Dull moments are rare when it comes to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, so why would the normally bland practice of the ceremonial first puck drop be any different?
He put a very “Gronk” spin on the practice Saturday, as he spiked a puck into the crowd before the Boston Bruins took on the New York Islanders.
Gronk’s gonna Gronk.
Update: Apparently he’s going to chow down on some pizza, too.
The Bruins ended up narrowly winning this one 2-1.
One of the big stories from Super Bowl week has been the status of New England TE Rob Gronkowski’s injured ankle. Gronk, who set a single-season TD record for tight ends this year, suffered a high-ankle sprain in the AFC Championship against Baltimore and has been on the limp ever since.
So who better to provide insight than a fellow New England sports icon that’s suffered the same injury — Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic!
“I really do feel for him,” said Lucic, who dealt with a high ankle sprain for much of 2009-10. “You can tell he’s one of the toughest guys around to be able to walk around with no boot already.
“He’s going to have a tough summer recovering from that thing, but it’s good he only has to deal with it for one game, even though it is such a big game.”
Lucic seemed confident that Gronkowski would be able to play through the pain.
“I think he’ll definitely contribute even with that [injury],” Lucic said. “He’ll do whatever he can to make sure he can contribute. I’m sure he’ll come up big when they need him to.”
Lucic rolled his ankle in Nov. 2009 after getting tangled with Minnesota’s Marek Zidlicky and ended up missing 32 games, posting career lows in assists, plus-minus and power-play goals. It took him an entire offseason to get back to full strength, though Lucic notes high-ankle sprains affect football and hockey players quite differently.
“It’s a lot different, running vs. skating,” Lucic said. “It’s the worst possible leg injury, other than obviously like a torn ACL, that you can have for skating.
“All I remember was that it was such a nagging injury and that it almost made you feel feeble down there.”
When they heard that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was fined $7,500 for a celebratory touchdown spike against the Jets, the AHL’s Worcester Sharks jumped into action.
They offered to foot the tab in exchange for a service — Gronkowski spiking a ceremonial puck in advance of their game against Providence on Feb. 24.
“The Sharks would be more than happy to reimburse Gronkowski to spike the puck before a Worcester Sharks game,” said team president Michael A. Mudd. “Sharks fans are Patriots fans and I know that they would enjoy watching Gronkowski show us how to properly spike a puck at center ice and sign some autographs. I hope Rob takes us up on the offer.”
Yesterday, Gronkowski agreed to participate.
“The Sharks are really excited that Gronkowski took us up on our offer,” Mudd said in a press release. “This is a win-win for everyone.”
Well, a win-win for everybody but the Worcester ice crew. Gronkowski’s spikes are violent.
“When Gronk scores — it was like his eighth touchdown of the year — he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball,” Pats QB Tom Brady told NESN. “I love that, because I like the deflated ball. But I feel bad for that football, because he puts everything he can into those spikes.”