In Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya, already logging big minutes as one of the Blackhawks’ top-four blueliners, was tripped up by Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and fell awkwardly to the ice. Soon thereafter, he left to the dressing room and barely played the rest of the evening.
When he did get into the game, it looked as though he was using only one arm, poking at the puck instead of being able to play it effectively. Come Game 4, however, Oduya was back in the lineup and playing one of the biggest minute regulation games of his post-season, skating nearly 26 minutes in a 2-1 Chicago victory.
He continued with the big minutes in Games 5 and 6, logging close to 50 minutes over the final two games of the series as the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. As such, it comes as somewhat of a surprise to learn that Oduya, following the knock from Kucherov, was playing through a tear in his elbow that he said left his arm feeling as if it had no power.
“It was just that one game where I went off,” Oduya told ESPN’s Scott Powers. "I didn't really have any power in my triceps, but other than that, I felt good the last few games here, so it was no issue, really.
"You want to keep going. I think anybody in a series like this, you don't really think too much. You battle through it. They probably had a couple guys who were probably hurt, too. That's just the way of the game. I think it's impossible to go through this point and not have a couple bumps and bruises. Obviously, when you win, it's not an issue."
It hasn’t been reported whether or not Oduya’s injury will require surgery. If it does, the 33-year-old will likely undergo the process as soon as possible to begin rehabbing. Oduya is an unrestricted free agent this off-season and is likely to land himself a nice contract following a few good seasons in the Blackhawks organization.
Versteeg, who took Bryan Bickell’s spot in the lineup for the final three games of the series, said he inured his right knee and that it might require surgery. The right knee is the same one he had ACL surgery on, so there could be cause for concern about Verseteeg missing some time in the coming season.
In addition to Versteeg, Andrew Shaw almost didn’t play in Game 6, according to coach Joel Quenneville, and Marcus Kruger, who was battered and bruised in the Wesetern Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks, admitted that he was playing through injury. Kruger did not specify exactly what his injuries were, however.
"[I played through] a few things,” Kruger told Powers. “But I think all our guys did that. Every guy battles so hard to get through the game. Our medical team did a great job of getting us ready for the games. We got the summer to heal.”