September 8, 2011 @ 08:10
I didn't write about the Wade Belak story last week because I really didn't know what to say beyond this.
Wade Belak was a big, strong, good looking guy who had just completed an NHL career, something very few can claim. He was about to start a TV career in Nashville and on top of everything else, he had a beautiful wife and two little girls.
To choose death over this is inexplicable. It sheds a light on depression that I'm sure will never be explained.
Yesterday provided a completely different scenario for the hockey world. The crash of that plane in Russia pushed all kinds of thoughts through my brain, the least of which was the living hell it must be to know you're about to die when you don't want to.
The passengers had to know there was something wrong right off the bat, and given that the plane was just taking off the fire ball on impact must have been horrific if not a blessing because it probably prevented a lot of suffering.
And I can't help but think of head coach Brad McCrimmon and how fate can play such a large part in our lives... and deaths.
Brad McCrimmon made a big decision within the last year that I'm sure he struggled with, but ultimately thought it was the best thing to do. I'm sure he never dreamed it would end in a fiery crash, in a suspect plane, 250 klms north of Moscow.
A Canadian guy who came up through the Canadian hockey system, played in the NHL and then chose a career as coach after his playing days were over.
He became an assistant coach with arguably the best organization in hockey, the Detroit Red Wings, but then decided he wanted more. He wanted to become a head coach, but rather than wait for something to break in the NHL, he chose to take a job in the KHL.
It must have been huge decision. Far from home, I presume far from his family and in an environment very much different than what he experienced in the NHL.
Since yesterday more and more reports are coming out about the state of aviation in Russia and the standards that allow suspect planes to remain in service.
I'm not a bad flyer, but I'm not completely comfortable either. It's those first few second while whipping along the run way that always unnerve me a bit, and my heart jumps when the wheels leave the ground.
There's no way I could work in the KHL if the planes were questionable. Yesterday I heard reports of bald tires and weird sounds and loose safety checks. There's a startling history of crashing planes in Russia, and it was just a matter of time before another one went down.
And the timing sucked for Brad McCrimmon.