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Injuries don’t impede the NHL’s playoff warriors

USA Today’s Kevin Allen talked to a host of, shall we say, advocates of the playoff warrior’s way in an article discussing the fact that, in the NHL, one is simply expected to play through the kinds of injuries that quite literally make grown men cry. Torn ligaments, broken teeth, noses, jaws, messed-up knees, elbows, shoulders, wrists, groins, backs, you name the sports-related injury, and a hockey player’s probably played through it. Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, former Chicago Blackhawks forward Jeremy Roenick, Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan and two members of the Red Wings’ organization about the fact that even Steve Yzerman’s willingness to skate on a right knee whose ligaments had essentially disintegrated during the Wings’ 2002 Cup run might be the stuff that legends are made of, but for players like Yzerman, sacrificing one’s future able-bodied status (Yzerman’s osteotomy has quite literally left him unable to run) was just “what you do” when a possible Stanley Cup championship can be earned:

Detroit general manager Ken Holland said he never saw anyone play in more pain than Steve Yzerman when he led the Red Wings to the 2002 Stanley Cup championship.

“He got shot up before every game,” Holland said. “He could hardly walk. He had a knee that was bone on bone. He was in such incredible pain.”

After the season, Yzerman had a knee osteotomy, in which the surgeon adds a wedge of bone to the shinbone to take the weight off the damaged area of the knee.

“If you watch clips of the 2002 playoffs, Steve would fall down and he would have to use one knee and his stick to pop himself back up,” Draper said.

Continued with the story of Brent Gilchrist playing through a groin tear that involved his muscles shearing off the bone in 1998, and Kris Draper knows all about sacrifice given that he scored a goal with his teeth during the 2008 Conference Finals…

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NickLidstrom's avatar

This is an awesome article

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 04/20/11 at 03:49 AM ET

Chet's avatar

agree. love draper’s quote.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/20/11 at 04:19 AM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

I remember watching Yzerman that year.  Freaking amazing.  Amazing guy.  Amazing hockey player.  That’s why he is one of the greatest to play the game.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 04/20/11 at 11:26 AM ET

SYF's avatar

“It’s historic in our game,” Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said. “Guys are expected to play with pain, and it’s respected. I hope it never changes. Other athletes lie so they don’t have to play, and hockey players lie so they can play.”

Once in a while, Burke says the right things.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 04/21/11 at 08:32 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.