Pre-game reading: On Craig Cunningham — ‘I thought he was gone’

— Up top, the NHL’s goals of the week, featuring plenty of lucky bounces and some nice moves by Tomas Tatar

— Craig Cunningham is doing a lot better these days, but for his mom, Heather, his medical emergency on Nov. 19 was a living nightmare. “I watched my son die right in front of my eyes. There was not a doubt in my mind. I thought he was gone. From the minute he hit the ice I could tell there was something not right. The waiting was awful. It was the worst. The doctors coming, going, not coming back. Every time they enter the room, you’re like, ‘Is he still here or he didn’t make it?’ It was horrifying.” Fortunately, the story had a happy ending. Though his hockey career may be over, it sounds like it will be a joyous, and thankful, holiday season for the Cunninghams. (Arizona Daily Star)

— More on Cunningham’s recovery. Here’s Coyotes coach Dave Tippett: “That’s the epitome of Cunny right there. Great to see he’s doing well. He didn’t give up on them and the people who helped him didn’t give up on him either. They said 85 minutes they kept working on his heart to try to keep him going. It’s a miracle. It’s a miracle and it couldn’t happen to a better guy.” (NHL.com)

— This past summer, Cam Fowler was surprised he wasn’t traded. Now, thanks to some advice from his dad, the Ducks defenseman is on pace for a career high in points. “I just didn’t feel like I was contributing as much offensively as I felt I was able to. When I was scouted and I first started in the league, I was known as an offensive defenseman and I had a good rookie year in terms of points, but then I was around 30-35 points and I felt like there was more there. I’m trusting myself a little more. It’s a mindset. If you see pucks go in, you start to gain confidence.” (The Hockey News)

— Two years ago today, Blackhawks equipment manager Clint Reif took his own life. Since then, his wife, Kelly, has been trying to teach their four young children that life is, for the most part, good. “It’s not something you imagine the way your life would be going. But you have to keep going. We’re still doing better than 95 percent of the people in the world and you can’t let your kids forget that. Something bad happened to us but we don’t have bad lives.” (Chicago Tribune)

— Fatima Al Ali is a member of the United Arab Emirates women’s national team, and a talented one at that, as you can see in the video below. According to the Washington Post, Fatima is being flown over to watch a Capitals game in February as part of “Hockey Is For Everyone Month,” an NHL initiative that offers children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play the game. (Washington Post)

Enjoy the games!

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