Domi aims to inspire hockey players with Type 1 diabetes

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Max Domi, the son of an NHL player, didn’t get star struck much.

Then at age 13, he met Bobby Clarke.

”My jaw hit the floor, and I was just in shock,” Domi said.

Clarke isn’t just a Hockey Hall of Famer who captained two teams to the Stanley Cup. He’s a Hockey Hall of Famer who captained two teams to the Stanley Cup with Type 1 diabetes. As a hockey player with diabetes, Domi was so inspired by the chance encounter with Clarke that he is trying to do the same thing for the next generation of kids trying to make the NHL despite the complications that come with the disease.

”What him taking a minute out of his day and sharing his story did for me, I was like, ‘Man, if I ever make the NHL or have an opportunity to help kids out, I want to do the same thing,”’ Domi said. ”I started out meeting with kids and sharing my story and talking to them and trying to motivate them like, ‘Listen, whatever you want to do in life, you can still do despite having diabetes.”’

Domi is now in his fourth NHL season and second with the Montreal Canadiens. His book, ”No Days Off,” comes out Oct. 29 and encapsulates in print what the 24-year-old does to play hockey with diabetes and the lessons he tries to deliver to children.

”I never say what they should do, ever. I just tell them what I’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked,” Domi said. ”I meet with kids almost after every game. That’s just how it is. I like doing it. I enjoy doing it. I take pride in it. I want to keep doing it and growing from that and finding ways to raise money and awareness for something that I deal with on a daily basis and I can relate to a lot of kids out there.”

Domi’s journey was jumpstarted by Clarke, who was diagnosed at 13 when growing up in Manitoba.

Like Domi, he was much more focused on staying on the ice than how diabetes would affect the rest of his life.

”I said to the doctor who had diagnosed me and was looking after me, ‘I’ll still be able to play hockey, eh?”’ Clarke said. ”And he said, yeah. He said, ‘You might want to think of playing goal. It might be easier on you.’ That thought never crossed my mind. … I just said, well I’m going to play hockey.”

Clarke continued to play center and put up 1,210 points over 15 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. He didn’t really think about becoming a goaltender.

Neither Domi nor Clarke remembers what the conversation went like that day at the rink 11 years ago. But if it’s anything close to what has gone through Clarke’s mind for the past half-century, it was a pretty clear message.

”Diabetes was no reason to not play hockey,” Clarke said. ”You’ve got to live with it, and if you’re going to be a hockey player then be a hockey player. It can’t be an excuse not for playing.”

Domi goes through a 24-hour routine to play each game and knows he has the benefit of modern technology that Clarke lacked in the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s. Despite all that, Clarke recalls only twice – once in juniors and once in training camp – where he felt the effects of diabetes because he ”got stupid and didn’t eat.”

”It was fairly simple in those days,” Clarke said. ”There was only one type of insulin. You couldn’t test your own blood sugars and stuff. Not like they can today. The equipment they have today is so much advanced. In those days, I took a needle in the morning and tried to balance the food out the best I could with the insulin that I was taking. I’m sure that my blood sugars must’ve run high – fairly high, I don’t know how high.”

Clarke keeps track of Domi’s career and remembers the standard he held himself to years ago.

”The thing for me that I always told myself is that I’m a hockey player with diabetes. I am not a diabetic hockey player,” Clarke said. ”So diabetes cannot be an excuse for my performance, and it can’t be an excuse for his performance.”

Domi, with 207 points in 304 regular-season games, is doing just fine. But each day is a constant reminder of the challenges ahead and the impact he can make.

”There’s days where I feel sorry for myself, just like everyone does – ‘it’s not fair, why me’ kind of thing,” Domi said. ”I’m like, what am I talking about? This is awesome. Let’s turn this into a positive. Let’s make this like a blessing in disguise and use all the positives that come with being a type 1, the responsibilities that come with it, and drive me to achieve my dreams of playing in the NHL. And that’s kind of where it goes.”

PAVELSKI’S SLOW START

Joe Pavelski recorded one secondary assist in his first four games with the Dallas Stars since signing a $21 million, three-year contract. Change is hard, and the longtime Sharks forward is quickly realizing he’s not in San Jose anymore.

”There’s a lot of simple adjustments,” Pavelski said Tuesday. ”It’s not completely natural. But it’s at a good spot where I feel it’s right there, right around the corner. Just keep going, get a little production and you get that confidence to really kind of take it to another level.”

Dallas coach Jim Montgomery likened it to Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton needing to get accustomed to new catchers when he moved around the majors.

”It’s the nuances of the game, of getting to know people, that comfort level of understanding when this guy has the puck, I go here, I’m going to get the puck,” Montgomery said. ”That just takes time.”

The Buzzer: Mangiapane tricks Ducks; Lightning win record 11th straight

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THREE STARS

1. Andrew Mangiapane, Flames

The Flames’ 6-4 win over the Ducks was powered by Mangiapane’s first career hat trick. Two of his three goals came during a third period where Calgary entered it trailing 3-1 and scored five times en route to the win. He would register an assist on Matthew Tkachuk‘s 20th of the season to add to a career-best four-point night. The hat trick is also the first by a Flames player this season.

2. Antti Raanta, Coyotes

Arizona won for the second straight game behind Conor Garland‘s 20th goal of the season and 28 saves from Raanta. The 2-1 win over the Islanders gives the Coyotes a winning streak for the first time since Dec. 31-Jan. 7 and also puts them into a tie for the final Western Conference wild card spot. Raanta’s been in net for both wins and has stopped 64 of his last 66 shots faced.

