Every year after each playoff series concludes, reports come out about the various injuries that all of the teams were dealing with over the course of the postseason.
The Chicago Blackhawks were no exception to that rule. Shortly after they won the championship on Monday night, it was revealed that winger Bryan Bickell had been playing with a Grade 2 knee sprain (for reference, that’s the same injury that Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler had tried playing with before leaving the NFC Championship game in 2011) throughout the Cup Final. He sustained the injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings.
That injury led head coach Joel Quenneville to shift around his lines before the Cup Final began, and he elaborated on that after the contest:
“Grade 2 knee sprain, that’s a three or four week injury,” Quenneville said. “[Bickell] probably shouldn’t have played a game in this series, but after Game 3 it looked like he was back to normal, which was big for us.
“Now why would I do that [break up the top line]? Well, we were trying to preserve [Bickell] and get some balance at the same time. We didn’t want heavy minutes with him against Zdeno Chara basically on one leg.”
Bickell’s injury wasn’t the only one the Blackhawks had to deal with. According to the report on NHL.com, the Hawks also had winger Marian Hossa dealing with a back injury, which kept him out of Game 3 of the series, and also had center Michal Handzus banged up with a couple of truly gnarly injuries:
Just a friendly reminder after reading that tweet: Handzus scored a short-handed goal on a rush with Brandon Saad in Game 4 in Boston with a broken wrist and a torn MCL. Now that's dedication.
The Bruins side of the ledger wasn’t much cleaner. Patrice Bergeron, who left Game 5 early and ended up being admitted to a hospital, was playing with a broken rib and torn cartilage that he sustained during the Final series. He also had a separated shoulder that he got in the team’s first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Nathan Horton, who was injured in Game 1 of the Cup Final, was also playing with a separated shoulder in this series.