With the 2011 Stanley Cup finals – and therefore, the playoffs – over, it’s time to get answers/speculate some more on the injuries that hampered both teams. We’ll address the newly crowned champion Boston Bruins later on, but let’s get to the wounded warriors on the losing end first.
(Source: The Vancouver Province.)
First, let’s get to the players who discussed their injuries a bit more openly.
- Alex Edler said he was playing with two broken fingers.
- As many suspected, Christian Ehrhoff was dealing shoulder issues. He needed shots before games and probably lost quite a few mph from a blazing (but often wildly inaccurate) slapper. Ehrhoff told the Vancouver Province that he’ll probably need surgery.
- Chris Higgins said his foot never felt “quite right” but didn’t go as far as to say that it was broken. He did imply that he might need surgery, though.
Now let’s get to two players who weren’t quite confirmed.
- Ryan Kesler was one player who wouldn’t speak on the record about injuries, preferring that people avoid using his issues as a crutch to explain the Vancouver Canucks falling just a win short from their first-ever Stanley Cup win.
- Dan Hamhuis was rumored to miss most of the finals with a torn groin muscle, but wasn’t around to confirm or deny the reports.
Kesler wasn’t willing to lean on the injuries excuse, but teammate Jeff Tambellini knew that something wasn’t quite right.
“I think every stride hurt him,” said Tambellini. “He never showed it. He never talked about it. We never heard about it all day and this guy is at true warrior. The fact he even came back is mind-blowing. To skate with the puck as much as he did. He took his game to a different level this year and should be rewarded by the rest of the league. Everybody appreciates what he brings and playing as hurt as he was outstanding.
“He put himself on a superstar level and it’s going to be great to watch the rest of his career.”
But that didn’t make it any easier. Tambellini walked into a dressing room Wednesday that looked more like a hospital ward.
“There were probably shooting six guys up today,” said Tambellini. “We dealt with a lot of adversity this year and to do that and come up one game short is a real credit to this group.”
Obviously, every team deals with some injuries, especially this late in the game. Still, stories like these show over and over again that hockey players fight through pain (and sometimes injuries) for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. The Canucks fell one game short of that goal, but they deserve credit for their efforts in defeat.