Former Bruins enforcer Lyndon Byers, now a morning co-host at WAAF, joined sister station WEEI Friday morning for a discussion about problems with brain damage caused by repeated hits to the head in hockey.
Wade Belak died this week -- reportedly a suicide -- and became the third NHL enforcer of playing age to die in the last four months, joining Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard.
Byers said he's not treating Belak's case the same as the previous two.
"Sad coincidence," Byers said. "I expected a knee-jerk reaction. It's very, very sad that Wade Belak hung himself. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. I think it's completely separate from Rypien and [Boogaard]. To be honest, I think all three deaths are completely separate.
"The Boogaard incident, he was doing drugs with his brother and overdosed. His brother might be going to jail for that. Rick Rypien dealt with depression. Millions of Americans -- millions and millions and millions, in the hundreds of millions of Americans -- deal with depression. So, is it hockey? I beg to differ. I do not think it's hockey.
"You add the fact that Wade Belak just retired. I went through it. I wasted a year-and-a-half of my life, ended up in rehab because I was one of those guys who didn't plan to do something after hockey. I was just living the good life, living the dream, enjoying it. When it was all said and done, I was lost."
That said, Byers acknowledged that hockey is a sport that leads to physical problems.
"The human body wasn't made to run into a wall over and over and over and over and over and over again for 60 minutes," he said. "That's what happens in hockey."
Added Byers: "The game is a physical, violent game. There's going to be a worst-case scenario. My point to you is, it's amazing, I think, that there's not more Wade Belaks, Derek Boogaards, [Rick] Rypiens."
Asked how the sport has affected his post-hockey health, Byers said: "Physically, I feel the effects already. I have awful, awful arthritis in my hand. My back just about a year ago is acting up to the point where I'm actually back trying to lose some weight, get back to some decent amount of weight so that I can walk and play with my 18-month-old son.
"Do I worry that I'm going to lose my mind and maybe commit suicide? I do not think about it. … I don't pee and moan about how bad I feel because I played pro hockey and was a meathead for 13 years. My life has been a gift, I signed on the line and I played a role and played a game — like I said, I played a game that's very violent."
Byers said the people running the NHL and the Bruins care about the sport, and now it's up to the skaters to make a difference.
"The executives, they truly care about their sport," he said. "I've talked to Cam [Neely], Donny Sweeney, those guys truly care. They don't want to see Marc Savard not play hockey again. They want to try to change the rules. But ultimately when it comes down to it, it's the players that have to respect the other player and say, 'I'm not going to elbow this guy in the squash to win this game because I might end his career.' "
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Rob Bradford is joined by Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox pitcher who so many are wondering if he will be able to live up the value placed on him by the Red Sox when trading away top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza last July. Pomeranz goes into detail regarding his injury last season, the stem cell treatment he underwent in the offseason, and how he thinks things stand heading into the 2017 campaign.
Rob Bradford is joined by Tom Caron, the man responsible for guiding the ship when it comes to Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, along with various other important duties with the New England Sports Network, including offering the play-by-play for both TV and radio throughout spring training. Tom and Rob discuss a variety of topics, such as nickname conundrums, radio vs. television, criticizing the team, behind-the-scenes for the broadcasts and where the industry is going.
Rob Bradford is joined by two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin, who is attempting a comeback with the Red Sox this spring. Quentin's path back to baseball involves almost quitting the game less than a year ago, losing 40 pounds and trying to sell himself to general managers all over Major League Baseball. Quentin explains his journey, which has led him to the back fields at JetBlue Park.
Hour 4. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry discuss the upcoming Red Sox season. Michael Irvin is being investigated for sexual assault, again. Renee Graham, from the Globe, thinks Michael Che is right about Boston being racist.
Hour 3. Trenni battles Gerry on immigration. Joe Mixon’s future is discussed. Curtis will get a second chance at music trivia on Friday.
Hour 2. Trenni, Gerry, and Kirk discuss Joe Mixon’s draft chances. A horrible hazing story from Texas is the topic in headlines. Keefe responded to Kirk (kind of).
HOUR 4 - The guys talked about Tuukka's rebound game last night against the Predators, Glenn had a squirrel moment when ESPN started talking about Joe Mixon, Tom Brady was compared to Kobe Bryant, and Holley says the Celtics can win the title.
HOUR 3 - Did Butler's camp screw up Butler's situation? Glenn exposes one of Fauria's verbal crutches. The guys try to come up with some new podcast names and ideas.
HOUR 2 - Fauria struggles to read the "Trending Now." Dave Dombrowski is getting defensive about the fact that all his free agent pitching acquisitions are getting injured. Hanley forgets which shoulder he hurt 2 years ago. Lou loses it when John Farrell makes up some new baseball lingo.
The NFL commissioner is claiming that he will attend the opener at Gilette Stadium next fall... does this put Deflategate to bed finally? Or will Roger find a way to duck out of his verbal commitment?
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe discuss the Patriots off-season and it becomes a conversation about longevity for Brady and Belichick, and which will be around longer for this team.
Dale, Michael and Rich discuss our guest Michael Irvin being implicated in a sexual assault case - important to note that details are scarce at this time and no charges have been filed to this point.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
SI's Richard Deitsch returns to the podcast to talk with Kirk about the K&C casting couch, how ESPN wimps out when they are called out for slander, what's going on with Bill Simmons, and the rise of podcasting.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis have the Tuesday & Wednesday recap from the K&C show, including Kirk's epic rant at Dale & Holley with Keefe.
Rich Keefe is joined by Dale Arnold and Ben Kichen to preview WrestleMania 33. Is it a good card? What will be the best match? Plus Ryan Davey is in for "This Week in #DORK" with a look a couple new trailers and the always great "Black Panther Reads #DORK iTunes Reviews."
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill go over the difficulties of staying healthy through the long grind of the playoffs in the NBA and in the NHL.
Hour 2. Kirk responds to Keefe’s shot at him. Alex says America is to blame for 9/11 in Headlines. Alex says the U.S. should let as many people in as possible.More from this show
Hour 4. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry discuss the upcoming Red Sox season. Michael Irvin is being investigated for sexual assault, again. Renee Graham, from the Globe, thinks Michael Che is right about Boston being racist.More from this show
Hour 1. Roger Goodell is going to New England, Belichick wore the same clothes, and O’Reilly commented on Maxine Waters’ hair. Renee Graham, from the Boston Globe, thinks Boston is racist.More from this show
Hour 2. Trenni, Gerry, and Kirk discuss Joe Mixon’s draft chances. A horrible hazing story from Texas is the topic in headlines. Keefe responded to Kirk (kind of).More from this show
Hour 3. Trenni battles Gerry on immigration. Joe Mixon’s future is discussed. Curtis will get a second chance at music trivia on Friday.More from this show