FanPost

The "Not An Excuse" Canard

ex·cuse   (ĭk-skyōōz')

n.  An explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness

I'm not sure where this idea that injuries are "not an excuse" for diminshed play comes from, but I don't get it.  Injuries and good health are always an important explanation for why teams succeed and fail.  I understand that every team faces injury problems, but some have more luck in this regard than others.  It matters.  How could it not?

Would the Caps have beat the Pens if their key players had all been completely healthy?  In a series that turned on three overtime games, it's hard to imagine otherwise.  Would the Pens have won the series in fewer than seven games if they, instead, had been completely healthy -- for example if Gonchar had not missed time?  Probably so.  In a series this close, almost anything could have turned it.

But this topic runs deeper.  Every season at this time of year, I rethink what it means to be a fan.  Last year it was Morriisonn's broken jaw that caused some serious introspection -- tomorrow we'll hear the exact gory details from this year but they're already starting to leak out.  At least two players have been skating as hard as they could on broken feet.  Another with an arm that wasn't properly attached to his body.  These men have put themselves through serious pain.  And we're to blame. 

It's just not natural for someone to engage in a demanding physical activity with broken or dislocated bones.  But these men do it for us, so that we may be entertained.  Mind you, they're very well compensated.  And they love it.  But every year, on the day the season ends and we learn what everyone was silently going through, I wonder if it's enough to justify what they endure for our pleasure. 

At the very least, we should all appreciate it.  So I don't want to hear about how Alex Semin or Tom Poti or Mike Green are soft.  They have been doing things with three good limbs that the rest of us physically could not do with four.  They did it for pride, for profession, for each other, for their team.

The end of this season is disappointing, as it must be for 29 teams.  But as far as being the cause of the disappointment, well, in my mind Poti, Green and Semin are excused.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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