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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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New York Rangers center Dominic Moore returned to the ice Monday for the first NHL action since 2012, and the reason for his 17-month departure is enough to break your heart.

The 33-year-old Moore spent all of last season away from the game as he cared for his wife, Katie, who died in January at age 32 after a fight with a rare form of liver cancer.

Moore started the Katie Moore Foundation in honor of his wife, and as a way to help others who are dealing with rare forms of cancer. And now he’s focusing his attention back on playing — and finding comfort in — the game he loves.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Moore told the New York Daily News after scoring the Rangers’ only goal in Monday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

“But there were some good things and some things I know will come. At the same time, everything’s new. The whole team is new, the coaching staff is new. So there are adjustments to be made all over the place.”

The Rangers originally drafted Moore in 2000 from Harvard, where he played with his brothers, Mark and Steve. Mark played three seasons before retiring due to injuries, and Steve's career ended in March 2004 as a result of the infamous Todd Bertuzzi attack.

But Dominic played on, making stops at Pitttsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay and San Jose before stepping away from the game to tend to Katie. And now, playing in Katie’s honor, he’s hoping to bring some veteran leadership and a strong presence to the club that drafted him.

“You can’t say enough about his dedication, work ethic and the quality person he is,” former Ranger Adam Graves, the club’s head of hockey and business operations, told the New York Times. “He’s the type of player everyone can learn from.”

Now, for some links:

• Miami tight end Clive Walford has found maturity through fatherhood.

• A bunch of teenagers threw a huge party at the home of former NFL O-lineman Brian Holloway while Holloway was away, causing an estimated $20,000 in damages.

Via SB Nation, this will never not be funny:

• SI.com's Chris Mannix tells a great story about the time he had to buy beer for Allen Iverson:

• Koji Uehara's retired batters streak ended at 37 — four shy of Bobby Jenks' record.

• You know you want to read Larry Brooks commenting on life without John Tortorella.

• Nationals players wore Navy caps during warmups on Tuesday:

• An equine facility is helping retired thoroughbreds in Florida.

• Matt Harvey is opting for rehab over surgery to fix his ailing elbow.

• Jerry Seinfeld dropped in on the Mets broadcast booth:

There will certainly be fireworks if Gilbert Arenas makes the Los Angeles Clippers roster:

• Danieal Manning stands up to bullying in schools.

• Tulane player may miss game after father dies in stunt plane crash.

• Oklahoma compliance officers are all about Grand Theft Auto V:

• Was the Iowa football robbery an inside job?

• A Change.org petition to have GWAR play the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show has more than 20,000 signatures.

• Mark Wahlberg talks, shoots hoops with the Bulls:

• Notre Dame won again, so Trick Shot Monday came back:

• Matt Cooke is working to change his bad-boy image with the Minnesota Wild.

• Mike from Breaking Bad says the Redskins should change their name.

• I don’t know if this is real, but I like to believe that it is:

• Bernard Pollard doesn’t seem thrilled about his $42,000 fine:

• Former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas talked about his return to the ice with the Florida Panthers.

• And the winner of the Orioles fan-designed T-shirt is...

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