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.' "
Christian and Chris talk about overrated Pats players this season and in the past and then get into the QB issue on the team. They talk about all three guys, what they bring to the table and if they can keep their head above water without the best QB in the league for 4 weeks. Then...Karlos Williams was released by the Bills - should the Pats consider adding the overweight second year running back? Christian also brings up Dante Scarnecchia and gets Price's opinion on if this one man can truly improve a shaky offensive line.
Christian Arcand is in for Tanguay for NFL Sunday with Chris Price. The guys talk about the victory over the Bears, Jimmy G's progress and their expectations for the Pats defense this season. Arcand thinks that there are more holes on the D than some fans realize.
We check in with Bill Belichick after the first Preseason game for our weekly "Patriots Monday" discussion.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Joe and Tim are joined by US Olympic Medalist and captain of the US Women's Gymnastics team Aly Raisman, as she was at Fenway to throw out the first pitch before the game.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts after the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1
David Price pitched a gem and Andrew Benintendi makes one of the top highlight catches of the year as the Sox take the first game of four against the Rays, 6-2. Christian Arcand recaps the game and takes all of your Sox calls.
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
The 8am hour Friday podcast with Kirk Minihane joined by Butch and Bradford. The guys start with the posted show host job description for Dino's replacement, then get back into the Brady preseason playing time discussion.
Kirk, Butch and Bradfo discuss a new NFL committee that has been formed with Goodell and Kraft, and whether Pats fans should have a problem with it.
Butch, Kirk, and Bradfo debate whether or not they believe the Red Sox will make the playoffs by seasons end
"Angry Lou" goes off yesterday's loss to Tampa Bay, in the process breaking the record for a human talking without taking a breath.
Tom Brady will play in tonight's Preseason game vs. the Panthers. Glenn, Lou, and Christian discuss the decision to play Brady.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian take a look at the Pats' O-Line, and the Tight End Position; focusing on A.J. Derby vs. Clay Harbor.
We discuss the role Mingo will play for the Patriots defense.
We discuss the ridiculous assignment of the selfishness label to Tom Brady this week (based on...?) and where it might be coming from.
In honor of tonight's game we look back at four moments where the Patriots and Panthers cross paths.
Kirk Minihane sits down with former producer Chris Curtis? Or is it current producer Chris Curtis? Either way, Kirk and Chris talk about what happened in their previous tenure together, where it went wrong, and why Curtis is now back with the show.
Kirk Minihane and Gary Tanguay sit down together on Enough About Me for the first time. These two divisive figures talk about Gary's career and his late evolution into a controversial broadcaster. Nobody is spared from Kirk and Gary's wrath on this episode and it will surely make some people at the two sports radio stations very uncomfortable.
The heart of draft season is upon us and as Jim and Pete gear up for their own big draft this weekend, this week’s podcast is filled with tips on Draft Strategy and how work your plan. Jim and Pete walk through the draft from the Elite players at the top, through the middle of the draft where you build your core, through the high upside targets at the back that can help steal you a league victory. Stars to sleepers and how to position yourself to get them are the topic of the day. Good luck with your drafts!
We are joined by David Amoyal or ESPNFC.com and GianlucaDiMarzio.com to talk about the transfer window closing and what may happen in the finals days of the summer.
The 8am hour Friday podcast with Kirk Minihane joined by Butch and Bradford. The guys start with the posted show host job description for Dino's replacement, then get back into the Brady preseason playing time discussion.More from this show