Calgary Flames’ defenseman Chris Tanev is an absolute warrior.
The Flames and Oilers concluded their Battle of Alberta Round 2 Playoff series Thursday night at Scotiabank Saddledome. Connor McDavid scored the Game 5 overtime winner to eliminate Calgary and send the Oilers to the Western Conference Final.
Following the conclusion of the Battle of Alberta playoff series, mind-blowing injury news broke regarding Calgary blueliner Chris Tanev. The 30-year-old defenseman returned to play Game 4 and Game 5 of the series after missing the first three games with an undisclosed injury.
After the Flames were officially eliminated Thursday, a report broke detailing how much pain Tanev was playing through. TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal reports Tanev played Games 4 & 5 with a torn labrum, a separated shoulder, and a sprained neck.
What a gutsy performance by Chris Tanev who played with a torn laberum, separated shoulder and had a sprained neck.
Surgery next week.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) May 27, 2022
Dhaliwal adds that Tanev will undergo surgery next week. It’s simply ridiculous Tanev played through that much pain to try and help the team.
Tanev didn’t see a reduction in ice time upon return either, which really shows his dedication. The Calgary blueliner averaged 21 minutes of ice time in the two games, blocking a shot in each contest.
Tanev’s warrior playoff performance brings back memories of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron going beast mode in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Bergeron played through a broken rib, torn rib cartilage, and separated shoulder vs the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6.
Patrice Bergeron said he had broken rib, torn cartilage entering the game and played with a separated shoulder sustained tonight ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 25, 2013
It may seem like a dangerous decision on Tanev’s part to play, but you have to consider the context. The Flames were dominated by Edmonton’s Connor McDavid’s line in the first three games of the series. McDavid had nine points in the first three games with Tanev on the sidelines.
Tanev is Calgary’s best shutdown defenseman and had success shutting down McDavid during the regular season. Despite his growing list of injuries, Tanev likely felt some pressure to enter the series and be the solution for stopping McDavid.
Whether or not you agree with Tanev playing through the pain to try and help his team, you have to respect the dedication. Unfortunately, it didn’t matter much, as Calgary goalie Jacob Markstrom posted a miserable .852 save percentage in the Battle of Alberta.
Tanev playing through a torn labrum, a separated shoulder, and a sprained neck reminds us of something we knew a long time ago. Hockey players are a different breed of athletes.