Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

Smell my glove! SMELL IT!

Smell my glove! SMELL IT!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers grossed out the sporting world recently with the announcement that several of their players are fighting MRSA infections. Football doesn’t get to have all the fun where nasty bugs are concerned, so this week we’ll take you on a tour of some disgusting locker room infections. You’re welcome.

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Yup, still scary.

Yup, still scary.

 

Down Goes Brown wrote a delightful post for Grantland about the biggest NHL dirtbags, inspiring this series of posts about the details of their dirtbagginess and resultant injuries. No dirtbag discussion is complete without mention of Darcy Tucker, whose insane facial expressions alone are enough to strike fear into the hearts of children everywhere.

Darcy Tucker. Say his name, stand back and watch the expletives fly from the lips of Islanders fans. And Flyers fans. And Senators fans. And most other people. Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs have a love/hate relationship with him – loving his willingness to fight anyone, hating his dumb penalties and cap hit that lasts until 2014. Like fellow dirtbag Sean Avery, Tucker inspired an NHL rule change. Unlike Sean Avery, he didn’t do it by pissing off a goalie, he did it by destroying someone’s knee.

 

Mike Peca’s Knee

 

Amazingly, Peca's neck survived this crash landing intact.

Amazingly, Peca’s neck survived this crash landing intact.

 

In the first round of the 2001-02 playoffs the Maple Leafs met the Islanders in a series that was more fights and cheap hits than actual hockey playing. Game five was particularly ugly, seeing the end to Mike Peca’s season (and knee) and an incredibly filthy Gary Roberts hit that knocked Kenny Jonsson out for the season (literally). While the Tucker hit wasn’t technically dirty at the time, it resulted in the clipping rule:

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Claude Giroux

Cumberland, Ontario is a small town just east of Ottawa with the distinction of being home to the Camelot Golf and Country Club, an arena with water that smells like rotten eggs, and not much else. It’s also where Claude Giroux lacerated the extensor tendons in his right index finger in a freak exploding golf club incident.

Giroux was at Camelot preparing for the Ottawa Sun Scramble golf tournament, and apparently on a completely normal shot with a completely normal club the shaft of the club splintered, sending shards into his right index finger and lacerating the extensor tendons.

Oh really.

That’s an interesting injury seeing as how you hold a golf club in your palm, a place where you won’t find any extensor tendons. Those are on the backs of your fingers and hand. Giroux’s father Raymond told Le Droit that when his club splintered a piece flew up in the air and came down on his finger, causing the injury.

Oh really.

Regardless of what actually happened (a little smashy-smash of the old clubberoo?), extensor tendon injuries are fairly common and generally require surgery. Without an extensor tendon Giroux would be able to grip a hockey stick (or golf club) but straightening his fingers out to let go would be tricky.

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Here's Bergeron, clearly not suffering at all.

Here’s Bergeron clearly not suffering at all.

Teams are always cagey about injuries during the playoffs, but Boston took it to entirely new heights this year when they revealed that Patrice Bergeron had a body injury. Not upper body, not lower body, just body. The injury turned out to be multiple upper body injuries (a broken rib, torn cartilage, a separated shoulder, and a pneumothorax) none of which could be considered minimal by any standards, and none of which prevented him from finishing the series.

Cartilage! Ribs!

The fun started in game four when Bergeron tore cartilage in his chest on a check from Michael Frolik. He then left game five in the second period, due to what was later revealed was a broken rib and concerns for a spleen inury. The cartilage in your chest has an important job, namely holding your ribs onto your sternum. The cartilage is highlighted in red below to point out just how heinous the pain is when you tear it. Generally people with costochondral injuries (costo = rib, chondral = pertaining to cartilage) sit very still, breathe very shallowly, and try not to do anything that would move their chest in any way. Try that. It’s impossible. What do you do for the injury? Nothing. Seriously, nothing. You wait it out, you take pain pills, and you suffer.

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In the battle between chronic shoulder dislocation and cup final, cup final wins every time.

In the battle between chronic shoulder dislocation and cup final, cup final wins every time.

The first thing that should come to mind when anyone mentions chronic shoulder dislocations is Mel Gibson throwing himself against a wall after escaping from a straitjacket in Lethal Weapon 2. TOTALLY REALISTIC (not really). While Nathan Horton hasn’t escaped from a straitjacket and nobody has seen him launching himself into walls, the Bruins have admitted he has a “chronic shoulder issue.”

Horton’s problems began April 20th when a fight with Jarome Iginla ended with him skating off holding his left arm awkwardly. The fight itself wasn’t much to see – A few punches, and Iginla dumped Horton to the ice. They were holding each other’s jerseys when he went down, which could explain the injury – the weight of one’s body on an outstretched arm is a great way to dislocate a shoulder. It’s also a great way to suffer a shoulder subluxation, a similar injury in which the shoulder comes partway out of the socket, and pops back in. The problem of course is that once you’ve had one injury in which you’ve dislocated (or subluxed) your shoulder, you’re very likely to do it again. The other problem is that nonsurgical management isn’t a great solution for someone who needs a working shoulder and uses it for hockey things like slamming into people and taking shots. The other other problem is if you’re a UFA you probably don’t have time for a six month recovery unless you’ve kicked so much playoff ass that your team can’t help but re-sign you.

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Thomas Vanek and Craig Anderson may both be up for awards at the end of the season. (Andre Ringuette, Getty Images)

Thomas Vanek and Craig Anderson may both be up for awards at the end of the season. (Andre Ringuette, Getty Images)

When it comes to the NHL awards, there are certain names that are a pretty safe bet to see among the nominees. You know that if he’s healthy, Sidney Crosby will be in the conversation for the Hart. Shea Weber, even if he’s never won the darn thing, will get plenty of votes for the Norris. And Henrik Lundqvist is going to be in the running for the Vezina year-after-year.

There always seems to be someone, however, who makes a run for each of the awards that no one saw coming. Consider Brian Elliott, who went from being the worst goaltender (if not worst player) in the NHL in 2010-11, to leading the league in save percentage and goals against average, being named to the All-Star Game, and garnering a first place vote for the Vezina in 2011-12. Granted, it was the only vote he received, but it’s still remarkable. This season, unfortunately, the universe has righted itself and Elliott has the second worst save percentage in the league, but that’s beside the point.

While no one quite as surprising as Elliott has emerged, each of the awards has a surprise candidate (or two) that has seemingly come out of nowhere.

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The way this thing gets won is gonna be dumb soon.

The way this thing gets won is gonna be dumb soon.

So the NHL and NHLPA are finally going to go forward with a plan to change the configuration of the league, from having two 15-team conferences each with three five-team divisions to two conferences, one of which has two eight-team divisions and the other with with two seven-team divisions. Logistically, this is bad and stupid, as are most things the NHL decides these days.

But in terms of the actual way in which they’re going about this — mostly moving Detroit and Columbus into the Eastern Conference and replacing them only with Winnipeg — at least makes geographical sense and, as has been pointed out by just about everyone since the plan was unveiled last Saturday, will really make the league and its televisions partners happy. To say nothing of the fans who are sick of hearing the Red Wings complain about their travel every few months. All of this, it should be noted, has only reached the “proposal” stages but most people who would know about this sort of stuff are talking like it’s going to be a thing in real life sooner than later, so let’s just go with this.

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