Washington Capitals captain Chris Clark did not play last night, but it wasn't because he didn't try. Simply put, the team physicians wouldn't clear him.To recap, Clark took a puck in the face, shattering (at least) several chiclets and the roof of his mouth, finished his shift and practiced the next morning. Truly unbelievable.
Clark was hit in the mouth by a puck late in the third period of Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Boston, sustaining several broken teeth, a fractured palate and possibly other injuries inside his mouth (exact details are vague). He has spent the last two days with physicians and dentists and met with doctors before last night's game to plead his case.
"I have never seen a more courageous thing in hockey," said coach Glen Hanlon, who has been involved in the sport for more than 30 years. "To stay out there and play after he was hurt, and he still tried to block shots, still stayed out there until the puck [was iced]. The puck just went straight in his mouth and knocked his teeth out.
"If you could see him, all the damage ... and he practiced this morning! He's got a [facial shield] to protect his mouth. And he won't go on injured reserve."
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I was going to include this in this morning's Roundup, but it deserves a post of its own. If anyone ever tries to tell you that there are tougher athletes anywhere in the world than in the NHL, recount this story to them: