Shock Waves in Hockey

Shock waves were circulating around the hockey world on Friday morning with the tragic news of Don Sandersonʼs passing.

This 21 year-old who played defense for the Whitby Dunlops in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League died at the Hamilton General Hospital as a result of severe head injuries that occurred during a third period fight on December 12 in Brantford Ontario.

Sanderson who was a student at York University in Toronto underwent emergency brain surgery on December 13 and since then was in a coma and on life support until Friday when he died on his own.

The tragic event occurred when Sanderson lost his helmet in the altercation with Corey Fulton of the Brantford Blast. Towards the end of the fight, both players fell on the ice and Sanderson struck his head forcefully and never gained consciousness.

Sanderson during his Ontario Provincial Junior career also played for the Ajax Attack and the Trenton Sting.   

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Steve Mason is A Hit in Columbus

There is plenty of excitement being generated in Columbus surrounding rookie goaltender Steve Mason.

This 20 year-old, who was a third round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2006 set a Blue Jackets franchise record last Wednesday when he blanked the Anaheim Ducks for what was his third straight shutout.

“It was a pretty routine game for myself,” said Mason after he stopped 27 shots in a 2-0 victory against the Anaheim Ducks. “The guys played great in front of myself and made it real easy.”

Mason, who on Monday night shut out the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 to become only the third Columbus net minder to record back to back shutouts, (Fredrik Norrena and Ron Tugnutt were the others) was not thinking about the record during Wednesday’s game.

“You try not to pay attention to it and think about a shutout because you don’t want to jinx it,” Mason who was in the minors for the first month of the season said.

“It was nice to get (the third straight shutout), but obviously the most important thing is the win.” “And right now I’m just trying to get as many wins as I can.”

During this three game shutout streak Mason has stared down a total of 71 shots from the Philadelphia Flyers, Kings and Ducks and as a result has set another franchise record by going 182 minutes and eight seconds in not allowing a goal. In the process he has also lowered his goals against average to a tidy 1.69.

“After my first game, I felt that I had the confidence that I could play in this league and it’s grown in every game,” said Mason about his NHL debut which was a 5-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

“The time’s gone by real fast ever since I’ve been here.” “It’s been an interesting two months already.” “I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself, but every game I play I’m getting more and more comfortable.”

Even though this Oakville Ontario native has only 19 starts under his belt, his teammates are gaining lots of confidence in his abilities.

“It’s very comforting to have him back there,” said Blue Jackets Chris MacDonald. “If he sees the puck, he’s going to stop it.” “He’s very much under control and he’s pretty confident for a 20-year-old.”

Alex Tanguay on the Shelf

On Thursday afternoon the Montreal Canadiens added another prominent name to the ever growing list of injured players.

Montreal, who are one of the favorites to challenge this spring for the Stanley Cup suffered a serious blow last Tuesday when scoring winger Alex Tanguay injured his shoulder after being checked in a game against the Tampa Bay Lighting.

Acquired last summer from the Calgary Flames, Tanguay who is the third leading Montreal scorer with 10 goals and 26 points joins teammates Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, George Laraque and Mathieu Dandenault on the injured list.

Two days after getting injured Tanguay was seen cradling his forearm when leaving the press room at the team’s practice facility in Brossard. Still, he wouldn’t reveal whether the shoulder was separated, dislocated or strained. Tanguay who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July has vowed to work hard in rehab and get back sometime before the end of the year.

“It could take eight weeks, but I’ll do everything I can to get back as soon as possible,” he said.

Another big name who was put on the injury list early this week was number one goaltender Carey Price, who in that same Tampa Bay game last Tuesday pulled something in his lower body but still played.

Coach Guy Carbonneau is aiming for Price to be back in net by this coming Sunday against the Florida Panthers.