The Maple Leafs announced on Tuesday that defenceman Matt Hunwick
will have season-ending surgery. He updated his status following the team's practice...
Can you update us on your condition?
Yeah, just going to have surgery here in the near future for a sports hernia and I guess that's all there is to really say at this point. It's kind of something I've battled with for the last month or so and it's gotten to a point where I need to do it. I'm going to take care of it now and get ready for next year.
What was the point you got to where you couldn't continue playing?
I think when you start to maybe jeopardize other areas of your body when you overcompensate. You start to have some issues, not necessarily with the original injury, but with other parts of your body. Then you kind of say the risk of continuing to play is not worth the reward we're going to get out of it... [The injury was picked up] against Vancouver. It was almost four weeks ago now. It's something I was able to play with against Chicago and then I missed a handful of games there trying to let it settle down and get to a point where we could play again. It actually felt pretty good my first game back against Montreal and then I've kind of had some issues the last few games.
Can you describe the emotion when you find out you've been shut down?
It's tough. I didn't sleep real well last night and, no matter how the season is going, you always want to be a part of it, you always want to play and never take for granted the opportunity to play in the NHL. It's tough but you have to look at the positives that we're going to get it fixed and have a great summer and hopefully get ready for next year.
What happened last night after you played 27 minutes?
It was an issue -- I obviously missed practice the day before. I still had quite a bit of soreness at the morning skate. Throughout the game I continued to have soreness in areas I won't describe on TV, but it's just something where you can have some adrenaline and play through some pain. At the same time, you start to run the risk of injuring other parts of the body. That's where we felt like we needed to do something at this point.
Have you gotten any prognosis in terms of recovery time?
From what I've heard it sounds like 8-10 weeks is the recovery time for this.
Is it any more frustrating for you after all you've done this year for your career?
It's just disappointing to not be able to finish the season with the team. I love coming to the rink every day and practicing, playing. It hasn't been the easiest year lately with the games we've been losing, but I still love being around the rink and competing and unfortunately I won't be able to do that the last three or four weeks. Hopefully I'll be better off come next season.
On having six months to recover:
We'll have plenty of time to have a good recovery, we can take our time with it and make sure everything is right and start skating again in June or July.
How do you characterize your first season in Toronto with top pairing minutes and being an alternate captain?
It's probably more than I imagined when I first signed here in the summer. I came in hoping to compete for maybe a spot in the top-four. I just wanted to really come in and have a good training camp and see where it went. Obviously my role evolved pretty quickly here and I was very fortunate to get a good opportunity and really try and take advantage of it each and every day. I'm very fortunate to be a leader on this team. We have a lot of young players and obviously over the last few weeks I've had a chance to play with a lot of the new guys, the young guys. A talented group, good kids and that's one of the downsides of having this done right now is I won't be able to finish the season with them.