Family of former Blackhawk Steve Montador sues NHL

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The family of former Blackhawks player Steve Montador (5) has filed a lawsuit against the NHL. Montador was found dead in his home at age 35 last February. An autopsy showed his brain had signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    The family of former Blackhawks player Steve Montador (5) has filed a lawsuit against the NHL. Montador was found dead in his home at age 35 last February. An autopsy showed his brain had signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer/2011 file

 
 
Updated 12/8/2015 11:03 PM

The family of one-time Blackhawk Steve Montador filed suit against the National Hockey League, alleging the league did not do enough to warn its players that repeated head trauma can cause long-term "mental health impairment."

Montador, who was with the Hawks during the 2011-12 season, had a 10-year NHL career. He was found dead in his home in February at the age of 35.

 

According to the lawsuit, the NHL "owed a duty" to Montador "to provide him with the most up-to-date medical information on all issues, including the risk of long-term brain damage."

An autopsy revealed that Montador, who had 15 documented concussions, suffered from a "widespread presence" of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

"Like the NFL was, (the NHL) is in denial. The NHL still refuses to accept the fact that its game creates permanent, progressive brain damage," attorney Thomas A. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio said in a statement.

Steve's father, Paul, said in a statement in May: "He always knew that there might be black eyes, broken bones and soft-tissue injuries -- but he never anticipated that playing the game he loved would result in such devastating impairment of his brain function."

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This suit comes during a time that the NHL also is fighting another similar suit filed by more than 100 players.

Back in action:

Defenseman David Rundblad played for the first time in more than five weeks Tuesday when the Blackhawks played Nashville at the United Center. He was in the lineup because Trevor Daley is out with an upper-body injury, which he suffered Sunday.

Rundblad, who carries a $1.05 million cap hit and is signed through next year, was happy for the chance and wanted to "go out there and try to have fun."

After the morning skate, coach Joel Quenneville told the media he wasn't worried about Rundblad being rusty.

"He's practiced hard, he's had a lot of hard skates, he's had a lot of opportunities to keep his game sharp," Quenneville said. "Obviously game situation is a different level, a different test. … He's doing what he can to be in there at any moment."

Ready, set, action:

Dennis Rasmussen, who was called up from Rockford on Monday, had quite the NHL debut Tuesday night as he scored 10:45 into the Hawks' game with the Predators. Rasmussen gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead when he redirected an Andrew Shaw shot past goalie Pekka Rinne.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I just woke up happy and of course a little bit nervous, too," Rasmussen said Tuesday morning. "But it feels better now after you skate. Hopefully I can just play simple the first shifts and get the nerves out."

Rasmussen, who centered the third line with Shaw and Bryan Bickell as his wingers, is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound Swede who has 20 goals and 21 assists in 105 games with the IceHogs since the beginning of last year. He agreed to a one-year free-agent deal with the Hawks on July 9.

Slap shots:

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday at the Board of Governors meeting in Pebble Beach, California, that he could see the salary cap rising by about $3 million next season. It sits at $71.4 million for 2015-16. … Coming into Tuesday's game vs. Nashville, the Hawks had at least 1 power-play goal in 17 of 27 games. … Duncan Keith was riding a six-game point streak coming into Tuesday.

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