Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/05/09 at 09:13 PM ET
Erik Cole has played a lot of games for the Carolina Hurricanes. He has also missed a lot of games with injuries. He plays hard, and sometimes he plays recklessly. Even after his gruesome neck fracture in March of 2006, he continues to play and hit hard, which leaves him vulnerable to injury.
We all know all about Cole’s fracture of the c-5 vertebrae. He missed a total of 45 games (22 regular season, 23 playoff), and returned for games six and seven of the SCF. When he returned, he hadn’t lost any of that recklessness, and it made us all a little nervous. Nervous because we know how Cole plays and we know that he could get hurt again at any second.
There’s a long list of injuries that Cole has suffered throughout his career. Most of them normal, some of them freak. This latest one, unfortunately, is a familiar injury for Cole. It’s also beginning to sound like a broken record around here. “Erik Cole was injured in the game… Erik Cole was injured in the game… Erik Cole was injured in the game.”
On January 30, 2003, the Hurricanes were getting smoked by the Lightning when Cole collided with Dan Boyle, and he ended up with a broken bone in his left leg. He missed the last 19 games of the season, and the Canes finished dead last in the league. To give you an idea of how bad the Canes were, Jeff O’Neill led the team with just 61 (30/31) points. Cole was having a pretty decent Sophomore season with 27 (14/13) games trough 53 games.
Two things that are interesting about that game. First, it was Martin St. Louis’ first hat trick. He had all three goals in a 3-1 romp over the Canes. Second, the lone Canes goal was scored by Jeff Heerema, who is now more famous for being cousin to the Staal boys. It was one of only four goals in his NHL career.
The following season, Cole missed two games from separate minor injuries, and after that, the nightmare began.
Cole hadn’t missed any games in 05-06 prior to the neck injury, and was performing at a point a night.
After the injury, he was cocksure and looked healthy, but we all held our collective breath every time he fell down. He didn’t re-injure the neck, but he did have a couple of issues with his hip, which forced him to miss 11 games.
In 2007-08, things just got weird. In October, he hurt his foot playing soccer in the parking lot of the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. He missed four games because of that. In November, he collided with Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun, re-injuring the neck, and giving us all a good scare. Fortunately, the injury was minor, and he only missed four games with that. Later that season, Cole missed a game with the flu.
In 2008-09, Cole played most of the season in Edmonton, where he stayed completely injury-free. They misused him on the third line left wing, but at least he stayed healthy. He stayed healthy after the trade and throughout the playoff run, but he didn’t contribute much offensively, so he may as well have been injured.
This season, after just two games played, he’s already on the IR with the same injury he suffered in January of 2003. If I recall correctly, the one in 2003 was more of an open-ice thing, and I seem to remember it being in the Lightning zone, just across the blue line, left circle. This one was at a very different spot on the ice, but the play and the injury are the same.
The projection is that Cole will be back around Thanksgiving. Hopefully (but I wouldn’t bet on it), this’ll be his only injury of the season.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.