Searching through hundreds of NHL injuries, I have narrowed down to what I believe are 50 of the most gruesome NHL injuries that many NHL fans today remember will remember. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and
*Please note: The numbers 1-50 do not denote the severity of the injury. The numbers are simply there to help keep some organization to my list. All injuries that made the list are top injuries and cannot be compared to any others. If you click here you can see the first twenty-five injuries, before reading the final twenty-five.
26) Matthias Ohlund: Ohlund has two bad knees and had to have surgery on them. He has not been in skates since November 2011. The Tampa Bay lightning player said that the injury he did on his left knee was the last hope to revive his career but as we can see looking at his results from the last time he played that the results were not what he wanted or expected. These problems probably mark the end of his career and for that he made the list.
27) Anze Kopitar: Kopitar was playing in Sweden during the NHL lockout and he collided into the boards after hitting an opposing teammate a few days before the lockout was ending. He came home and skated with his coaching consultant, Bernie Nicholls, and seemed to be okay. He was later skating with the team before the late season started. These things happen and hitting other players could go either way which sometimes causes freak accidents.
28) Steve Yzerman: In 2004, during the Detroit Red Wings Western Conference semi-finals, Yzerman received a puck in the eye after it deflected off the Flames goal post. He was rushed to the hospital and had to have almost five hours worth of surgery to repair a scratched cornea and a broken bone just below his eye. He was out for the rest of the season and he returned after the NHL lockout wearing a face visor. He made my list because of the facial injury and the amount of time it took the surgeons to fix him up.
29) Rich Parent: During a warm-up before the game, Parent was blocking shots by his own teammates. One shot went wrong and hit him in a not so pleasant place. The Blues goalie was taken off the ice and brought to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a scrotal contusion and a ruptured testicle. Remarkably, he only missed 11 games before returning back to the lineup. He is on my list just because of the injury itself. With all the padding players wear, especially goalies, it is hard to see how this injury happened. But yet it was another freak accident and he was lucky that he was okay after.
30) Daniel Paille: On November 7th, 2011, the Boston Bruins forward suffered a facial injury after he was struck in the face by a slap shot. Steve Staios tried to hit a bouncing puck as Paille went down to block it and it hit him right in the face. He made the list because he wears a protective visor but he was still struck in the face. He had a broken nose and other facial lacerations and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. He was only out for three games and when he returned he wore a facial cage.
31) Andrei Markov: Markov has had a bad bout of injuries but every time he came back he showed a successful recovery. In 2009 Markov collided with Carey Price’ skate and suffered a lacerated ankle. He was supposed to be out for five months but came back after two. He then collided with Matt Cooke during the playoffs and ended up with a knee injury. He stayed out for the rest of the playoff season and came back the following year. The season following his knee injury he started off strong but after seven games he collided with Eric Staal from the Carolina hurricanes and was forced to have surgery for the rest of season. Despite all these injuries he managed to make a full return and just played his 700th game with the Habs.
32) Kurtis Foster: On March 19th, 2008, Foster was skating and crashed into the boards on a touch icing play. He cracked his kneecap and broke his femur in three separate places. He had nine hours worth of surgery and had some wires, a rod and some screws placed into his leg. He started skating in October 2008 and came back to the game in February 2009. He is on my list because he was not even out a full year with the extent of his injuries and was already skating eight months later. With leg injuries it is important to be completely healed because they can easily come back.
33) Tomas Vokoun: This injury was a complete freak accident. When Vokoun was playing with the Panthers he let in a goal and in frustration Keith Ballard, one of his teammates, took his stick and whacked the net post. The whack also hit Vokoun’s ear as he fell to the ice. He made my list because of the freak accident and it should have been avoided at all costs if Ballard would only have kept himself under control.
34) Chris Pronger: He suffered an eye injury and a concussion in 2011. His concussion symptoms are pretty clear but the eye injury is giving him vision difficulties. He has not stepped on the ice in almost three years now except for playing a little with his son. Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he will most likely never play again but he is now helping the Flyers scout for young players. He is on my list again because of another career ending injury.
35) Gordie Howe: I believe this guy was amazing for more than just his scoring. He suffered through so many injuries but managed to come back, which is why I am giving him a spot on my list. He has suffered more than 300 stitches, damaged knees, broken ribs, broken wrist, scalp wounds, near death experience (head injury) and a painful ankle injury but yet he was still playing regular game time at 51 years old.
36) Max Pacioretty: Knowing this guy, I could write any injury on him. I feel like he is always out with injuries but the one I am really writing about is the famous one after he got run into the stanchion by Bruin Zdeno Chara. He hit the stanchion on the boards and laid on the ice motionless for several minutes before being taken off in a stretcher. He had a fracture in his forth cervical vertebra and a severe concussion. He was out the rest of the season but was able to make a full return beginning of the next season. This is on the list basically because of what happened. Pacioretty felt disgusted when he saw the tapes again (not remembering what initially happened) but later said it was all part of the sport.
37) Adam Deadmarsh: He suffered two concussions since 2000 and he did not want to risk another because it could have been really serious. So the ten-year veteran decided to end his NHL career. His first one was in 2000 after a fight, the next one was two years later after colliding with a teammates knee and it ended up being more serious. He lived on his toes for his final three years and in 2005 he decided to end it before another one happened. He was one of the smarter players who decided not to push their luck which is the reason he made my list.
