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Michael Russo's short takes: March 20

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • March 19, 2011 - 2:59 PM
NHL rinks get safer

After months of testing and then contract negotiations, the NHL finally approved the Fusion Safety Pads from the Minneapolis-based company Sports Resource Group on Wednesday. The thicker, denser, L-shaped pads will go on stanchions on the glass in most NHL rinks.

The first order, not so coincidentally, went to Montreal, where Max Pacioretty broke vertebrae in his neck after being checked into the turnbuckle by hulking Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

The pads were first introduced at last summer's NHL Research and Development camp. "If even one small thing like that comes out of the camp, that shows some real value to it," said former NHLer Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's vice president of hockey and business development.

• Shanahan said the next camp will take place this summer in Toronto in August. The NHL will test several potential rule changes, including different nets. The big one that has a chance of actually coming to fruition soon is referees being able to communicate through microphones and earpieces.

Concussion brotherhood

Former Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard was so sensitive to sunlight during the early portion of the concussion that still keeps him out of the Rangers lineup, that he stayed in his Manhattan apartment for three weeks at one point.

He started to get depressed, go stir crazy. "That's why when [Marian Gaborik] got his concussion this year, I'd call him every day and say, 'I want you to call me and we'll go for lunch and we'll do something for at least an hour just so you get out of your apartment,'" Boogaard said.

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