3. Nikita Kucherov, Lightning

The Lightning set a franchise record with their 11th consecutive win by topping the Avalanche, 4-3, in overtime. During the extra period, it was Kucherov beating Pavel Francouz five-hold to keep Tampa red-hot. How hot? They are 23-2-1 since Dec. 21.

AVS LOSE RANTANEN

Adding to the bad night against Tampa, the Avalanche lost Mikko Rantanen to an upper-body injury in the second period. He’ll be out for “weeks.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIGHT

• Here’s Alex Ovechkin catching up with old teammate Nate Schmidt:

• They don’t see each other often, but the temperature certainly rose when the Avs and Lightning met:

STATS OF THE NIGHT

Jonathan Huberdeau picked up his 50th assist of the season in the win over the Sharks. He now joins Aleksander Barkov as the only two players in Panthers franchise history to record multiple 50-assists seasons.

• Via the NHL, Matthew Tkachuk is now the fourth player in Flames history to record three 20-goal seasons before his 23rd birthday. Sean Monahan (4 times), Robert Reichel (3 times) and Jarome Iginla (3 times) are the only others on the list.

SCORES
Coyotes 2, Islanders 1
Panthers 5, Sharks 3
Flames 6, Ducks 4
Golden Knights 3, Capitals 2
Lightning 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Avs lose Rantanen for weeks after crash into boards

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Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen will miss “weeks,” per the team, after he crashed into the boards during Monday night’s loss to the Lightning.

Rantanen was on a 2-on-1 with Andre Burakovsky in the second period when he tripped over a diving Erik Cernak and slid into the end boards behind the Tampa net. He left the ice favoring his left shoulder and was later ruled out for the rest of the 4-3 overtime defeat.

Rantanen, who has 19 goals and 40 points in 41 games, missed 16 games this season due to ligament damage in his left ankle.

The injury comes on the day it was announced goaltender Philipp Grubauer is day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered during the Stadium Series game, Matt Calvert is out long-term, and a week after Nazem Kadri was ruled out for “weeks, not days” with an LBI.

Colorado sits one point behind the Blues and Stars for the top spot in the Central Division with 24 games to go.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Canucks strengthen up front by acquiring Tyler Toffoli

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Tyler Toffoli‘s final game with the Los Angeles Kings was a memorable one.

After notching a hat trick during their Stadium Series win over the Avalanche, Toffoli was dealt to the Canucks on Monday. Heading back to LA is a package of Tim Schaller, the rights to NCAA prospect Tyler Madden, and a 2020 second-round pick.

The deal also includes a conditional draft pick, which would see a 2022 fourth rounder going to the Kings if Toffoli re-signs, per Pierre LeBrun. LA will also not be retaining any of Toffoli’s $4.6 million salary this season.

“Tyler brings goal scoring abilities and is good in battles,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “He has great offensive instincts and experience playing in high pressure, meaningful games. We look forward to adding his skill and strength to the line-up.”

The 27-year-old Toffoli can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and was one of the bigger name forwards likely to be on the move with the NHL trade deadline a week away. In 58 games this season he has 18 goals and 34 points.

As the Canucks sit one point behind the Oilers for tops in the Pacific Division, this is Benning bolstering his roster with 23 games to go. Vancouver has been a surprise this season and with the opportunity present to make a run at the playoffs and division title, the move is a boost to the players for the stretch run.

Adding Toffoli also helps the Canucks’ forward group after the news that Brock Boeser will be out of the lineup with a rib injury and will be re-evaluate in three weeks.

The question to be answered is whether this was a premature move for Benning to pull off given the price and where the Canucks are in their turnaround. Madden, who is currently dealing with a broken finger, has 19 goals in 27 games this season at Northeastern University and adds to an already strong prospect pool for the Kings. There’s also no guarantee that Toffoli, who is reunited with his “That 70s Line” mate Tanner Pearson, will stay in Vancouver.

We always see GMs gamble this time of year, but there’s certainly an opening in the West this season, and Benning clearly has confidence his group can do something special.

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Ovechkin continues chase for 700 goals Thursday on NBCSN

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The Capitals lost for the fifth time in seven games and Alex Ovechkin remained stuck on 698 goals as the Golden Knights came out on top, 3-2, Monday night.

NBCSN has added the Capitals’ next game, Thursday at home against Montreal (7 p.m. ET), to its schedule as Ovechkin continues chasing goal No. 700.

The Golden Knights built up a 3-0 lead by the second period and held off a Capitals’ comeback as T.J. Oshie cut the led to 3-2 with pair of goals. Marc-Andre Fleury, who has surrendered the most goals to Ovechkin of any NHL goalie (24 goals in 42 games), stopped 24 shots for his second straight win. Ovechkin finished with eight shot attempts and four shots on goal.

Ovechkin is now goalless in five straight games after registering a hat trick against the Kings on Feb. 4. Of the seven members in the 700-goal club, five players took five games or longer to go from 698 to 700 career goals – Jaromir Jagr (5 games), Marcel Dionne, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Gartner (6 games), and Brett Hull (12 games).

MORE OVECHKIN:
NHL Power Rankings: Ovechkin’s top 10 goals
By the Numbers: Ovechkin’s 698 NHL goals
Stunning Numbers as Alex Ovechkin closes in on 700 goals
Can Alex Ovechkin break Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals?
My Favorite Goal: Ovechkin scores ‘The Goal’

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.