BOSTON - By the end of the Stanley Cup final, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins seemed to have more players dealing with substantial injuries than not.
Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron had a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscles in his ribs and a separated shoulder, while the Blackhawks celebrated their Cup victory after Game 6 amid a litany of problems.
Bryan Bickell suffered a Grade 2 knee sprain at the end of the Western Conference final, Marian Hossa played through a bad back, Michal Handzus had hand and knee problems and Jonathan Toews got his "bell rung," according to coach Joel Quenneville.
"We were pretty smooth coming into the finals," Quenneville said. "We exited the L.A. series and Bick probably shouldn't have played a game in this series. After Game 3 he looked like he was back to normal, which was big for us, and Hossa was kind of banged-up and Johnny coming into this game banged-up. And we're not talking about the rest of the crew. The resiliency all year long of finding ways and the depth I think was one (thing) that made it so special for us."
Handzus, 36, was the first player to receive the Cup after Toews. That place was well-earned beyond his NHL experience.
"He had more issues than anybody," Quenneville said. "He had a bad hand, he had a bad knee, he had old age. He had a lot of things going on."
Bickell's knee problem should have sidelined him three to four weeks, said Quenneville, who only broke up his line with Toews and Conn Smythe Trophy-winner Patrick Kane to ease pressure on the injured winger.
There was no easing up on Bergeron, who left Game 5 with injury but managed to get onto the ice for Game 6 in Boston. He said that was thanks to a lot of help from the medical staff.
"Everyone’s banged up, everyone wants to help the team and obviously I couldn't do that in Game 5," Bergeron said. "It was mostly because they were worried about my spleen being hurt, so that's why we had to go to the hospital. But everything was fine so it was just the ribs, and the muscles, and the soft tissue. So obviously I would’ve liked to stay in it but I was going through a lot of pain."
Bruins right-winger Jaromir Jagr was in and out of Game 6 with an undisclosed injury, and right-winger Nathan Horton dealt with a suspected shoulder injury all series. Defenceman Zdeno Chara was rendered ineffective as the final went on, but that was also because he was hurt.
"Zdeno is one of those players that unfortunately was not 100 per cent," coach Claude Julien said. "So he battled through it."
More injury information will likely come out in the coming days, but Julien wasn't willing to disclose too much after his team's elimination.
"This not a time to make excuses. They've got injuries, too," he said. "As the series went on, talking about since the start of the Stanley Cup, we had some injuries. It's hard to keep guys out. They want to play through it, and some guys were able to do that."