As I went to sleep last night, I could not stop thinking about how bad the injury to one of our favourite players might have been. I know that almost everyone on the teams that make it to the SCF will be playing with some degree of injury, but seeing injuries like Horton's and now Raymond's really puts a damper on everyone's excitement.
This is only my second fan post in over a year of membership of this community, but I really needed to express myself to hopefully feel a little better and maybe even lift the spirits of our crushed fanbase. After the jump, I will relate my personal experience with back injury and why the news of Raymond's injury's affected me as heavily as it has.
I told a shortened version of this story as part of a comments thread a few months ago, but I am going to repeat it to help you see where I'm coming from. Four years ago, I was in a serious car accident that I somehow survived against all odds. I flew off a bridge going 100 km/h and, after flying for about 250ft, I was ejected through the windshield upon landing. Not wearing a seatbelt saved my life, however, because the car burst into flame when it came to rest at the bottom of the ravine. (I am in no way advocating not wearing a seatbelt, and I always do now; my situation was an exception to the 'seatbelts save lives' rule). Below is a photo of what was left of the car (it used to be a white 1993 Mazda MPV).
The local newspaper, in their never-ending quest for completely accurate and factual reporting, pronounced me dead and concluded I was "in my 30s" based on the contents of the vehicle that were left behind. In reality, I was 20 years old, the van belonged to my parents and my 5-year-old brother's car seat was one of the few items that made it out of the car. Here is the news clipping, if you're curious.
The reason I am describing it in such detail is to explain how I suffered a shattered L1 vertebra, among a list of other lesser injuries. Miraculously, though, my spinal cord was intact, despite the fact that this is one of the largest vertebrae in the spine. Long story short, after a 12-hour medical procedure that fused the vertebrae above and below the broken one, and a 2 month long hospital stay (the first 48 hours after surgery were indescribably painful), I was able to go home and recover to not only walk again, but the very following winter I surprised everyone, including myself, by successfully enjoying my favourite physical activity: snowboarding! Don't get me wrong, the recovery was very slow and painful, and I will have to live with chronic pain for the rest of my life, but my happiness to be alive and completely mobile can not be expressed in words.
My point with all this is to give at least some perspective to Mason Raymond's injury, and I am hoping that it will ease my own fears for his future in hockey. As long as it's "just" a fracture and he doesn't require surgery, his odds at a full recovery are very good. Considering the fact that he is currently in much better physical shape than I will ever be, and he has the best rehab and training at his disposal, I would venture to say that MayRay will be back in action in the same manner that Manny Malhotra came back only a few games ago.
I am not going to discuss any of the ugliness surrounding this situation with regards to the Bruins fans' perceived reaction to the hit by Johnny Boychuk. I am also not going to touch NHL's decision to not even review the incident after suspending Aaron Rome 4 games for a hit of similar, if not lesser, magnitude and severity of injury to the player. Vancouver fans' reaction to the latter issue in particular is pretty self-explanatory, and there really is no point in beating a dead horse, as they say.
In conclusion, a message to the Canucks: MAKE THEM PAY, both on the scoresheet and with the physical game you have brought to them at home all series long. Go out there and avenge your fallen comrade, and the best way to do that is to WIN and shut all the haters up for good.
And to my dear fellow Canucks fans: