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Thursday afternoon notes: NHL and NHLPA promise examination into player deaths

The following joint statement was issued by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr in light of recent events:

"Everyone at the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association is profoundly saddened by the loss, within a matter of a few weeks, of three young men, each of whom was in the prime of his life.

"While the circumstances of each case are unique, these tragic events cannot be ignored. We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place. Our organizations are committed to a thorough evaluation of our existing assistance programs and practices and will make immediate modifications and improvements to the extent they are deemed warranted.

"It is important to ensure that every reasonable step and precaution is taken to make NHL Players, and all members of the NHL family, aware of the vast resources available to them when they are in need of assistance. We want individuals to feel comfortable seeking help when they need help.

"NHL Clubs and our fans should know that every avenue will be explored and every option pursued in the furtherance of this objective."    

While you're reading this afternoon's notes, listen to this assortment of sound clips assembled by 102.5 The Game's Charlie Saunier, which captures how the news broke yesterday during the Aaron Solomon Show, and includes the radio call of Wade Belak's last NHL goal, which came against the Preds while he played with Toronto.

10 Bells for Belak 1025 The Game (mp3)

Then follow on for your hockey news...

Nashville Predators News

Twitter / @LukeDeCock: Canes and Preds will each ...
Luke DeCock reports that the Predators and Hurricanes will each broadcast 40 games into the Atlanta market this season.

Paul McCann - Remembering Wade
Paul had the best seat in the house to watch Wade Belak throw down with the NHL's toughest scrappers, but it was off the ice where he made the biggest impact with people.

The Tragic Passing of Wade Belak: Jennifer, Andie, Alex.. Our Thoughts are With You | Leafs Nation Online
A host of newspaper, video and radio interviews to remember Wade by.

In Memoriam: A Personal Reaction to Wade Belak’s Passing | The Predatorial
Jeremy recalls Wade's appearance at the Nashville Zoo in 2010.

The Recent Evolution of Hockey in Nashville and "The Predator Way" - Nashville
Buddy Oakes makes the latest appearance in the Preds' guest blogging series.

Smashville 24/7: 2011-12 Preview: Patric Hornqvist
Ryan makes a stab at how many goals Horn Dog might pop in this season.

Thoughts on the passing of Wade Belak - Predators Insider
Josh shares his experience covering Wade as a member of the team.

Around the NHL

Spector on Belak: Fighting chance -
Good stuff here from Mark Spector on the role of the enforcer, and whether or not banning fighting would actually solve any of the problems people are discussing.

So Vinny Prospal, You Want to be a Blue Jacket? - The Cannon
Get to know a little bit about a guy who could prove to be a nice addition for the Blue Jackets.

NHL TV Partners Need to Help Explain Player Tragedies " Puck The Media
Steve wants to see Versus, CBC, TSN, etc. engage in a conversation about the laundry list of issues that may or may not have played a role in the early demise of 3 NHL players this summer. Short of a full-fledged special program (or mini-series) on the topic, however, I fail to see what a few minutes of talking head time is going to do.

Ten Reasons why Lubo wasn't nominated for the Norris Trophy - Battle of California
Um, #4 is a pretty big one, I think.