It happened again: after missing games with an injury and worrying the team and fans alike, another elite player made his return to the game only to have him not miss a beat.
Claude Giroux missed the last four games with his Philadelphia Flyers due to a concussion. Last night, against the Dallas Stars, Giroux played full-steam ahead, maintaining all of his chemistry, tallying four points, and generally acting as if he hadn’t gone anywhere. This marks the second time this season in which a franchise player returned from injury only to silence the critics accusing them of not being able to reach their old level of play. Although out with injury again currently, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby returned from a concussion earlier this season to tally four points against the New York Islanders. Last night, although not in such a flashy manner as Giroux, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis also returned to his line-up against the San Jose Sharks. St. Louis, who was hit with a stray puck, causing facial fractures, had missed just under two weeks with the team. The team favourite wasn’t expected to play again until after Christmas, so this return already had the team and its fans ecstatic – which isn’t a common feeling these days in Tampa.
St. Louis is a Stanley Cup winner, Art Ross winner, Hart Trophy winner, and all around all-star easily considered to be in the same league as Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby. By the time the Bolts took the ice, the world surrounding the NHL was already a buzz with Giroux’s performance. It got the fans curious: would Marty do the same?
The answer was an emphatic no. But, St. Louis performance last night was still as impressive in its own way. St. Louis did score a goal last night, late in the third, after the team was already out of the game. This is yet another testament to the man’s heart – he returned early from injury to score a goal in a game already lost against a larger, more physical team.
More has to be considered. Although the Lightning have talented players, the level and chemistry hasn’t reached that of the Flyers and Penguins. Four points for Giroux and Crosby can almost be considered on par with St.Louis’ one based on the players surrounding them.
Lastly, one has to look at the injury. In no way is this article saying concussions aren’t serious, but both Giroux and Crosby were cleared and announced to be symptom-free. St. Louis still has a fractured orbital bone. It’s safe to say that his vision probably wasn’t one-hundred per cent last night, and if it was, the cage he was wearing probably caused one hell of an obstructed view.
St. Louis may not have lit up the score board like some other players, but as far as individual performances go, Marty made the best comeback he could given the tools he had to work with – and that’s what he’s known for.
Fun fact: This article is exactly 499 consecutive words.
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