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Raymond to play first game since breaking back in Cup final

Dec 1, 2011, 5:28 PM EST

Mason Raymond Getty Images

Mason Raymond will make his season debut tonight in Vancouver when the Canucks host Nashville. The 26-year-old winger knows he’s lucky for the opportunity after breaking his back during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.

“I’ve come a long ways,” Raymond told reporters yesterday. “You go from lying in bed for a week, barely moving, to being in a brace for a few months. It’s been a long process. I’m blessed to be able to be back here, playing the game I love. You don’t really realize, I think, what you use every day — the use of your hands, your legs, until something like that happens maybe.”

The injury occurred when Raymond was ridden into the boards by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk. No penalty was called on the play, a decision that still bothers some Canucks fans, particularly given the four-game suspension handed to Aaron Rome during the series.

Of real concern, however, was Raymond’s health.

“I remember him going down and initially I thought he hit his head,” assistant coach Rick Bowness said. “Then he comes off the ice and you talk to the doctors and trainers and realize it’s a lower-back injury. That’s not good. Then they tell you the extent of it and it’s: ‘Wow. Is that career-threatening?’ It possibly could be. Fortunately, it wasn’t.

“People don’t know what he went through mentally and emotionally and what he had to go through physically just to get back, just to give himself an opportunity to play again. People don’t see what he goes through every day.”

Raymond is expected to skate on Vancouver’s third line with Cody Hodgson and Jannik Hansen.

  1. govtminion - Dec 1, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    I still don’t think it was a bad hit, just an unfortunate one. Glad he’s returning to action, proof that these guys really are tougher than normal humans.

  2. loinstache - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Not to stir the pot, and I really don’t believe Boychuk had the intention to seriously harm Raymond, but it was an illegal play that broke a player’s back… enough said.

  3. davebabychreturns - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Yeah it’s pretty tough to conclude that play was legal.. although I suppose it was “Stanley Cup Finals legal.”

    Frankly the non-penalty didn’t bother me at all. What got me was the reaction from Bruins fans who booed Raymond.

    But I guess given the attitude that team has on the ice, that sort of thing isn’t too surprising.

    • imleftcoast - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:48 PM

      What got me was the four-game suspension to Rome for an equally marginal hit.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:01 PM

      Wonder how he’ll fit into the lineup long-term. He’s a LW/C, and between Lapierre and Malhotra, the bottom-six centre positions are solidly filled out. The second-line wings are covered, leaving him in the 3LW slot unless they decide to run Lapierre and Malhotra on the fourth full-time – a waste of their talent, I feel.

      I suppose the thought that comes to mind is this – what about trading him? I’ve heard some interest shown by a couple of GMs, particularly Jay Feaster, and it’s understandable – at his best he’s a solid two-way second-liner who can play the wing or the centre as needed. What doesn’t seem to have set in for anyone is that he’s likely not going to play like he used to. He’s not going to be that good anymore, so the question is – will he struggle to find a place on an extremely deep roster? If so, one wonders if they might be best off trying to sell him high.

      Of course, there’s a chance he’ll bounce back to his old form, and if he does, so much the better – but it isn’t likely. He can talk about being “fully recovered” as long as he wants, but the man broke his back. Nobody fully bounces back from something like that.

      • davebabychreturns - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:06 PM

        Where is he talking about “fully recovered”? I see more “will never again be 100%” which should in and of itself be enough to end any trade speculation.

        Raymond will be a Canuck for several months at least – long enough for him and the team to figure out what he’s got to offer at this point – and probably through the end of the year.

        As for where he fits into the lineup, he’s played all over the lineup (including RW if I’m not mistaken) in the past so he may bounce around while AV tries to find a bottom six configuration he likes. It’s a good problem to have.

  4. shiplore - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Couple comments, first, I’m glad he’s back and hope he’s better than before. He was one of the only guys on the whole Van team who’s game I appreciated as a Bruins fan,

    Second, wasn’t remotely dirty or supplemental discipline worthy, sorry Van fans.

    and as for the Bruins Fan’s reaction? Really? You’re questioning this? A) the Van team had made their way through the playoffs diving and trying (unsuccessfully in the finals) to draw penalties, while raising questions about their toughness, B) The trainers and Drs didn’t even take him off on a stretcher..so especially for those in attendance it was impossible to gauge the resultant seriousness of the injury, once it was known, the main reaction after the fact was “Whoa hope he’s okay, didn’t think something so harmless looking could cause such an injury”.

    • davebabychreturns - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:40 PM

      I didn’t question the fans reaction at all, as I said when you’re accustomed to watching a team that gets psyched up using its fists it’s probably pretty easy to get a bit carried away.

      What I intimated is that it bothered me. Mason Raymond is not a diver despite the fact that he plays for the Canucks (and it is evidently now a law of nature that all Canucks are cheaters, divers, biters and whiners) and when he crumpled like he did it was obvious he was hurt badly.

      (And yeah.. it was very strange no stretcher was used.. I’m no medical professional but you’d think any back injury would be treated with more caution.)

      Anyway we clearly remember different versions of what transpired so there’s no point going around and around over it.

      • govtminion - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:59 PM

        That bothered me too. Broken back, and he skated off under his own power?

        I don’t mean that like he faked it by any means, but it seems to me the Canucks medical staff might have handled that one a little better… a lot better… what the hell were you guys thinking anyway?

  5. shiplore - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Well I won’t speak for all B’s fans but I know i didn’t think it was serious when there was no stretcher used. I honestly thought cause of the way he was bent over it was the wind knocked out of him. I don’t hoot any down player but I certainly wasn’t concerned still I heard what the injury was.

  6. 8man - Dec 1, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    I wish him the best. Skate like the wind, Mason. Revel in it, and embrace that joy you’ve had your whole life.

  7. davebabychreturns - Dec 1, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Oh and apparently Raymond’s been ruled ineligible for tonight’s game at the last minute – apparently the paperwork wasn’t filed in time.

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