The All-Hurt All-Star draft is finally drawing to a close with the selection of our forwards. Some choices are based on sheer volume of injuries and some on gross-out value. Obviously there are quite a few names missing from the list, but the simple fact is I have to be somewhere tomorrow morning and I don’t have time to document every groin strain Jagr has ever had.
Tim Connolly – Toronto Maple Leafs
First of all, I’m wildly amused by the fact that Connolly and Taylor Pyatt went to Buffalo from the Islanders in exchange for Mike Peca. Feel free to pause for a moment and chuckle quietly to yourself.
Connolly is a veteran of the injured reserve, starting things off with a bang in a 2003 preseason game by sustaining a season-ending concussion. Did you catch that? A season-ending injury in a pre-season game. Oh, Tim. Poor, poor Tim. One lockout and a decent 2005-06 season later, he was again concussed and missed basically all of 2006-07, with the exception of two regular-season games and the playoffs. Connolly is also one of those guys who manages to get injured while injured – he had a stress fracture in one of his legs while on IR that year as well. He managed about half a season in 2007-08, playing through bone spurs in one of his hips for several months. That’s not an uncommon injury in sports with a lot of twisting (hockey, golf, etc), and it’s also not one that’s going away on its own. Connolly had the repair done by Dr. Marc Philippon, the NHL’s hip guru (who has also treated Pascal Leclaire, Mario Lemieux, Rick Dipietro, and others).
2008-09 was the year of fractures for Connolly – cracked vertebrae in a preseason game and a broken rib courtesy of Keith Tkachuk. He still managed about half a season, and interestingly enough put up about as many points as he did in his few and far-between full seasons. Something happened in 2009 through 2011 that kept Connolly (more or less) healthy (the term is relative when it’s applied to him – there were some groin issues and a broken nose). Scientists somewhere deep under the ACC are furiously working to figure out what that was, because since he went to the Leafs in July of 2011 he seems to be sneaking back into his old habit of falling apart on a semi-regular basis. He missed the start of the season because “He stepped on a stick in practice and slammed into the end boards.” (bless the Leafs for their honesty – that one time, anyway). He made it back for a few weeks, and then right back out again with a mysterious upper body injury (so much for Leaf honesty) but somehow only missed four games. That’s kind of a big deal if you’re Tim Connolly. He’s been back playing regularly since mid-November, which means he’s just about due for some sort of injury.
Martin Havlat – San Jose Sharks
Marty Havlat is currently on the IR thanks to one of the most embarassing injuries in the history of everything. He tore his left hamstring hopping over the boards. Hopping. Over. The boards. I’ve watched the video approximately five zillion times and can’t pinpoint the specific moment the injury occurred. If you look carefully, though, you can see the exact moment Havlat’s heart broke. It’s right as he’s forced to crawl off the ice because he can’t bear any weight on the leg.
The hamstring is actually a collection of three muscles (and their associated tendons) that make up the back of your thigh, and their job is to flex (bend) your knee and extend your hip (that’s the push-off motion when you’re walking). Those great big tendons you can feel on either side of the back of your knee are part of your hamstring, so it’s not hard to imagine that your leg wouldn’t work too well without them. A hamstring can usually be healed without surgery as long as there’s not a complete tear, but Havlat being Havlat, even with just a partial tear he needed a surgical repair. Recovery from hamstring repair can be a three to six month deal, depending on which tendon was torn, and where. The word is the Sharks are expecting him back in eight weeks. The other word is I’m laughing my butt off at that.
Havlat’s inclusion on the All-Hurt squad is also based on his hobby – shoulder surgery – of which he’s had at least three for dislocations and a torn labrum.
Taylor Hall – Edmonton Oilers
For someone who’s only on his second year in the NHL, Hall is doing a great job of racking up injuries. He ended his rookie season with a high ankle sprain – a nasty little affair where the ligament that connects the two bones in the lower leg gets torn (if you’d care to know more, I wrote about that). As if that’s not bad enough, he managed the sprain in his first NHL fight. Worse yet, it was against Derek Dorsett (who?). Columbus (oh, okay).
