In the aftermath of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, it's beginning to leak out just how badly injured some of the Red Wings players were. According to the News' John Niyo, there were many Wings dealing with severe injuries...
Injuries? Yeah, they had a few. More than a few, actually. Talked to a champagne-soaked trainer, Piet van Zant, in the Zamboni entrance a couple hours ago and his initial response was, "Everybody was playing through something." But then he rattled off the abridged version:
Tomas Holmstrom was playing with a sports hernia (for a long time) and a torn hamstring.
Valtteri Filppula wasn't practicing because of a fairly significant knee injury.
Brad Stuart also was playing with a knee injury that would've had him sitting in the regular season. Darren Helm limped out of there tonight with a nasty Charley horse.
And, yes, there was more than just concussion-like symptoms plaguing Johan Franzen, but van Zant said the team and Franzen will wait a day or two before explaining what exactly went on with that whole saga.
There's more than that, obviously, but it gives you an idea of just why we call this the toughest trophy in sports to win.
Honestly, that's par for the NHL course. It's what they do.
From the Maple Leafs' Bobby Baun scoring the winning goal in game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Finals while skating on a BROKEN LEG, to Steve Yzerman winning the '02 Cup despite a severe knee injury that required 3 surgeries after the season, playing 23 playoff games on essentially one leg, hockey players traditionally play through the worst of injuries. In fact, they may be the toughest athletes on earth. At the very least, hockey players are on par with football players when it comes to playing in pain.
Then last night, I was half watching the NBA Finals, and was witness to one of the most embarrassing displays of histrionics ever: Paul Pierce acting as if his leg had been amputated with a rusty cleaver after tweaking his knee.
Pierce was carried off the court, and taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. At first, you had to think Pierce, in going through such dramatics, must have blown out every ligament in his knee.
But wait! A few minutes later, after thinking Pierce had suffered a career ending injury if you go by his actions, is suddenly hale and hearty enough to come skipping out of the tunnel, and on the bench? Pierce played the rest of the game, looking none the worse for wear. Boston's fans were then chanting "Willis Reed!" Please...
Today, I hear the comparisons coming out of Boston and the national MSM that Pierce's re-entering the game was similar to the Willis Reed's? What an insult to Reed! Reed played in game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals for the Knicks on literally on one leg, thanks to a painfully torn thigh muscle. Pierce's tweaked/sprained knee does not come close to equaling what Reed went through.
Reed could have been a hockey player with that sort of pain tolerance. Paul Pierce has the pain tolerance of an infant with a slight case of diaper rash.
Before the series started, I wasn't all that excited by the NBA Finals, as I knew we were going to be inflicted with forced nostalgia, ABC/ESPN trying to invoke memories of the Lakers-Celtics battles of the 80's. In my mind, the finals were just a matchup between 2 loathsome teams, and 2 even more loathsome fanbases.
After last night's display of wussitude, I'm rooting for the Lakers to kick the collective asses of both the Celtics, and of their mangina, Paul Pierce.
After watching the Wings and Penguins leave body parts on the ice over 6 games, seeing Pierce cry his crocodile tears was nothing less than an embarrassment.