Last week Dion Phaneuf
, the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs had his leg cut by a skate blade. His injury was severe enough to put him on the IR for a minimum of four weeks. The word is Phaneuf was extremely lucky that the cut wasn’t a few centimetres deeper.
In last year’s playoff run, Jordan Stall of the Pittsburgh
Penguins had his Achilles tendon sliced by a skate. He had a summer filled with rehab and complications from the injury.
When serious injuries occur in the NHL, alarm bells go off among the medical staff of all teams. Dialogue has begun on why these injuries occur and how they could be prevented.
One question that always comes to mind is was the Phaneuf injury just a fluke or are we seeing an increase in skate cuts? Here is what we do know:
1. Blade technology and methods of skate sharpening continues to improve. The skate blade edge is sharper than ever before.
2. The players are faster, bigger and stronger. There is more impact on collisions which results in more skates flying.
3. There is a theory that the new form fitting hockey socks introduced a few years back are an issue. That may be a stretch in my mind, however many feel the old-style socks offered some resistance when contacted by a skate blade. The new form fitting, thin style is virtually like wearing nothing at all on the leg.
The race is on by the hockey equipment manufactures to develop a protective solution. There is already a product on the market, a protective knee high sock. Players have tried it, however they feel it’s very hot when worn on the ice.
A protective sock that protects the entire leg from skate cuts is the answer. It is only a matter of time before a manufacture develops a solution to this issue and it’s on the market.