Up until yesterday, HM's twins had managed to play five years and umpteen games of hockey with no serious injuries (knock on major wood). Our luck ran out during an early morning game, and despite some hairy moments, I'm glad to report that my Bantam is going to be okay. With about 54 seconds left in a tied house game, it appeared that he'd taken a puck to the shin or somehow gotten hit in front of a crowded net. He proceeded to skate off limply but there was no cause for concern until his dad was summoned to come to the bench from the penalty box.
Knowing how mortifying it is for a teenage boy to have his mom overreact to every injury, I stayed put in the stands - that is until I heard Dad yell "Call 911" to the officials. Then of course I ran (as calmly as I could) and crossed the ice myself to our bench. When I got there, I found the coach applying serious pressure to his leg and holding the leg above his heart. That's when I realized he'd been cut in the part of the leg between where the top of the skate starts and the bottom of the shin pad ends. I cannot give enough praise to our USA Hockey-trained coach, who was cool as a cucumber and knew exactly what to do.
The paramedics were called and he was taken by stretcher into a waiting ambulance, where I was told his nasty gash was about two inches wide and pretty deep. After five hours in the ER, I am happy to report that he walked away (with the aid of crutches) with 15 stitches and narrowly missed any tendon damage. He'll be on "injured reserve" for about 10 days but we are so very thankful that it was not any worse. He did have a little fun with a bad situation as he left the hospital with some cool scrub pants (he arrived in full smelly hockey gear) and knocked down a few cans in the grocery while riding on the motorized cart. Which brings me to the importance of properly fitting equipment. While there's no need for the kevlar socks that Joe Corvo wore after having his tendon slashed by a Nick Backsrom skate, kids need to make sure they are wearing shin pads (and everything else) that fits as it should. In our case, he was sporting his old shin pads (that were obviously outgrown) that left a gap between the skate and the pad.
So after all of that excitement and manning the penalty box for the late game, I have to admit I was "done" and missed the Capitals come from behind win over the Predators. The good news out of that game is that Michal Neuvirth continues to shine, establishing quite a nice reputation in his last few outings. From what I've read this morning, the bad news is that the absence of Tom Poti and Mike Green was pretty obvious in a mediocre defensive effort by the players who dressed for Washington. Up next, the Boston Bruins pay a visit on Tuesday.
And before signing off this morning, just another note on preventing injuries - NHL-style. Most puckheads remember last season's devastating hit on Florida's David Booth, that kept him away from the ice for several months. With more than 12 NHLers already sidelined by concussions this season, Booth is urging his peers to play smarter in an effort to eliminate head shots in the game. In addition to the league's more stringent rules on head contact, Booth says players at this elite level know the difference between a legal hit or one designed to maim an opponent and in hockey mom speak, need to "make the right choices." On a positive note, it looks like this young man may be back to his pre-injury form as he lit the lamp twice for the Panthers in yesterday's 6-0 drubbing of Tampa Bay. Nice work....