The Stanley Cup Playoffs may be the most grueling of postseasons amongst this country's major sports. The physical grind of hockey eventually takes its toll on teams and their players, and the club that's left standing in the end has usually avoided major injuries during their playoff run.
The Los Angeles Kings were taken down in the Western Conference Final by the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday, and immediately the list of injuries began to pile up. Several players endured inhibiting injuries, which may help in explaining the lack of production from some of the Kings' top skaters.
Captain and first-line forward Dustin Brown revealed a torn PCL (knee), an injury he said he played through since suffering it in Game 6 of the team's second-round series with the San Jose Sharks. After co-leading the team in 2012 with 20 points in 20 playoff games, Brown recorded just four points in 18 postseason contests this year, leading many to believe he was playing through some sort of physical issue. The 28-year-old winger will likely avoid surgery, instead resting the knee for a four to six week recovery period.
Justin Williams, who skates on the first line with Brown and Anze Kopitar, also admitted he was playing with an injury, saying he separated his shoulder in that same series with the Sharks.
The leading postseason scorer for the Kings this year was a defenseman, but it wasn't the man most fans would expect. Slava Voynov accumulated six goals and seven assists in 18 games, leaving Drew Doughty and his five total points far behind in the dust.
Doughty led all Kings' blueliners last spring with 16 points in 20 playoff games, but the former Norris Trophy finalist was limited by a bad ankle in the team's most recent series' against the Sharks and the Blackhawks.
Another defenseman, veteran Robyn Regehr, suffered an undisclosed arm injury during the Kings' run to the conference finals and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday to repair the damage. Regehr, who was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres just prior to the trade deadline, recently signed a two-year, $6 million contract extension despite playing hurt in the postseason.
Other injuries that may have added to the Kings' woes during the postseason included the presumable concussions suffered by second-line center Mike Richards and third-line center Jarret Stoll. Both players are vital to the team's depth up the middle, and both have the ability to provide secondary scoring.
Richards missed three games after taking a hit to the head by Dave Bolland in Game 1 against the Blackhawks, and Stoll was forced out of six games after he was leveled by Raffi Torres in Game 1 against the Sharks.
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