A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

still more on cole

I really wish I could quit harping on this, but it really is a big story.

It turns out that the specific vertibra that was fractured in Cole's injury was the c-5. This is a very serious injury. Of course we already knew that, but it is this very same vertebral fracture that forced the Islanders' Kevin Colley to retire earlier this season.

On the other hand, Patrick Eaves, of the Senators suffered the same injury in his freshman season at Boston College. He made a full recovery after exactly three months, and has blossomed into a decent NHLer.

What we now know explains why certain preliminary reports indicated an arm injury. The C5 vertebra has nerves which go to the arm -- at and above the elbow. This article, and others like it, can be more detailed about that.

And here's some shocking news, from an article in today's News and Observer:
One more foot-pound of pressure, doctors told Erik Cole, and the fractured vertebra he suffered could have had far more disastrous consequences.

One foot-pound isn't very much force. That's pretty scary.

Meanwhile, Brooks Orpik has been groaning about the length of his suspension. Said Orpik, in an interview:
"I don't agree with it, but I understand where they're coming from.... Anytime there's a serious injury, they have to act on it, but the three games -- I was surprised about that."

In the article from the N&O, Cole says that he doesn't think Orpik intended to injure him, but he's with the rest of us in being perplexed be the brevity of the Orpik suspension.

Especially when juxtaposed against the Artyukhin two-game suspension. I'm just not sure how running a player from behind causing a very serious injury is only 50% more reprehensible than bashing a guy over the head with a helmet, causing a minor cut.

Added to the actual injury, and the insult of a very light suspension to Orpik, Cole is disappointed that he hasn't heard a single word from Orpik. Cole isn't looking for an apology or anything like that. What he's looking for is for Orpik to show some class by calling just to see how he's doing.

Tonight, the Canes will be in Philly for another Eastern Conference showdown of playoff-bound teams.


Jeff J said...

"I'm just not sure how running a player from behind causing a very serious injury is only 50% more reprehensible than bashing a guy over the head with a helmet, causing a minor cut."

I've been following this topic closely because Hab-killer Cole is a favourite of mine (he grew up a Habs fan!). Plus, Carolina-Montreal is a possible playoff match-up. In Orpik's defense:
- Hitting is part of the game; weilding foreign objects as weapons is not.
- Orpik should have let up when he saw Cole's back was turned. However, things move fast and that is a split-second decision. Artichokin deliberately pulled off Vermette's bucket and beat him with it.
- A big part of the "hitting from behind" penalty is that the victim is often unaware of his opponent and is off-guard. Cole knew Orpik was bearing down.

It was a legal hit gone wrong, not a deliberate illegal act. That said, Orpik should have eased up. For not doing so, he deserves a suspension. If three games isn't enough, what is? Five? Ten? I'd go with five, but it's a tough decision.

Also, it's shocking that Cole wasn't immobilized. It was initially reported as an arm injury, suggesting that the nerve absorbed at least some of the force. Very scary.

d-lee said...

That's a decent point about weilding a weapon being much more deliberate than failing to ease up on a hit like that.

My concern though, is the damage done by the illegal hit. This is about as close to "worse case scenario" as it could get.

I'm with you and many others on another one of your points. It's silly that Cole wasn't immobilized. I'm sure he wanted to be able to go off on his own, but the trainer really should have forbade him that.

Indeed, Cole plays very well at Molson, and would have been an ace in the hole for us in the road games in that potential first round matchup. Yes, I know they don't call it "Molson" anymore, but it's the same building.

It might be a different story anyway, since we don't have Jose Theodore to kick around anymore.


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