After game 6 of the Western Conference Final there were some revealing post-game quotes from the Ducks captain, Ryan Getzlaf. Per NHL.com, Getzlaf said, “It started with me. I was terrible tonight and that’s on me. I’ve got to be better and calm our group down as we go.” Getzlaf was notably not playing with much pace and was a -3. What’s even worse is the top line center was 27% on faceoffs. His performance set the tone for the rest of the series. The Ducks never had a lead again in the series and lost in Game 7.
12 Days Later
INJURY UPDATES: Nate Thompson (shoulder) will have surgery tomorrow. Ryan Getzlaf has a sports hernia but will not need surgery.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) June 11, 2015
Getzlaf was diagnosed with a sports hernia. The injury is caused by a high amount of twisting and turning producing pain in the groin area. In many cases surgery is needed, but in Getzlaf’s case there will be no need. He is expected to rehab over the summer and return with his team in September for training camp.
Eight days earlier, in his exit interview, Getzlaf was asked about any injury he might have been carrying in the playoffs.
This question was sure to come up with Getzlaf’s fall in performance in games 6 & 7. He had lost a step and also missed two of the last regular season games.
When did it happen?
Missing two of the last three regular season games could have been more about rest. Getzlaf led all forwards in time on ice and played 76 games before he took that break. In nine games against Calgary and Winnipeg, Getzlaf had 12 points. In the first five games against Chicago, he managed seven points with at least one in each. So when did the injury happen?
It’s possible Getzlaf was playing with the hernia since Winnipeg, maybe even since Calgary. If either of those estimates is true, he still managed to battle his way through each series with four points in four games against Winnipeg and eight points in five games against Calgary. So if he did have it, it wasn’t affecting him enough to slow him down. Was it the two long overtimes that caused the Ducks captain to finally succumb to his injury? Perhaps, but Getzlaf refuses to let that be the excuse for why his team lost.
Leading by Example
It doesn’t matter when the injury happened anymore. There will be no closure that news like that can bring. Getzlaf refused to let that be an excuse for his team’s failures. He acknowledged the frustration and anger of the fans because he believes he has disappointed them once again. A man like Getzlaf leads by example on the ice. He calms his group down in times of need, but mostly, let’s his play do the talking.
Unless he was missing a leg, Getzlaf was going to play every single game. And, based on the numbers above, an injured Getzlaf is still one of the best players on the ice. If the injury did happen early, the best take away from this for Ducks fans is that Getzlaf can play through pain. It’s not the Stanley Cup, but it’s something.
I am a young product of Southern California taking in the world of hockey from the palm trees. I was raised by Kings fans and rebelled to the Ducks in 1993. This sport is incredible and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the game, the fans, and most of all, coaches and players.