RALEIGH, N.C. — Carolina Hurricanes rookie Seth Jarvis took a beating in the Stanley Cup playoffs, including a jarring hit that left him with an apparent concussion and spotty memories in the aftermath.
He’s feeling better now that the headache has faded, at least. But he’s still feeling in a “fog” and sluggish with lingering dental work ahead from a separate injury, a sign that the first part of the offseason will be about recovery for both him and goaltender Antti Raanta following a playoff loss to the New York Rangers.
“Whatever sport you play, it’s going to take a toll in different ways,” Jarvis said Thursday. “Obviously hockey is a fast, physical sport so it’s going to kind of wear and tear you a little bit more. But if I worried about (injuries), I wouldn’t be playing hockey.”
Jarvis and Raanta were both left Monday’s Game 7 second-round loss early, starting with Jarvis being leveled by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba with a high hit in open ice during the first period. Raanta went down in the second after extending his right leg for a stop on New York’s Mika Zibanejad, then falling face down on the ice.
Raanta had taken on the starting role after No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen went down to a a left-knee injury in mid-April. Andersen said Wednesday it was a torn medial collateral ligament and that he had been “really close” to returning.
Now Raanta is dealing with his own MCL injury, a sprain that would’ve likely had him out 6-to-8 weeks had Carolina advanced. He showed up for Thursday’s season-ending interviews with reporters with a limp and a black brace on his right knee, and now must dive into offseason rehab.
“It’s kind of where you’re not going to take any vacation right now,” Raanta said. “It’s just to get back out there and get everything done.”
As for Jarvis, the 20-year-old blossomed into a top-line forward with the toughness to tussle around the crease despite his 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame for the Hurricanes, who won the Metropolitan Division title and posted the NHL’s third-best record. But he had a painful first postseason.
The scariest moment came on the Trouba hit, which left Jarvis capable only of crawling back to the bench. Once there, he was too wobbly to even sit upright and needed assistance from multiple teammates to direct him toward the locker room for the rest of the game.
Jarvis said remembers images of watching the game on TV and teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi driving him home, but nothing more until “halfway through the next day probably.”
“It’s a little bit scary when you don’t remember anything,” Jarvis said. “I have the doctors telling me what I was doing in the dressing room, and I don’t even remember the hit, getting off the ice or anything. So seeing that stuff and hearing from other people is definitely a little bit scary.”
Jarvis’ first playoff run included being injured after taking a puck to the groin on teammate Brendan Smith’s slapshot in Game 4 of the first-round series against Boston.
Then, in Game 5 of the New York series, Jarvis dove to stop Rangers forward Ryan Strome’s shot from the slot and ended up being hit the mouth with the shaft of Strome’s stick on his followthrough. That left Jarvis bleeding with multiple upper teeth “all bent in” but still in place, though he later returned to the game.
His lip swelling has gone down, but Jarvis said he needs another set of X-rays and possibly “a couple” of root canals. Asked whether his teeth were going to stay bent back, he quipped he was trying to get a “nice little deal” from Invisalign, a Hurricanes sponsor that makes teeth aligners.
“If anyone’s watching from Invisalign, help me out,” he said with a grin.
Despite all that, Jarvis said, there’s no reason “to stop being fearless” on the ice.
“Obviously the concussion with your head, you want to be careful with that,” he said. “But I’ve been banged up a lot of the year. You always go through nicks and bruises. So It’s nothing too new and nothing I think I’m very concerned about at all.”