It’s always unfortunate when the NHL loses a player to injury. This applies to top-line players and bottom-lines player equally.
As fans of the sport, we’d naturally prefer to see the players on the ice, not the injury list.
This simple fact helps to explain the tremendous amount of support recently shown for Rich Peverley. The Dallas Stars forward collapsed on the team bench earlier this week and after being rushed to the hospital for treatment, it’s been announced that he’ll miss the remainder of the season.
Unfortunately, Peverley’s playing career may also be over. Given the freak and unexpected nature of his injury, there might be no way to ensure his safety moving forward – the safest bet being to keep him off the ice.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang finds himself in similar territory. At the tender age of 26, he suffered a stroke that knocked him out for the rest of the current season. He’s now skating on his own again, but whether he returns to the NHL or is sidelined indefinitely remains unknown at this point. At the very least, Letang has become a cautionary health story in the hockey world and beyond as well.
Speaking of the Penguins, they’ve just lost another player to injury. Forward James Neal will likely miss the remainder of the regular season battling concussion symptoms. Despite missing considerable time to injury already this season, Neal was putting together something special in Pittsburgh. He may not have been positioned to set a new career-high in points, but he was playing at an elevated pace for himself: he was averaging more than a point per game.
It’ll be hard for the Penguins to replace either of these two players over the short-term and especially the long-term.
A passing reference to the Vancouver Canucks is enough to underscore how injuries have devastated this team. As they slowly fall down the standings, it doesn’t help that Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin are forced to watch things from the sidelines.
What about the Montreal Canadiens and goaltender Carey Price? Hopefully, he’ll be back in action tonight.
All of this makes Jay Bouwmeester’s iron streak of playing 700+ consecutive games that much more impressive. Not only does the St. Louis defender hold the longest active streak for games played in the NHL, but there’s no one in the NBA, MLB or NFL who tops him either.
In an ideal world, everyone would have the endurance of Bouwmeester. Seeing as this is not the case, however, it’s important that athletes take their health serious. This is something that Peverley, Letang, Neal and many others can confirm.
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