To call it a shocking turn of events doesn't do it justice. It was devastating, horrifying, and entirely without foreshadowing.
When put into narrative context, it makes sense- and really it clarifies a number of recent episodes. But it was so entirely out of the blue that I had trouble reconciling it with the narrative at first. This started me wondering about hockey (of course).
There's been a lot of e-ink spilled on "What would happen if an NHL player/team/etc. died in a similar vein to the KHL crash?", so I'm not interested in that. What intrigues me is this idea of something happening so far out of the blue in the course of an NHL season. The Iginla, Bouwmeester, and hell- even Phaneuf trades- we all saw from a mile away, but what about Gretzky? Were there rumors? I was a wee child at the time, so I can't really say. In fact, most of my hockey fandom (starting in roughly 2002ish) has been in the era of the internet, where rumors abound. When a player is traded, nobody's really surprised, are they?
The manner in which the trade happened might be strange (Mike Cammelleri or Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust, for example), but they tend to be predictable in the sense that they happen.
Would serious injuries like the one to Marc Savard be closer in terms of narrative?
Anyways, it's just something to think about as the Flames probably lose to the Ducks tonight, although Anaheim has not been great lately and that's hilarious.