Daily Cupcakes - Decemeber 30th, 2011

Hockey Canada used to have players stand in a room and dedicate their performance to someone. They stopped this a few years ago, but this year, everyone knows who the Captain is playing for.

Hockey Canada officials decided to do away with this practice nine years ago, when Jordin Tootoo suited up for the 2003 world junior in Halifax. They didn't want to put Tootoo in a situation in which he had to relive what happened to his older brother Terence, who took his own life at age 22 that summer after he was arrested for drunk driving.

This year's Canadian captain Jaden Schwartz doesn't need to tell his teammates nor those who know his story about the person he has dedicated the 2012 world junior championship to. That special someone is his sister Mandi, a former Yale hockey player who passed away last April at age 23 after a 16-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

"She's always on my mind," Schwartz said. "You want to win this tournament for your teammates, your family, your friends and for Canada. But I want to win for Mandi, too. She was a big part of my life and she still is a big part of my life."

The NHL wants more out of it's outdoor game.

The NHL has only just begun its great outdoor experiment.

With the fifth instalment of the Winter Classic game set to be played between the Rangers and Flyers at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park on Monday, NHL chief operating officer John Collins continues to dream big about what lies beyond it.

Among his goals is seeing the game make more of an impact nationally. Even though all of the league's outdoor games to date have been a big hit on the local level, Collins sees plenty of room for growth.

A story comparing the "old" and "new" way of reacting to concussions.

They thought it best to send Jim Rutherford to the hospital that night, after the back of his skull had been driven into the goalpost. Paul Henderson did it; driving the net Rutherford was guarding for the Pittsburgh Penguins, knocking the goaltender back into one of those unforgiving, immovable posts of the early 1970s.

Rutherford cannot remember what the doctors told him, and he cannot remember much of the play itself. He knows he was diagnosed with a concussion, and he remembers what he did about it — he fastened a small piece of padding to his mask to protect the back of his head and, within two weeks, he was back on the ice.

"I don’t even remember the incident that clear, so I couldn’t remember what went on at the hospital," he said. "I do remember, when playing, when there were times when you would come in, in the morning, and have a pretty good headache. That was the remedy — take a couple of 222s and get out there."


A story about Roy's coaching abilities.

Patrick Roy's status as one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time is undisputed.

Apparently, he's an offensive tactician, too.

So says sharpshooter Mikhail Grigorenko, a member of Russia's world junior squad whose spending this winter under Roy's tutelage as a member of the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts.

Lastly, a recap of the game against Phoenix.

NOTES: Colorado has allowed three power-play goals in eight games. The Avalanche have killed 27 of 30 penalties in that stretch. ... The game marked the sixth set of back-to-back contests for the Coyotes. They are 4-2 in the second game. ... Kobasew returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a head injury.

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