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The Unbreakable Courage of the OttawaSenators

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When you're an athlete, the prospect of an injury can be terrifying. When your trainer, doctor or physical therapist delivers the devastating news, time seems to slow down. Your breath catches in your throat, your eyes go as wide as the moon and you can almost feel your pupils dilate. The chill that runs through your body and settles in the pit of your stomach is a sensation that stains the banks of your memory and nestles its way into your subconscious for the rest of your life. It's not something you ever forget. Being an athlete myself, there is no worse feeling. Today I sat on a trainer's table. I folded my hands in my lap and did my best to sit tall and look unafraid, like a child whose parents were giving him important news. Telling him that he'd need to be a "big boy" and face a difficult situation. When I was informed of the injured patellar tendon in my right knee, my heart sank. I had just begun training camp for my summer football season https://www.ottawafansstore.com/Vitaly_Abramov_T_shirt-257, as a captain I relished my role as a leader and as a defensive contributor. I choked back the lump in my throat, took a deep breath and listened to my prognosis. It's going to be a long four weeks of rehabilitation, and will likely result in me watching the first two games of the season from the sideline. Am I sad? Devastated. Am I frustrated? Maddeningly. Am I afraid? Not in the slightest. When you're injured, things aren't totally out of your hands. The first decision you make is whether or not you can and/or should play through it. Take our captain, Erik Karlsson, for example. It was revealed after the first round series against the Bruins that he played with two hairline fractures in his foot. For those of you who don't understand why this is a big deal, think about how much it hurts when you get a bruise on your foot. It takes forever to go away and it's incredibly sensitive. Now imagine having literal cracks in the bones of your foot. On top of that, tie a skate as tight as it gets, then skate on it for about an hour and a half. Done? Good. Now play a game in which you average 30-40mins of ice time, skating at top speed and blocking 100mph shots with your foot. Doesn't sound too fun, does it? This is the courage and leadership that makes a great athlete out of a good one. Erik Karlsson made a choice. Instead of opting for comfort, or even playing half-assed, he forced the pain into a steel box in the back of his mind and put his team first. With the hopes of a starving fanbase on his shoulders, the captain put any doubt about this year's team to rest. Turning in a performance the likes of which hasn't been seen in years to propel his team to the second round. It takes a special type of player to do what Erik Karlsson did and continues to do. Knowing fully well that the New York Rangers will come after his injured foot, like rabid wolves nipping at the heels of an injured deer, Karlsson will keep running until his last breath https://www.ottawafansstore.com/Dominik_Hasek_Pillow_Cover-136. He will evade his predators, or he will die trying. There are, of course, the less fortunate types of injuries. The ones where normal activity and training are out of the question. Speaking from personal experience, these are the injuries that isolate you. They grab you by the legs and drag down a deep, dark hole. Shackling you to the floor in a dark corner, shrieking and taunting you until you go insane. Coming back from these long-term, major injuries is frustrating to say the least. The daily routines of rehab and rest can be both painful and mind-numbing. But with resilience and just the right amount of patience, you can come back stronger than before. If injuries like these were difficult for me, I can't imagine what Clarke MacArthur must have gone through. Repeated head trauma is a scary thing, it puts the rest of one's life in perspective. The game of risk vs. reward has higher stakes each round, resulting in defeat for most of its players. We've seen professional football players, such as promising rookie Chris Borland, retire early due to fears of concussions and the uncertainty of their quality of life post-sports. Four concussions Dominik Hasek T-Shirt, with two in fairly rapid succession, is enough to make most players give up and call it quits Mike Fisher Face Mask. MacArthur himself admits to pondering retirement earlier this year, despite reassuring his coach that he would return for the 2017 playoffs. No one would have blamed him, and when G.M. Pierre Dorion announced in January that MacArthur would be shut down for the remainder of the season, the writing appeared to be on the wall. But in one final, desperate act of defiance, Clarke MacArthur took one big damn paint brush and painted right over the text on the wall. He returned, not a moment too soon. With the Ottawa Senators already rallying behind him, the impact of his return was felt in a big way. In Game 2, scoring the first goal of the game and "lifting the city up" in jubilant celebration to a thunderous ovation from the home crowd. But obviously most of all, his goal in overtime of Game 6, sending his team to the second round. Hollywood couldn't have written the story any better. We, the adoring fans, will remember Clarke's goal forever. But it will be his courage in the face of adversity, that should always live forever in our hearts and memories. The courage it takes to recover from an injury is undeniable. It is a battle against one's own mind and body to come back stronger than before. But every once in awhile there is a far greater battle that needs to be fought. One that takes every ounce of toughness, both mental and physical, that you can muster. Sometimes, a road block so great presents itself, that you doubt your own ability to carry on. I can only imagine that this is what Senators' goalie Craig Anderson was facing at the end of 2016. When his wife, Nicholle, was diagnosed with cancer. For a woman so young, with her whole life ahead of her, not many people can comprehend the fear and pain that the Anderson's were subjected to. In a circumstance that would have beat most men to their knees and left them lying in a heap, Craig Anderson fought back https://www.ottawafansstore.com/Michael_Amadio_T_shirt-251. He responded to his wife's soul-crushing diagnosis with a shut-out of the Edmonton Oilers. Visibly emotional, Anderson's Senators teammates rushed him in a celebration reminiscent of that of a playoff series victory. It was at that moment that the Ottawa Senators, their fans and the Anderson's all came to an important realization https://www.ottawafansstore.com/Daniel_Alfredsson_T_shirt-4. That Nicholle was our family too, and that we all had each others' backs. Come hell or high water. Craig Anderson's courage in the face of unspeakable adversity should make HIM a shoo-in for the Masterson trophy. We stand with you Nicholle, forever and always. Courage comes in many forms. Be it playing through injury, recovering from injury, or battling against something far greater, it is a quality that separates the good from the great. The Ottawa Senators have plenty of it. We have always been an organization that has played the underdog, having to scratch and claw for respect and recognition. As frustrating as it may be, it makes no difference in the end. The "experts" had the Bruins ending Ottawa's season. They were wrong. Now, against a Rangers' team that looks especially dangerous, there are those that doubt Ottawa's capabilities once again. No matter. Let them have the superstars and the statistics. After all, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. And whatever happens in round two and (hopefully) beyond, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be no shortage of fight in the Ottawa Senators.

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