We bleed hockey, and Hockey Night in Canada’s closing montage illustrates the reasons why. The sweat and tears, the bruises and batterings, the sacrifices these players endure is uncanny.
The majority of the time, a team will not disclose a player’s injury to the public because, well, it is a tradition to reveal player’s injuries after their team is eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s why injury reports often read “lower-body or upper-body injury.” Thanks for the elaboration. But here is the thing, hockey players do not want injuries to be excuses, so they just skate on.
Basically, hockey players are warriors. They will play through anything — even the most excruciating pain, because that’s what they do. These soldiers do not let a little boo-boo or some missing teeth get in the way during the season, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where their pain threshold is on a whole new level. That’s the nature of these players, they will do anything and everything for their team: Take pucks to the face, hard hits to the boards and block shots with their bodies, regardless of the consequences. Hockey players powering through pain and suffering constantly amazes hockey fanatics and even athletes and fans of other sports. They leave it all on the ice to fight for their one goal: to raise Lord Stanley’s cup.
In the end, each team may or may not unveil their list of injuries. Here are some of the punishments players battled and kept hush-hush until their respective team was eliminated from the 2013 playoffs.
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin played with a torn ACL for the last month of the Ducks’ season.
Nick Bonino evidently was playing with a torn hamstring. He missed nearly 15 regular season games with a “lower-body injury” but gutted it out during the playoffs.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf battled through an ankle injury suffered in a game against the Dallas Stars on April 3rd. But it didn’t stop him from performing in the playoffs.
Defenseman Cam Fowler and forward Kyle Palmieri both played with shoulder injuries.
Toni Lydman suffered a head injury on an illegal hit from Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader in Game 3 of the quarterfinals, which earned Abdelkader a two-game suspension. Lydman missed the rest of the series. Check out the illegal hit. Lydman looks dazed and confused, to say the least:
Bryan Bickell had been playing with a Grade two knee sprain throughout the Stanley Cup Final. That usually calls for a 3-to-4 week recovery period. He sustained the injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings. He even had trouble getting back on his feet after the Detroit Red Wings’ Jonathan Ericsson delivered a huge hit on Bickell in the corner during the Western Conference Semifinals:
Marian Hossa was playing with a bad back.
Michal Handzus, the oldest player on the Hawks’ roster at 36, suffered a broken wrist and torn MCL, yet he logged an average of 16 minutes the last three games of the Cup Final. Handzus scored a short-handed goal on a rush with Brandon Saad in Game 4 in Boston with a broken wrist and a torn MCL. Now that’s dedication.
Andrew Shaw took a puck to the face during the first period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He returned to the ice in the second period. Ouch, what a warrior!
Patrice Bergeron was playing with a broken rib and torn cartilage he sustained during the Final series. He also separated his shoulder during Game 6 of the Cup Finals.
Nathan Horton, who was injured in overtime in Game 1 of the Cup Final, was also playing with a separated shoulder during the finals.
Gregory Campbell broke his right leg during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Campbell blocked Evgeni Malkin’s lazer shot and stayed on the ice to kill off the penalty even though he was in obvious pain. He is awarded the “most inspirational moment” in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Detroit Red Wings:
Forward Mikael Samuelsson sustained a shoulder injury that bothered throughout the playoffs.
Jimmy Howard played with a pulled hamstring at the end of the Anaheim Duck series. He still managed to make spectacular saves against the Blackhawks.
Daniel Cleary suffered a separated left shoulder and a fractured left finger after he was slammed into the boards by Anaheim’s Daniel Winnik in Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs:
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was hammered in Game 5 by Chicago forward Bryan Bickell. He was also reportedly playing with a hurt shoulder in addition to injuring his hand against the Ducks in round one:
Before the puck dropped in Game 1, goaltender Niklas Backstrom skated during warm-ups. Backstrom was diagnosed with a sports hernia that will need surgery during this offseason.
Los Angeles Kings:
Center Mike Richards sustained a concussion in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Blackhawks. He missed games 2, 3 and 4 but returned for game 5.
Forward Justin Williams was playing with a separated shoulder. No one would ever know as he scored big goal after big goal in the playoffs.
Jarret Stoll was sidelined with a suspected concussion after an illegal blow to the head by Sharks Raffi Torres in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Watch this wicked hit below (be careful, your head might hurt after viewing):
Defenseman Drew Doughty was battling an ankle injury.
Team captain Dustin Brown suffered a posterior cruciate knee ligament tear. Maybe that is the reason he was a ghost on the ice in the playoffs?
