Sad news today as, on the eve of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, Ottawa assistant coach Mark Reeds has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was just 55.
"It is with very heavy hearts that all of us within the Senators family remember Mark who was truly a wonderful father, husband, player, coach and friend. Mark’s charismatic fighting spirit was present right until the end. We are all better for having had the opportunity to work so closely with Mark whose passion for life, hockey and his family will leave an indelible mark on our organization," said team owner Eugene Melnyk.
You know it must be a tough day for general manager Bryan Murray, who is bravely the face of stage four colon cancer in Ottawa and in hockey.
"He was a guy with great input," Murray said. "He didn't care if he was front and center. He never wanted to be front and center, it appeared to me. He always wanted to be the guy who helped the head coach and was well-respected by the players because of the way he interacted with them on a daily basis."
Murray was asked how Reeds passing would affect the Senators in the 2015 playoffs.
"I'm not sure how they will handle it," he said. "I'm hoping that they will handle it as Mark said in his last visit with them, 'Let's win it all.' So we're going to use that, hopefully, in a positive manner."
Reeds was an excellent player's coach because he was a player himself. Reeds played eight NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers in the 1980s. The forward had 45 goals and 114 assists in 365 games.
A real highlight of Reeds playing career came in the 1984 playoffs when he scored the double overtime winning goal in game three of the Blues series against Detroit. Reeds was part of a hot line with a young Doug Gilmour and Jorgen Petterson.
A couple of years later Reeds made headlines when he was sidelined with a most unusual injury. He suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns while making popcorn at home. The burns were so serious that surgery was required.