Craig Cunningham

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Former Coyotes forward Craig Cunningham returns to the ice

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The sight of Craig Cunningham back on the ice skating after everything he’s been through would have brought a smile to even the most hardened faces.

It’s been roughly two-and-a-half years since Cunningham collapsed to the ice prior to a game between his Tucson Roadrunners, a team he captained, and the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. He had suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital, leaving him in critical condition after his heart stopped beating for nearly 90 minutes.

Hooked up to a ventilator and bleeding from his lungs, Cunningham’s mother Heather Cunningham was certain of he son’s fate.

“I watched my son die right in front of my eyes,” she told to the Arizona Daily Star in an incredible piece a month after the incident. “There was no 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.”

(The Arizona Daily Star story goes in-depth, including not-often-used techniques to save Cunningham’s life)

Craig defied the odds. He’d end up losing his left leg in the process, a result of the heart attack that nearly killed him.

And it’s his story that makes the following video that much more incredible:

That’s the former Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes player working on his crossover step as he skates in a figure-eight pattern with his prosthetic leg. If you scroll over in the Instagram post you can see the skate attachment that he wore.

Cunningham’s caption to the video thanked the AHL’s San Diego Gulls for the ice time.

“Only 365 days until next season,” he wrote.

Cunningham’s stride looks fantastic, and he even made a nice cut in the video.

Skating backward, however?

“I still can’t skate backwards,” he said.

In due time.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Coyotes claim McGinn (Sharks), Cunningham (Bruins) off waivers

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The Arizona Coyotes set about filling some roster holes today, picking up San Jose forward Tye McGinn and Boston forward Craig Cunningham off waivers, per ESPN.

McGinn, 24, appeared in 33 games for the Sharks this year, scoring one goal and five points while averaging 10:20 TOI per night. The former Flyer, who was traded to San Jose last summer, had been out of the Sharks lineup quite a bit recently, but did draw back in for Saturday’s loss to Ottawa.

Cunningham, also 24, appeared in 32 games for the Bruins this year, scoring two goals and three points while averaging 10:07 TOI. Boston’s fourth-round pick (97th overall) in 2010, he’s spent the majority of his professional career in the American League, where he’s been a decent goalscorer with Providence (he has 15 points in 21 games this season).

It’s likely that both will get immediate looks in Arizona. The team has shipped out three veterans already — trading Antoine Vermette, Keith Yandle and Zbynek Michalek — and it’s possible GM Don Maloney could make more moves prior to today’s 3 p.m. deadline.

Leafs claim Erixon, Ducks waive Bourque

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With the 2015 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s no surprise that NHL teams are using waivers to open up space (and occasionally grab low-risk players). Let’s take a quick look at recent announcements in that regard.

Claimed: The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed defenseman Tim Erixon (pictured) off of waivers. The Calgary Flames grabbed Dave Schlemko.

A little more on Erixon:

Here’s some added perspective on why the Flames made their move:

Cleared: Philadelphia Flyers goalie Rob Zepp, Washington Capitals tough guy Aaron Volpatti and Brandon McMillan of the Vancouver Canucks all cleared waivers.

Waived: Anaheim Ducks forward Rene Bourque headlines the latest batch of players who’ve been waived. Also on the list: Craig Cunningham (Boston Bruins), Keith Aulie (Edmonton Oilers), Paul Carey (Colorado Avalanche) and Tye McGinn (San Jose Sharks).

HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman lays out a few roster details after the trade deadline:

Video: Flyers’ Mason leaves with apparent leg injury (Updated)

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Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason left this afternoon’s game against the Boston Bruins with 12:53 remaining in the first period.

Mason made a routine save on Bruins’ forward Craig Cunningham and then collapsed favoring his right leg.

Update: The team is calling it a lower body injury.

Mason underwent an MRI for an undisclosed injury earlier in the week.

The 26-year-old is 8-12-6 this season with a 2.48 G.A.A. and a .919 save percentage.

Ray Emery has come on in relief of Mason.

Mason missed four games last month with a back injury.

Video: Bruins’ Cunningham scores first NHL goal

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Boston Bruins forward Craig Cunningham scored his first NHL goal Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.

The goal, which came shorthanded, opened the scoring for the Bruins.

The 24-year-old is playing in his seventh career NHL game.

Originally Boston’s fourth-round pick (97th overall) in 2010, Cunningham is playing his fifth game of the season today.