Blake under the gun

SCOTT MORRISON -- For Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

He bravely announced the devastating news himself, then played in his first game as collectively horrible as it turned out to be, and he has dutifully answered all the questions, shared all the emotions.

Indeed, from the moment Jason Blake told his teammates, then the hockey world, he was suffering from cancer, he has shown remarkable strength and courage, determination and candour.

He has handled it, outwardly at least, as well as you could ever hope.

But now it is time to leave Jason Blake the cancer patient alone.

ADVERSITY

Bother the hockey player, just leave the patient alone.

It is entirely up to Blake, of course, whether he wants to continue to talk, or how often he wants to talk about his battle with chronic myelogenous leukemia, about having to take a hopefully "magic pill" each day and carrying on with his life and his hockey career.

In the face of all this adversity, he has the opportunity as a well-known professional athlete to send a message about preventative medicine and hope that will resonate with the public and other victims.

It is not an obligation, but an opportunity and hopefully one he is able and comfortable enough to embrace.

Sitting down to do interviews on occasion, to share his thoughts and update his progress, would also probably be as good for him as it would be for the people who care and those numbers have grown considerably with each passing day.

His battle with his illness should not be forgotten, or overlooked by the media, it just doesn't need to be chronicled on a daily basis, no matter the appetite for information.

For now, for Jason Blake the hockey player, we all need to understand it is time to allow him to move on because a big part of why he is continuing to play hockey, when it would have been easy and understandable to steal away for a while and contemplate life, is to retain a sense of normalcy in his existence.

"I think to get it off my chest and to move forward is a big weight lifted," he said the other day, the second day in a row which he admirably talked about it and answered more questions.

For him, as he suggested, it was cathartic to get it out and it will be even more cathartic to focus, even for a few hours on game night, or at practice, on something else, to forget about the other things that are going on in his suddenly confusing world.

Undoubtedly, because of the freshness of the news and because this is Hockey Fights Cancer month and because people care, everywhere Blake goes he will be asked to discuss his battle, but he is entitled to decide when he wants to talk about it, how and how much.

Which means a unique relationship is now developing between Blake and the media, in particular, who can ask the questions about his health, but who also have to be prepared to accept the answer that he is entitled to his privacy and to decide when the time is right.

It is even more unique because, normally, when an athlete has suffered from a disease, he has been forced to leave the team to wage his fight, but happily this situation is different.

As such, the relationship will have to evolve, with the media willing to respect Blake's privacy, and Blake understanding that people genuinely care about how he is doing.

It also doesn't excuse him from having to answer for what is happening on the ice, as a member of the team, even as it pertains to how his health might be impacting.

Like we said, bother the player, not the patient, though at times they will be difficult to separate.


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