The post-season injury lists for the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks will begin filtering out over the next few weeks, but the strangest tale of all may have already been revealed.
During his end of season meeting with media, Penguins center Nick Bonino said that he had to battle through some serious situations during the final two rounds of the post-season. Bonino said that during the Stanley Cup final he was dealing with an infection in his elbow that had him on medication and a fever so high — over 101, according to Bonino — that he had to be kept away from his family.
“They were going to shut me down for the year,” Bonino said. “I was on a ton of antibiotics, getting IVs every day at the hospital. The doctors did a really good job keeping my elbow healthy. I don’t think I practiced the whole (Stanley Cup final). Guys were ripping me for it because I could just play games, didn’t have to practice anymore. I rested up and then we got it done…I was quarantined in the hotel, I wasn’t even living at home. They didn’t want me around the baby.”
It’s not uncommon for stories of gruesome injuries to start coming out following the final, and the Penguins had a few. Evgeni Malkin, for instance, may require off-season elbow surgery and will need an MRI before the he and the Penguins decide how to move forward. Bryan Rust broke his finger during Game 6 and was unable to shake hands during the traditional handshake line following the contest. That’s only two of what are sure to be a few more bumps and bruises.
Even with the severity of Malkin and Rust’s injuries, though, it’s hard to believe Bonino was not only able to fight through the pain of the elbow infection, but get out on the ice and remain hydrated enough to fight off the fever. Better yet, he opened the series with the Game 1-winning goal and posted three points in the series.
Bonino said the infection should be cleared up by the antibiotics, if it’s not already, and there’s no real concern that it will stick around long-term. If anything, he said, doctors will clean up the infection through a minor surgery.
Dealing with the injuries made for a “weird time,” Bonino said, but in the end it was “worth it to win.” And his heroic effort isn’t going to land him just a Stanley Cup ring, either. Bonino said he and his ‘HBK’ Line linemates Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin will be receiving WWE championship belts, like the one award to the Penguins.
"That's the perk of being (on a line) named after a wrestler,” Bonino joked.