I got to meet him a couple of times, he was a shy kid who looked as if he was wondering what the fuss was all about. So much was made about Alexi Cherepanov and when he would join the Rangers but the one thing I had always wondered about was did anyone ever ask Cherepanov what he ever wanted.
We will not get a chance to find out as Ranger fans everywhere mourn the loss of Alexi Cherepanov at 19. By now you have heard enough different versions that only one thing really matters which is that Cherepanov is gone and we are all left wondering how could this happen?
At first the biggest problem I had was the differing reports that described what happened to Cherepanov but now more than anything else I am more bothered by seeing that people are posting the tape of Cherepanov collapsing on the Omsk bench. What news value is there in showing what was part of his final moments?
I am both saddened and disgusted by those who posted the video under the guise of "the need to know". I am sure those who posted that clip will find some reason to justify why they posted the video but don't bother telling me as I do not think anything can justify watching someone suffer.
In today's instant coverage of the news there are times where compassion and good taste get lost. I guess that is why I will remain a small fish in the media world because I am not going to cause anyone some pain just so I can gain hits or attention. I look at it as if maybe if that was someone you cared about who was suffering and the whole world was getting to watch it then you (we hope) would think differently.
It does not matter in the end whether an ambulance left early or was there a working defibrillator as I have this very bad feeling that when all the medical tests are run that the final cause of death with be something called Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM is a disease of the mycardium (the muscle of the heart) in which a portion of the myocardium is hypertrophied (thickened) without any obvious cause. It is perhaps most famous as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes in all sports.
The occurrence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a significant cause of sudden unexpected cardiac death in any age group and as a cause of disabling cardiac symptoms.
The reason why I believe this to be the case is because of the picture of the young man on our left is Mickey Renaud who like Cherepanov passed away at age 19 out of nowhere.
If you were not aware last February 18th, Renaud was with friends at home when he collapsed and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. It was as shocking a loss to the Spitfires (and Calgary Flames who held his draft rights) as it is today to both fans of the Rangers and the Avangard Omsk.
So now the biggest question on everyone's mind is how come nobody detected this during all the medical testing that an athlete undergoes? From what we have learned sadly via experience is that unless a doctor knows exactly what to look for then it can escape detection.
Sometimes somebody gets lucky and they catch it before someone loses their life as was the case of David Carle the kid brother of Matt Carle who plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carle withdrew from the 2008 NHL Entry Draft after being told by doctors that he also had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Carle was lucky as while at the NHL Prospect Combine it was a questionable EKG that alerted the testers to suggest Carle that he undergo further testing. It may have meant that Carle had to give up his hockey career but Carle was the lucky one.
There is only one really true confirmed fact and that is at just 19, Alexi Cherepanov is no longer with us. As we sit and wonder how this could have happened the first thing that comes to mind is what did everyone miss?
The answer is that we do not know and maybe when we see that 3 talent hockey players having been determined to suffer from a heart ailment (if HCM is the final cause) then all of the hockey world will put aside their petty childish differences and work together to find a way to catch this disease before another talented young man suffers.
While this is not meant to be my version of playing doctor as I will leave that to the experts but rather I am hoping that people will realize that if a reportedly healthy 19 year old could see his life end so quickly and without warning then what about the rest of us?
Thanks to an EKG test they were able to catch Carle's HCM so my hope is that if just one of you reading this picks up the phone and calls his doctor to schedule a test then something good will come out of this tragedy.
Forget the finger pointing and go get yourself tested as I know firsthand what the pain of losing someone to a heart attack feels like. I lost my own father when I was just 20 so if no matter what your age is; if you care about those around you then get yourself checked out.
Now we will never get to know what Cherepanov could have done and that is the biggest shame as no 19 year old is supposed to die no matter what the reason.
So now that you finished reading this, how about picking up the telephone and making an appointment to take an EKG?
After all I want you to be reading Prospect Park for a very long time.
One last thing before I cover the Prospects as someone told me about a great picture about Dubinsky showing his heart
If you do not know that was Brandon Dubinsky consoling Nickolai Zherdev on the Ranger bench during the warmups.
It is a huge reason why Brandon Dubinsky is so special a person.
Evgeny Grachev had a power play assist as his Brampton Battalion ended a 4 game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Sudbury Wolves. Grachev is now 0-3-3 in 6 games and was the starting Left Wing for Brampton.
Michael Del Zotto had an assist in a losing cause as his Oshawa Generals lost to the London Knights 6-3. Del Zotto is 1-7-8 in 9 games for the Generals.
A belated Happy Thanksgiving to our friends up in Canada.
(Cherepanov-Avangard Omsk, Renaud-Windsor Spitfires, Carle-NHL Media, Dubinsky-Sportsline.com)
6 hours ago