The video was not initially as bad to watch as one would expect. Over the years we’ve actually been grown to expect that. Richard Zednik, Clint Malarchuk, they both were falling players + sharpened skates + bare skin. While their accidents were actually life-threatening, the skate can become the most dangerous object on the ice. When Columbus’ R.J. Umberger lost his balance late in the second period, he nearly took a Hall of Fame career with him. Instead, Modano says he’ll be ready in March to help the Red Wings to another Stanley Cup title.
A good friend of mine played hockey locally throughout high school, and he told me about an incident that forever changed his view on protective hockey gear. His team was highly suggested that they had to wear neck guards as part of their gear underneath the team turtlenecks. During a scrum on the ice near the net, he skated away and felt a large gash that had cut through the shirt and through all but the last line of defense on the neck guard. High school hockey does not have the same sort of training staff, resources that the NHL does, and that shift could have very well been his last.
Just taking a look at the first cast that doctors placed on the wrist of Mike Modano, and it’s clear that it could have been so much worse. He had his fingers suspended like a leg on a hospital gurney. His forearm was a multitude of color tones and it just had the look of pain. It also had the look of an athlete grateful to have one last chance.
For Modano, in this stage of his career, each chance he gets is another opportunity to add to his Hall of Fame legacy.