In November of this season he separated his left shoulder, but managed to miss only seven games. A shoulder separation happens when a blow to the joint causes stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect the clavicle (collarbone) and the acromion (part of the scapula aka shoulder blade). In related news, yes – your collarbone and shoulder blade are connected.
A mild shoulder separation is treated like a sprain (because that’s what it is) – resting the joint, ice, anti-inflammatory meds, and waiting for it to get better.
The highlight of Taylor Hall’s injury history so far is obviously his massive face laceration. Having Corey Potter step on your face is probably never a good thing, less so when he’s wearing skates. Hall was lucky not to lose an eye (or worse). He wasn’t so lucky that his mom decided to speak with the Edmonton Journal about the whole thing, because as everyone knows there’s nothing a 20-year-old guy likes better than to have his mom talk about him.
Peter Regin – Ottawa Senators
Peter Regin is the VP of the Marty Havlat Crappy Shoulder Club, and is well on his way to a fine collection of surgeries. He hasn’t hurt a lot of different body parts, opting instead to choose just one thing (his left shoulder) and then to hurt it over, and over, and over. And over. Back in the 2009-10 season, Regin wasn’t awful. Honestly, that’s about all one could expect from a Senator for quite a while there. In 2011 he was less not awful, and in February took a hit into the boards from Toronto’s Joey Crabb and dislocated his shoulder. In March the team announced he’d had repair surgery and that his season was over. Regin breathed a giant sigh of relief that his 2-year, $2-million contract was already signed, and rehabbed his butt off over the summer. He came back in 2011-2012 ready to redeem himself for not being not awful the year before, and promptly collided with Toronto’s John-Michael Liles in a preseason game. Incredibly, Regin didn’t lose the arm on the spot, and made it back in October for a few games. Then he collided with the Jets’ Nik Antropov on October 20th. At this point I’d have been sending young Mr. Regin to an eye doctor, because clearly he has no idea what’s around him, ever. After five more games in December Regin was gone again, this time because the shoulder “stiffened up”, which may be code for “packed its crap and moved the hell out”. Any hope that he might be back this season was firmly extinguished with the recent announcement that he’ll be having shoulder surgery again. Regin has since retracted his sigh of relief, since he’s an RFA come this summer. Meanwhile, everyone in Ottawa went out and bought Kyle Turris jerseys.
Honourable mention: Darryl Boyce - Toronto Maple Leafs
Darryl Boyce’s facial laceration wants to take Taylor Hall’s facial laceration out behind the school and beat it up. Boyce will maintain the title of Baddest Dude on Twitter until such time as someone else tweets a grosser picture than this:
This gem was the result of falling nose-first into one of those holes in the glass for photographers last year. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is that he’s smiling (smirking?), that he tweeted this, and that he called out Taylor Hall’s laceration for being weak compared to this (which it is). Hall had a big straight-ish cut, which is impressive-looking but not difficult to fix. Boyce had half his nose just about chopped off. You know what happens if the loose bit loses blood supply? IT DIES. So kiss half your nose goodbye. The good news is Boyce’s nose didn’t lose its blood supply, healed fine, and he’s not missing a big chunk of his face.
Having arrived at the end of the All-Hurt All-Star draft, I’m going to pre-emptively answer the “Where’s Crosby/Savard/Laperrière?” question. The best reason I’ve managed to come up with for not including them goes something like “You shut your dirty mouth because they are FINE and they’ll be BACK and you just SHUT UP.” I find myself completely unable to find any humour in three guys whose injuries may possibly have ended their careers. Can a shoulder injury or a blown knee end a career? Sure. But a concussion can both end a career and ruin a life. Peter Regin can find something to do with himself if that shoulder is never right again. Marc Savard may be spending the rest of his time hoping to god the headache stops and wishing he could remember what he had for breakfast that day. So no – Crosby, Savard, and Lappy have not made this particular team. They’re all on my please get better team instead. And now it’s a bit dusty in here.
Many thanks to everyone for the suggestions, and apologies for making you look at Boyce’s nose again.