One NHLer I have become increasingly impressed by is Patrick Eaves.
The Anaheim Ducks power forward with the big beard achieved a rare feat last season, having his career best season at the age of 32. That does not happen very often.
Eaves reluctantly joined the Ducks mid-season as the then-unrestricted free agent to be could not get him under contract. Eaves found a perfect fit with the dastardly Ducks, even supplanting Corey Perry from Ryan Getzlaf's right side on the top line.
Despite the age of both Eaves and Getzlaf, there seemed little concern about Eaves production falling. The Ducks signed him to a nice three year, $9.5 million deal in the off-season and he seemed like a big part of the Ducks continued push for the Stanley Cup.
Hockey was probably the least of Eaves' concerns earlier this season. By now you have heard that Eaves has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare and strange disease that somehow causes the immune system to attack the nervous system.
The good news is it is treatable and he will make a full recovery, but he is expected to be out for weeks or even months.
Its a tough thing for most of us to relate to. So kudos to Jared Clinton of The Hockey News for finding a previous hockey link involving this rare disease. Clinton tells us the story of Serge Payer, former Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators fringe player. He also tells us a lot more about the disease.
Based on the article it appears Payer will (or perhaps already has by now) reach out to Eaves to help in a more direct role. Beyond that, Payer has set up the Serge Payer Foundation to help raise funds and awareness to the fight against Guillain-Barre Syndrome.