Well, here we go. I hoped that the return of hockey would simmer Ottawa Senators fans down, and save us from the vitriol and infighting that the summer brought us with Daniel Alfredsson's departure, speculation about Eugene Melnyk's fina...
Well, here we go. I hoped that the return of hockey would simmer Ottawa Senators fans down, and save us from the vitriol and infighting that the summer brought us with Daniel Alfredsson's departure, speculation about Eugene Melnyk's finances, and Mika Zibanejad's AHL stint, among other things.
Sadly, that's clearly not to be. We're just two games in and already some are questioning Bobby Ryan, and are now ready to panic over Jason Spezza.
Is this what it means to be a sports fan in the 21st century? Am I the only one left who actually enjoys, you know, watching hockey? Is all that we have left to do now just seize on any tidbit of information and extrapolate it out to the worst-case scenario like we have any clue what the situation is? What's the benefit of that level of negativity?
"But Mark," you say. "The Senators haven't been forthright about injuries in the past. Why should we believe them this time when last year they told us they were managing Spezza's back one day and then he was having surgery a few days later?"
Well, obviously I don't have more information than you do in this case, but I do have Occam's Razor: The simplest theory is more likely to be true. Was there a secret conspiracy to hide the severity of Spezza's back injury from fans last year, even though they'd find out anyway once he had surgery? Or is it more likely that the team wasn't sure of the severity, did further tests, and then Spezza and his doctors took a few days to determine the best course of treatment, deciding on surgery when he didn't improve?
It's one thing to worry about Spezza's groin. There's no doubt that he's hurt--that's not in dispute. The question is how we react to that news. Do we lock in on words from head coach Paul MacLean like "questionable" and "chronic" and assume the worst? Or do we recognize that we are not doctors, nor is MacLean a doctor--but that having a fully healthy Spezza aligns with his own interests?
Here's what we know about groin injuries: They're more common in sports like hockey, have absolutely nothing to do with a player's conditioning level, and are best treated with rest.
ESPN goes into more depth on those subjects with Dr. Andrew Parker, team doctor for the Colorado Avalanche.
Which activities seem to be most affected by groin pulls?
Dr. Parker: The sports that seem to have the highest incidence of groin injuries are sports where there is cutting side to side, quick accelerations and decelerations and sudden directional changes. You occasionally hear about sprinters with groin pulls, but the typical person we see is not the straight-ahead athlete as much as the side-to-side player in sports such as soccer, hockey and basketball. The thought is that you have a tremendous mass in the upper body and the upper body is going in one direction and the legs are directing the body to do something different either stop, start or turn.
What is the treatment for groin pulls and how long does it take to recover?
Dr. Parker: For the typical muscle strain or pull, including groin injuries, the treatment is always conservative. We use rest and ice, then proceed to a gradual stretching and strengthening program followed with a return to athletics. This works well for the "weekend warrior" up through to the professional athlete. Anti-inflammatory medication and ice help with the swelling, but time is what cures groin pulls more than anything. In higher levels of competition, treatments such as muscle stimulators and ultrasound can help with the healing process. For all the similarities, every groin pull is different, as are the athletes that have them. The recovery depends on a lot of factors. Age, level of fitness, severity of the injury and a diligence with respect to rehabilitation all contribute to recovery times.
Peter Nelson, a former hockey player and strength and conditioning intern with Pennsylvania State University Men’s Ice Hockey Team, wrote an excellent article explaining exactly why