REGARDLESS of your NHL allegiance, if you are not rooting for the Rangers' Dominic Moore next season you need to go out and get a heart.
Moore, 32, who began his career with the Rangers and has since played for eight other NHL teams, took a leave of absence from the San Jose Sharks during the 2012 playoffs when his wife, Katie, began her battle with liver cancer. Moore did not play last season, either, as Katie lost that battle on Jan. 7, at age 32.
Shortly before the lockout ended later that month, the Rangers approached Moore about a comeback. He declined.
"Just the timing of everything at that time just didn't work out," Moore said Wednesday. "Everything kind of came to a head, unfortunately, at an inopportune time back in January. It was a very, very difficult decision to not play. But at the same time it was definitely the right decision.
"The months after that gave me a chance to regroup and clear my head. I think going through -- if anyone has had to care for someone with cancer -- it's a battle that the whole family is in. It's something that, after you've been through that, you kind of need some time to reorganize... just kind of regroup."
So Moore stayed in shape, skating, working out with the tennis team at his alma mater, Harvard, and considering a comeback.
Last week, as an unrestricted free agent, Moore returned to the Rangers on a one-year, $1 million contract.
But hockey is secondary, still, obviously. A distraction, almost. A healer, perhaps.
Because unless you've been through what Moore has, it's impossible to understand. He was asked to describe it.
"That's a question that could probably take a lifetime to answer," Moore said. "Obviously, in a way, the ups and downs throughout the course of dealing with the disease and what we went through there, it's a lot to kind of describe in one simple answer."
Moore, whose brother Steve's NHL career ended infamously in 2004 with a fractured vertebrae and concussion in the vicious Todd Bertuzzi attack, said the hockey family played a large part in his getting through this part of his life.
-- McClatchy News Service