Sunday, February 15, 2004

Controlling the fate of some of the biggest names in hockey

There is one person who has the power to say yea or nay. One person that can change the outcome of a lineup, to whom the opinion of Coaches and GM's matters not. One person that will send accountants scurrying for an abacus, in order to calculate lost income over insurance premiums. Who is this mystery person, this omni powerful hockey controller.

The name is Karen Johnston. Yes, Karen Johnston. She may not balance the books, make the trades or draft a player, but her word is gospel. If she says you're done, buddy pack your bags you're going home. Karen Johnston is a neurologist in Montreal, and right now she's the most important player in the NHL.

The doctor to the stars, has already done a workup on Eric Lindros, continuing to test his noggin, after the numerous hits he's taken over his career. Lindros has yet to tip his hand about returning to the ice, or retiring from it. But he's mindful of the past history of his brother Brett and Pat Lafontaine, to name a few of the names gone from the game.

This week Karen's appointment book, is once again the focal point of hockey fans. Jeremy Roenick is penciled in for a look see, after suffering what he estimates to be his ninth concussion in his career. Not to mention a broken jaw and over 50 stitches of repairs. The doctor will put Roenick through his neurological paces this week, give him some time to rest up and then discuss his options with him. Roenick has gone so far as to say he's seriously thinking of retiring, after this latest incident in New York City a few nights ago.

Of course there is no shortage of medical advice available in Philadelphia. For their part Doctors Clarke and Hitchcock say ole Jeremy will be back in no time, nowhere near the six to eight weeks rumoured to be the minimum wait. Dr. Clarke, claiming he had no idea that Roenick had such a history, suggested that patient Roenick might be back in four weeks. Dr. Hitchcock of course ever the optimist, says Roenick is suffering more of an emotional condition at the moment and only needs some bed rest, then he should be back as good as new.

For Roenick there is one thing to keep in mind, Dr. Johnston has the medical diploma's on her side and possibly her patient's best interests at heart. He'll have to decide if Doctors Clarke and Hitchcock are of a similar philosophy.

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