May 11, 2011, 10:44 PM EDT
Hockey players are already known for their willingness to fight through injuries during the postseason, but that trend maxes out when it comes to a Game 7. Just look at the deciding game of the Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers series: Chris Pronger increased his workload dramatically while Derek Roy appeared in his first contest since a December surgery.
Pain isn’t always the biggest factor when a team determines if a player should fight through an injury. Typically, the most important question is: will this injury reduce a player’s effectiveness so much that they would be better off in street clothes?
That might be the biggest question when it comes to San Jose Sharks power forward Ryan Clowe and Detroit Red Wings sniper Johan Franzen. Various sources indicate that Clowe will be a game-time decision while Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t rule Franzen out of Game 7.
When healthy, both players are major contributors to their teams. That being said, I wonder if Clowe will be able to bring the same physical effort to the ice if he is indeed dealing with post-concussion syndrome. On a similar note, Franzen seemed borderline immobile during parts of this series. Each squad would risk essentially having only 19 functional skaters if they incorrectly roll with those players.
That being said, you really cannot put it past either player to contribute considering their talents and the adrenaline boost that comes from playing in a Game 7. We’ll keep you up to date about each situation, although we might not know the final verdicts until the puck drops.
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