Tuesday, November 22, 2011

AS RYAN MILLER HEALS HIS HEAD, HE HEALS SOME HEARTS



Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller has been sidelined for the last two weeks with a concussion. But that hasn't stopped him from his charitable efforts.

Stop Da Puck has learned of a very touching visit the injured netminder made to kids at Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Nov. 18 while his teammates were away on a road trip.

His uplifting visit was part of his involvement through his Steadfast Foundation, which he founded in the memory of his cousin Matthew Schoals' battle with leukemia until he died in 2007 at age 17. (FYI: I will host the red carpet at Steadfast's annual "Catwalk for Charity" fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 4.)

Roswell also just so happens to be where my father (and #1 fan/personal goalie coach) received chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer until he passed in 1995. So, obviously, Ryan's dedication to Roswell patients hits me close to home.

By the way, I'm told Ryan played games with the kids (they smoked him in Battleship, apparently) and offered up many goalie hugs to the kids.

Although I'm excited to see Ryan back ASAP between the pipes, I'm more excited to see that he realizes that there's more to life than just stopping da puck.

The kids sinking Ryan's battleships . . .



Ryan and Madisyn sharing a happy hug . . .



(Pictures courtesy of Joe Casio.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

PEKKA RINNE: WINNER ON & OFF ICE



Yes, Pekka Rinne is a world-class puck stopper. But during the Nashville Predators' recent swing through my part of the world, I also learned that Nashville's starting goalie (and 2011 Vezina Trophy finalist) is an equally classy guy.

Thanks to a very thoughtful introduction by my pals - Preds goalie coach Mitch Korn and head coach Barry Trotz - Pekka took some time to chat with the other two goalies in my house (yes, both my son and daughter are Mites hockey goalies!) before the team practice in El Segundo, California.

The 6-foot-5 Finn asked my son and daughter how their seasons were going ("goood" and "goood"), autographed some hats (as did the equally kind Nash backup Anders Lindback) and seemed genuinely interested in meeting two goalies who came up to his hips.

Despite days earlier inking a $7 million-a-season contract, Pekka proved he's got a big-time heart to go with that big-time paycheck.

Enjoy more pics from our very memorable family visit . . .

* "Uncle Mitch" already recruiting the kids for his summer goalie camp!:



* Barry Trotz didn't need to coach winning smiles from the lil' Baker goalies: