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Montreal Canadians star defenseman close to returning after neck injury

Posted by on 3/24/2016 8:33:34 AM
P K Subban to return from neck injury?

Montreal Canadians star defensemen P.K. Subban was laying on a stretcher being carried off the ice at the Bell Centre with a bad neck injury when people began to applause. It was a scary moment.

But Subban wanted to send a message to Canadian fans and to his parents that he was OK. So he wiggled his fingers and moved his hands the best he could. Despite a devastating hit, Subban was not paralyzed. That was March 10, the night his playing streak of 274 consecutive regular season games came to an end. Counting the playoffs, Subban had played in 308 straight games, not missing one game since Jan. 30, 2013.

“It meant a lot to me to play in this league and not miss a game through injury,” he said. “But if I was going to miss one, that’s how I’d want to go out – in a freak incident like that, not where someone ran me over or something like that. It was just bad luck.”

Subban is close to returning, but doctors want to remain cautious in part because the Canadians won’t make the playoffs this season.  There is no need to rush him back, but Subban is one of those aggressive players that fans love to see play.

He is always on the hunt for a Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. He last won it in 2013 when he led defensemen in points scored along with Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also won a gold medal with the 2014 Canadian national team in Russia.

Subban’s run to the Norris officially ended when Buffalo Sabres defenseman Alexei Emelin rammed into Subban’s head near the boards. The routine for Subban is to jump up and head to the bench after an injury. But he felt a tingling in his arms and was quite frankly scared.

He remained down.

“I’ve always been taught not to stay down on the ice but to get up after something happens,” he said. “In that situation, where you start getting weird feelings in your hands, it’s a little scary. Once trainer (Graham Rynbend) came out, I felt it was best to stay down. They took every precaution for my safety.”

Subban is practicing and could play next week. However, he is a bit out of shape from sitting out. And he feels some symptoms from the hit. The Canadians do not want him to return too soon for fear of injuring himself again and missing the remainder of the season or risking permanent damage.

He is one of the faces of the NHL and at age 27 would be sorely missed by fans that love him in Montreal and hate him everywhere else.

“It’s tough when you’re out there and you’re struggling to see over your shoulder,” Subban said. “With the way the game is played now, it’s so fast; you can’t afford to lose that half of second. You either turn the puck over and it ends up in your net or you end up getting hurt. And the way I play the game, a big part of it is about instinct. I don’t want to take that out of my game.”

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