HE’S TOUGH — HE’S A HOCKEY PLAYER
Athletes across sports get hurt all the time; that’s no surprise. But there’s a pain threshold and a toughness level in hockey that is worth marveling over.
The latest example is Philadelphia Flyers forward Ian Laperriere, who Friday laid out to block a shot only to have the puck hit him in the face. But if you think a slap shot to the kisser would force him to miss the rest of the game, you’re sorely underestimating how tough hockey players really are.
Laperriere, who was struck in his upper lip, went to the dressing room and received 50 to 100 stitches (the doctor reportedly lost count). But since Laperriere lost only four teeth, he returned to the game in the third period sporting a visor and cage to protect his injured mug.
Just another day’s work for an NHL grinder. The Caps’ Quintin Laing did the same thing as Laperriere on Nov. 17 against the Rangers, blocking a shot and breaking his jaw. He’ll miss more time because of the extent of the injury, but he’s no less of a warrior.
There are different kinds of injuries, obviously, and concussions shouldn’t be brushed off as players are desperate to get back onto the field. But what Laperriere and Laing showed is just how different the mentality is in hockey when it comes to sacrificing for your team — even if it means losing some teeth in the process.
TWT FIVE BEST RIVALRY-GAME TROPHIES
1. Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa vs. Minnesota) — It doesn’t get much better than a bronze pig.
2. Golden Hat (Texas vs. Oklahoma) — The name says it all, plus it comes off the stand so players can wear the golden cowboy hat to celebrate.
3. Telephone Trophy (Missouri vs. Iowa State) — Even though it’s yellow and red, it’s a rare chance to see a rotary telephone.
4. Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Minnesota vs. Wisconsin) — Players actually sprint to the opposing sideline to pick up the giant weapon if their team reclaims the trophy that year.
5. Fremont Cannon (Nevada vs. UNLV) — Again, major points for exchanging a weapon.
SUNDAY’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION
Eh, what the heck: The Redskins go to Philadelphia to attempt to spoil the Eagles’ playoff chances and… you know, play out the string. 1 p.m., Chs. 5, 45