finally over his concussion

Jonathan Toews
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It feels like forever ago, but Jonathan Toews says he’s finally over the concussion that put him out of action at the end of this past season and made life hard for him in the playoffs.

Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune hears from Toews about how he’s feeling now a few months removed from his injury.

“I feel great,” said Toews, who attended a meeting with the National Hockey League Players Association executive board Monday at a downtown hotel. “I’m having a great summer so far. It was a pretty nerve-wracking thing (but) taking the time off and not going to the World Championships was really big. I haven’t felt or seen anything since so it’s good news.”

The Blackhawks captain didn’t quite seem like himself during their first-round defeat to the Coyotes scoring two goals and adding two assists in the six-game series. While he was also busy talking up Patrick Kane, Toews is also in the position of dealing with being part of the labor situation this summer. It’s never a slow time when you’re a captain.

McLellan suffered through concussion for final months of the season

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As you might recall, Sharks coach Todd McLellan was struck by a player’s stick on Feb. 26. He went to the locker room and was later diagnosed with a concussion. He was back behind the bench on March 6, but that wasn’t the end of the story.

“That was tough for me because I lived the concussion part of it for the rest of the season. I had headaches, and lived on Tylenol for the most part,” McLellan told Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea. “I went for a physical at the end of the year, and obviously had to make some changes to get healthier and to help that process. I’ve done that now over the summer, and I feel pretty good and ready to go.”

McLellan lost weight and was able to get more rest once the Sharks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. That helped him get to a point he didn’t need to live on Tylenol.

Still, he insists the concussion didn’t affect his job.

Although there was some initial speculation that McLellan might be replaced over the summer, he will return for the 2012-13 season.

Bruins get good news regarding Horton, McQuaid’s concussions

Nathan Horton

The Boston Bruins didn’t have Nathan Horton or Adam McQuaid in the playoffs because they were both dealing with concussions. However, months after the Bruins were eliminated, the news regarding both of them is good.

McQuaid missed significantly less time than Horton and hasn’t experienced concussion symptoms in weeks.

“I’m told by our doctors that McQuaid was in [Boston] last week and he was cleared,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.

On the other hand, Horton hasn’t played since Jan. 22 and there’s been some bumps in his road to recovery. Still, he seems to be making progress.

“[Horton] was in last week as well and is close to being cleared. He’s starting some exertion exercises,” said Chiarelli. “But he looked great and there ‘should be no problems’ [being ready for next season].”

Getting both players back would be a big relief for the Bruins. The absence of Horton in particular was felt as the Bruins struggled to overcome Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in the first round.

“[Horton’s injury] was big. We’re a deep team, but we’re also a very balanced team. If you lose one thing from our team then it throws everything else off. That’s what happened to a certain degree,” said Chiarelli. “You missed his size, you missed his skating and you missed his shot. [Horton’s absence] takes away from that top line to throw them off-balance and one of our strengths from last year – the third line – they were thrown off-kilter as well.”

Related:

Bruins might be in line for a quiet summer

Symptom-free, Latendresse wants to stay in Minnesota: “It’s like I never had any concussion”

Guillaume Latendresse
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For Guillaume Latendresse, there’s the positive…and the reality.

The positive is that, after missing 135 games to injury over the last two season (including a severe concussion), he’s declared himself fully fit.

“It’s like I never had any concussion,” Latendresse told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “I feel 100 percent. I’m doing training like before. I have nothing. I can’t even remember when my last headache was.”

The reality is that, after watching him miss so many games, Minnesota likely won’t offer Latendresse a qualifying offer of $2.5 million. That’s something the impending RFA has come to accept.

“I know I won’t get a qualifying offer,” he explained. “I’m 100 percent sure about that. It’s pretty obvious with my last two years.

“If [Minnesota] wants me back, I’ll be happy there. I like the city, I like the organization there, I like the coaching staff. So I’d find a way to make it work.”

What exactly does the future hold for Latendresse in Minnesota?

Here’s a quick rundown from the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo:

The Wild will likely do one of two things: Cut Latendresse loose, which would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent July 1; or sign him to a one-year contract that includes games played and performance bonuses.

There are only three cases where NHLers can receive performance bonuses: 1) entry-level deals; 2) a one-year deal for a player 35 or older; 3) a player who spent 100-plus days on injured reserve in the final year of his previous contract.

Latendresse meets that final threshold.

It will be interesting to see what kind of interest Latendresse garners on the open market. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound power forward is a tantalizing mix of size and skill — he scored 25 goals in his first 55 games with the Wild — and told Russo he can be a “25-, 30-goal scorer” in the NHL.

He’s also spent extensive time working with Ted Carrick, the Georgia-based chiropractic neurologist that famously worked with Sidney Crosby during his concussion rehab.

“The first time I went there, I saw a huge change,” Latendresse said. “I felt a real click that I haven’t felt since five, six years ago. My energy level is higher.

“My body just feels 100 percent.”