38) Alexei Emelin: I am putting Emelin’s name on my list because of his knee injury. He tried checking Lucic during a game in April 2013. He suffered a torn knee ligament which he had to have surgery for. I was following his recovery closely and he has been beating all his recovery estimations. He was out of crutches not to long after the surgery, he started skating a bit at the end of August and joined his teammates at the end of October/beginning of November. He was supposed to be gone until January and now he is expected to play mid to late November. His recovery earned him this spot on my list.
39) Bryan Berard: His eye injury occurred during a high sticking from Marian Hossa. Berard ended up with a retinal tear where he had to have surgery. He had seven eye surgeries to repair the vision that was lost and then he had a contact lens made to fit him so he could meet the NHL requirements. Eventually he was able to play again and retired after the 2008-2009 season. Again he made the list by the amount of vision he lost.
40) Howie Morenz: He was playing and he crashed into the boards getting his leg stuck into the wooden siding. Blackhawks Earl Seibert who was chasing him was unable to stop in time and crushed him. His leg snapped (being heard throughout the whole arena apparently) and when taken to the hospital they later found out he had four fractures. The doctors told him he would never be able to play again. A few months later he fell into a depression, collapsed to the floor and passed away at only 34 years old. He made it to my list because of the tragedy surrounding his death at such a young age. If this were today he would have probably been back skating in a couple of months.
41) Bernie Parent: His eye injury was a career ending injury which is why he made my list. In 1979, a stick entered the eye part of his mask causing severe damage to his eye. He was completely blind for about two weeks and then regained some vision but it was never enough to come back into the NHL. This caused many goalies to start wearing cages instead of fiberglass face masks.
42) Patrice Bergeron: His first concussion was in October 2007 when he went up against the Flyers defenseman Randy Jones. Bergeron suffered a grade three concussion. He missed the rest of the season and the playoffs. He returned to the lineup the following season but in December 2008 he received another concussion which was lesser but ended up missing 15 games. In 2011 he missed a couple of weeks of the playoffs with his third concussion but managed to come back. His final concussion was in 2013 against the Ottawa Senators. He has a concussion history and is still playing in the NHL but possibly pushing his luck by doing so?
43) Nick Kypreos: He had his career ended as a result of a concussion that he sustained in a fight with the Rangers’ Ryan VandenBussche in an exhibition game in 1997. He was punched in the face and fell to the ice unconscious. He then suffered post concussion syndrome and he was forced to retire. He finished with 442 games and over 1000 penalty minutes.
44) Donald Audette: During a game against the New York Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens player fell against his opponent’s skate. The blade severed his tendons in his forearm and he had to have lifesaving surgery to fix them. With all the outside training he made a speedy recovery for the extent of his injury and was back in time for the playoffs.
45) Peter Forsberg: In 2001, Forsberg had to have surgery to remove his spleen that ruptured during the game. Apparently after the game at a restaurant, Forsberg was said to be extremely pale and in lots of pain. They brought him to get an MRI and noticed that his spleen was ruptured and that’s when the surgery was required. He made my list because he took priority on his health and took a full season off after this happened and returned to the playoffs where he led in points scoring.
46) Mikael Tam: Michael Tam is my third exception. He is a hockey player in the Quebec Major League. During a game he collapsed to the ice and had a seizure. He spent two days in the hospital under observations and it was said to be from a past concussion. He is currently back playing in the AHL and could soon be an NHL prospect. I put him because it is not every day you see seizures on the ice and it is scary. If it was caused by a concussion it just goes to show how serious they actually are.
47) Donald Brashear: It was a night against the Bruins. The Vancouver player was having fights that he kept winning. At one point he collided with the goalie of the other team and the goalie, Byron Dafoe, had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher with a knee injury. With three seconds left of the game, Brashear was slashed in the temple by Marty McSorley. He had a seizure on the ice and suffered a grade three concussion. McSorely was suspended indefinitely, charged with assault and had to complete 18 months of probation. He made my list because of the injury and because of how far it went after.
48) Ian Laperriere: November 27th, 2008, Laperriere was hit in the face by a slap shot during a penalty kill. He sat out the second period while he received over fifty stitches. As a result he also lost seven teeth, five real and two fake. In the 2010 playoffs during a power play he got hit in the face again that resulted in a minor concussion and an orbital injury. He made my list for both injuries. Facial injuries are the worst to look at but sometimes the easier to come back from.
49) Keith Primeau: Primeau suffered a concussion in the 2005-2006 season just nine games in. This concussion ended his season and he was forced to retire the following season. He is now working general manager and director of player development for the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. Again he is on the list because it was another concussion ending another career. Hopefully nowadays they will find a way to help players not have to end their career with these types of injuries.
50) Craig Anderson: I originally left spot fifty opened in case a player were to get injured as I was writing these articles and many happened. I chose Craig Anderson, the goalie of the Ottawa Senators. In overtime he collided with Valeri Nichunshkin of the Dallas Stars. He was taken off a stretcher with what appeared to be a stiff neck. He has skated since but still says he is in pain and unsure when he will return.
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