Monday, November 21, 2005



I was listening to the Wings game online as I was preparing a post titled WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY PARENTS AMERICA when it happened. Play was stopped and all eyes in the arena turned toward the Red Wings bench, where the team's trainers and doctor were frantically working on a player. Almost immediately, they began performing CPR on the player, who was lying on the floor in the runway. Because of the crowd surrounding him, no one could make out his number. After a few minutes, an ambulance arrived at the Zamboni entrance, and Kris Draper and Robert Lang quickly skated over and retrieved the stretcher. Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shannahan escorted a young women across the ice to the Wing's bench.

I am sure that every old time Detroit sports fan had the same ugly flashback that I did. Oct. 24, 1971. Tiger Stadium. The Bear's Dick Butkus frantically waving to the sidelines for medical help as the rest of the two teams huddled. Second year wide receiver Chuck Hughes lying motionless on the turf. Lions players had thought he was faking an injury to stop the clock. However, Butkis had seen him collapse, and new immediately it was serious. Hughes was never revived. The 24 yr old had died of a massive heart attack brought on by amphetamine use. It would be 20 years before the Lions franchise would recover. And to this day I can see the scene as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. At the small college I attended here in South Bend, the majority guys living on campus were either from northern Indiana or metro Detroit. So when the Lions and Bears played the TV room in the dorm was filled with rival fans. I was sitting on a leather couch on the north wall facing the TV. Seated next to me was a fellow Pontiac native, Doyle Perry. I don't think I have ever been in a room full of men that was so quiet as that group. You could literally hear big Doyle's heart beat.

So it was that day in 1971 that was on my mind when the announcement came over the PA that 25 yr old Jiri Fisher was breathing on his own, but still unconscious. A few minutes later, it was announced that the league office had postponed the game, but that Fisher was awake at the hospital and talking to his fiance.

It had been an odd scene in the stands at the Joe. Nobody could see what was going on, and people were standing in the upper concourse frantically calling friends or family to find out what was going on. Then someone would rush down and relay the news to the people in their section. Because the radio and OLN crews were on top of the news, the fans actually knew long before the announcement came that Fisher had been revived and the game was going to be called. Yet most of them stayed, as if to make sure the news was really good.

The official line is that he suffered a seizure, although I don't recall ever seeing anyone's heart stop beating from a seizure. I'm sure we'll know more tomorrow. As for me, I am going to sit down, pop a beer, and breath a very audible sigh of relief.

When I read about it online, I thought of Clint Malarchuk, and how lucky he was that he was tending goal on the zamboni door side that period. I finally saw a video of what happened to him a couple of years ago. Even though I know he's fine and all, it was still the freakiest thing I had ever seen. I watch horror movies and see blood all the time, but it's diffrent when you know it really happened, that it's real blood, even if you know he came out of it alright.

I hope everything is fine with Fisher. Very scary moment.
Has there been any news? I hope he's okay by now.

I think we all have these memories.
WOW! What a heart stopper. I remember Dennis Byrd with his broken neck. A real heartbreak. At least he lived and is doing rather well with his supportive wife and kids.

It may be a little late, but I have a TON of recipes up at my blog for Thanksgiving. Really yummy!

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving my friend and favorite Mark Spurrier. Keep warm up there!
You have to wonder if Fisher realizes how lucky he is this morning. If he had been anyplace else but on the bench at the Joe, where the team doctor was literally 15 secs. away, he'd be dead. He's probably worried about his career, but he is incredibly cky to be alive.
Nic, thanks, hope you have a terrifc one too. Looks like ours might be white!
Can you pleeeease send some snow my way? It's going to be in the stinking 80's here for Thanksgiving Day. SIGH! I wish our weather would make up its mind - and NOT decide on summer for fall/winter.

I'm adding SEVERAL desserts in a little while to the blog. From Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp to Lattice Apple Pie to Homemade Pumpkin Pie. About 10 dessert recipes in all.
I heard about this morning and right away I knew The GWB had something to say about it...thanks for the in-depth report. Hope he continues to do OK.
I don't know nutin bout hockey, but if you are happy Dear One, I am happy!!
Your comment about Chuck Hughes and the use of amphetamines is totally baseless and untrue. First, Chuck was 28 years old and he died of a heart attack brought on by heart disease that was caused by high cholesterol.
hey anon... grow some balls and take responsiblility for your statements.

The fact that Hughes had amphetimes in his sytsem at the time of his collapse was widley reported in the media. So how is it in bad taste to repeat what was widely reported?

And why would you comment on a two year old post, anyhow?
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