Jeff Carter needed 20 stitches and damaged some teeth after a high stick to the face from Chicago’s Duncan Keith in Game 3. Keith was suspended one game for the incident. Below is the video of the cheap shot by Keith. Carter still looks cute with the “scratch” on his chin:
Coach Darryl Sutter was also on the Kings’ injury report list. He had double-hernia surgery. Get well soon, coach!
San Jose Sharks:
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic played with hairline fracture in his right foot, which he injured during Game 4. The team doctors froze it every game so he could play the remainder of Sharks’ season.
Forward Logan Couture disclosed he was playing with a sprained ankle since Game 3. He said it had zero impact on his game.
Defenseman Justin Braun had an operation on his left hand, which bothered him all season. In Game 6 against the Kings, Braun suffered a mystery injury and needed help off the ice but returned soon after.
Martin Havlat underwent bi-lateral pelvic floor reconstruction June 24.
Paul Martin was playing with a significant injury in the last few games of the Eastern Conference Finals, but neither coach Bylsma nor Martin revealed the degree of the injury.
Captain Sidney Crosby gave fans a scare in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston when Bruins winger Daniel Paille blindsided Crosby, who fell to the ice with a whiplash motion. The Penguins center has a history of concussions and was recovering from breaking his jaw after being struck in the mouth by a puck against the Islanders back in March. Below is the Crosby scare, he gets hit hard!
New York Islanders:
Andrew MacDonald left Game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one of the playoffs after taking a shot off the hand in the second period. It was first reported as an “upper-body injury.” Ah the vague revelation. Yes, indeed he broke his hand.
Frans Nielsen lower-body injury took him out in the second period of Game 5 against the Penguins.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Mark Fraser sustained a frontal fracture to his forehead during round 1 against the Boston Bruins. The injury occurred during Game 4 when Boston forward Milan Lucic attempted a shot that hit Fraser in the head. Fraser immediately fell to the ice, dripping in blood. Here is the video. (Warning, it’s a brutal hit to the head, so watch with caution):
Mike Kostka broke his finger in the second period of Game 1 when Kaspars Daugavins shot the puck into Toronto’s end and the puck found Kostka’s hand. The Toronto defenseman persevered through the discomfort.
Tyler Bozak originally suffered a bicep injury during the Leafs’ game in Tampa Bay on April 24 but battled through the pain until he was forced to miss the final two games of the season.
Alex Ovechkin played the last two games of the season with a hairline fracture in his left foot. The Capitals star forward was hurt during Game 6 of Washington’s first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers. It is speculated he sustained the injury after blocking a shot early in the first period and hobbling to the bench:
Martin Erat suffered a dislocated left elbow in Game 4 against the Rangers.
New York Rangers:
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto underwent surgery in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia.
Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in each of their left shoulders.
Forward Lars Eller suffered a concussion, plus facial and dental fractures after taking the unforgettable, brutal hit from Ottawa defenceman Eric Gryba in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. This is one of the worst hits we have seen. You can see this vicious blow in the video below. A sign of caution though — It is extremely gruesome!
Goaltender Carey Price was diagnosed with a lower-body injury to his knee. He could have been out 4-6 weeks if team went deeper into the playoffs.
Forward Brian Gionta sat out Games 2 and 4 in the first-round against the Ottawa Senators with what was reported as an upper body injury. His injury was later disclosed as torn left biceps. Montreal’s captain was limited to 31 games in the previous season with a similar injury.
Brandon Prust suffered from the famous “upper-body injury.” Prust had a rib separate from its cartilage during Game 4 in the first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators and left OT in extreme pain, before pushing the rib back in himself. That is crazy.
Max Pacioretty played Games 3, 4 and 5 with separated shoulder.
Tomas Plekanec admitted he was playing for about a month with a painful groin injury.
Center Jason Spezza sustained a torn meniscus in his knee while training after back surgery. He powered through it and joined his team for the final three games of the Senators’ Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Goaltender Cory Schneider missed the first two games of the playoffs due to a tweaked groin.
St. Louis Blues
Goaltender Jaroslav Havlak missed the playoffs because of a late-season groin injury.
These are just the “minor” aches and pains hockey players undergo as they play the sport they love. Some consider these athletes the toughest in all sports while others feel they are stupid for continuing to fight through the bumps and bruises. What do you think? Is it all worth the risk just to win the best trophy in all of sports: Lord Stanley’s Cup?
RYOT NOTE: Wow! We can’t imagine the physical toll hockey puts on these players. But these athletes will dismiss such ailments as bumps and bruises along the way. It’s always a blast when teams unveil the “mystery” injuries. Ah, ice hockey — the brutal but beautiful sport. If only all kids had the access to participate in this excitement. That’s why we love Good Sports. They help to lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles by providing athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. If you want to support their amazing work click on the gray box alongside this story, consider donating and Become The News!