By TERRY LYONS, Editor-in-Chief
COLD SPRING HARBOR – When hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine spoke of his love, admiration, gratitude and respect for (original) New York Islanders captain Eddie Westfall, any and every Islanders or Boston Bruins fan in the room had to wipe a tear or three from their eyes, realizing the monumental contribution “No. 18” made to the Islanders’ organ-I-zation and to players like LaFontaine, Clark Gillies, Bobby Nystrom and to the popularity of the sport of hockey on Long Island.
“We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Eddie Westfall,” said LaFontaine summing it all up quite rightly during his closing remarks at the 2019 Companions in Courage annual golf outing, held this past Thursday at the gorgeous (but very wet and cold) Huntington Country Club on the north shore of Long Island, NY.
But that wasn’t the only magic wand waived by LaFontaine.
First, and most importantly, he was busy all day – welcoming, smiling, remembering, inviting, thanking, thinking, cajoling, collaborating, golfing, laughing, toasting, dealing the cards, and raising money for an incredibly great cause in the fact the CIC16 Foundation is dedicated to help the families of children suffering, enduring, and often recovering from very serious illnesses.
Later in the evening presentation, LaFontaine somehow made Islanders’ fans and (a few) Bruins’ fans in the room have a newfound respect and admiration for one of the villains of NHL hockey, in New Jersey Devils (and former Montreal Canadiens) defenseman PK Subban. As evidenced by the video to follow. LaFontaine, his foundation Executive Director Jim Johnson and fellow pro athletes (many NHL superstars) created a program for kids to get some inspiration from direct online “chats” and video messages traded with the greats, usually their own personal sports hero.
LaFontaine and Johnson teed-up this video after a charity round of golf Thursday, shown to an intimate crowd of about 150 golfers. To say it has impact is an understatement, as this video was met with a lot dinner table napkins gracing the corners of about 300 eyes Thursday night. See for yourself:
Yes, I have to say, we’re all PK Subban fans now.
Here Now, The Notes: Last week as the MLB regular season came to a close, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball beat writer might’ve saved a man’s life before the Cardinals’ regular-season finale, performing CPR after the man collapsed in the visitor’s dugout. … Derrick Goold, lead Cardinals beat writer for the Post-Dispatch, was at Busch Stadium prior to Sunday’s game when a videographer collapsed in the Chicago dugout as media gathered for what turned out to be the announcement that Joe Maddon would not be back as Cubs manager next season. The videographer, identified by reports as 64-year-old Mike Flanary, suffered a heart attack and stroke and was briefly without a pulse. Somebody yelled out if anyone knew CPR, and Goold reportedly replied “I do” and began working on Flanary. … A former lifeguard and longtime Eagle Scout trained in CPR, Goold worked on Flanary until the Cubs’ training staff and medical personnel arrived. Flanary was transferred to a nearby hospital, where hospital officials said he was “critical but stable.” … Flanary was there working for NBC Sports Chicago, according to a tweet sent out Sunday afternoon by Kelly Crull, a reporter with the news station. … After the incident, Cardinals security director Phil Melcher was asked about the role Goold’s assistance played. “Huge,” Melcher told the Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel. “You cannot discount that, at all. I absolutely thanked him.” … “So many people are afraid of doing CPR,” said Washington University’s Dr. David Tan, the stadium doctor on duty at the time. “But, because of (Goold’s) actions, he was the first link in that chain of survival. It’s fabulous. It was the early CPR by Derrick Goold that probably saved his life.” … “In the medical field, when you save somebody like this, they call it a clinical save,” Tan continued. “This is a clinical save that was started by Derrick Goold. Period.”
Speaking of saves, the more and better netting around MLB stadiums (and NHL ice hockey rinks, too) will gradually reduce this stunning factoid: More than 800 fans were injured by foul balls at MLB stadiums over the past seven seasons, according to an NBC News investigation reported earlier this week. … In addition to the death of a grandmother celebrating her 79th birthday at Dodger Stadium in 2018, the 808 injuries from 2012-19 documented in the report include concussions and permanent vision loss. … NBC News said most of the injuries resulted from foul balls, but some others in the study came from home run balls, balls hit during batting practice and from the fans’ scramble to catch balls in the stands. … “Major League Baseball, along with the 30 teams declined NBC News’ requests for information about the number of incidents and injuries at their ballparks,” according to the report. “Some teams said they don’t track that data, others said it was a privacy issue.” … NBC News said it based its tally on lawsuits, news reports, social media postings and information from the contractors who provide first aid at MLB ballparks. … Efforts to extend the protective netting at stadiums have been gaining momentum, with a total of 13 teams either having already completed the process or planning to finish it before the 2020 season. … “Seventeen teams have not announced any plans to make additional extensions to their netting,” read the report. “Of those 17, some already have netting that extends past the home and visitor dugouts, but none have netting that extends to the foul poles.” … Even with Vontaze Burfict serving a season-ending suspension, the NFL isn’t softening its focus on the controversial Oakland Raiders linebacker. … ESPN and NFL Network reported that the league informed Burfict on Friday that it identified another illegal hit that he made Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. … Burfict was ejected following a helmet-to-helmet hit last Sunday against Colts tight end Jack Doyle. The next day, the NFL announced that Burfict was suspended for the rest of the 2019 season for repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules — the longest punishment in league history for an on-field incident. … The new revelation from Friday apparently will be used as part of the league’s case when Burfict’s appeal of the suspension is heard this coming Tuesday. … Burfict, 29, missed the opening of both the 2016 and 2017 seasons while serving suspensions for player-safety violations, and he was out again at the start of 2018 for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. … Three years ago, Burfict had a five-game suspension for a hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman reduced to three games on appeal. … Travis Konecny scored twice and Carter Hart made 28 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers skated to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday afternoon in Prague, Czech Republic. … Oskar Lindblom had a power-play goal and Michael Raffl also tallied for the Flyers, who presented new coach Alain Vigneault with a victory in their season opener. … Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, Alexander Nylander and Alex DeBrincat also tallied and Corey Crawford turned aside 34 shots for the Blackhawks. … After about 25 years of one look, the folks at New England Sports Network, aka NESN, updated their company logo this week. The Regional Sports Network, co-owned by the Boston Red Sox and Bruins, is one of the most successful RSNs in the USA. The logo, while not excelling in color scheme, looks good, not great.
Just in case you’re in the market for a nice home in the suburbs of Boston, adjacent to the PGA/Ryder Cup level golf course, The Country Club, Tom Brady and his wife have lowered their asking price for their Brookline home. The New England Patriots QB set the new listing price for 112 Woodland Road at $33.9 million, down $5.6 million from the original asking price of $39.5 million. Please contact us if you’re ready with the $34-35M check, as I’m sure we can broker the deal.
Digital Sports Desk posts a once-a-week Sunday Notes column, entitled: “While We’re Young Ideas.” It’s a throwback of sorts to the days when sportswriting and the baseball beat were the best jobs in the entire sports industry, maybe the entire world. One of those sportswriters was named Dick Young and he wrote “Young Ideas” with a “Diamond Dust” section for notes and quotes. … We welcome feedback and suggestions (psst, they call ’em pitches) for mentions within “While We’re Young Ideas” or Digital Sports Desk. Please follow and encourage (at least) another person or two to plug into (@DigSportsDesk) (@WhileYoungIdeas) and (@terrylyons).