The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Olympic Hockey Report: Will Sports Injuries Impact Team USA in Sochi?

Posted by on Friday, February 7th, 2014


Hockey is a notoriously tough sport. At the end of December, 108 players — 15% of the National Hockey League –were sidelined with injuries. While Team USA declared their roster well in advance of the deadline, many other world teams waited with bated breath to check on the status of injured players who may or may not be ready for the Sochi games. You may notice many world-class stars missing from this year’s Olympic men’s ice hockey due to sports injuries.

team usa hockey
Team USA will be healing a few fresh injuries come February, but hopefully the team can hold it together.
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Injured Players Who Didn’t Make the Cut

Many Olympians of years past will have to sit the 2014 Olympics out due to injury. These players include:

Russia’s Evgeni Malkin (leg injury)

Russia’s Alexander Semin (upper body injury)

Canada’s Eric Staal (knee injury)

– Canada’s Steven Stamkos (broken tibia)

Slovakia’s Marian Gaborik (knee injury requiring surgery & broken collarbone)

Finland’s Pekka Rinne (hip infection)

Czech Republic’s Tomas Hertl (torn knee ligaments)

hockey injuries
Hockey injuries are very common due to the nature of the beast.
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Recent NHL Sports Injuries: Is Team USA’s Success in Question?

Many players competing in this year’s Olympic hockey tournament have recently come back from serious injuries. Far too often, we see players rushing their recoveries to avoid missing big games. The end result is usually an even longer and more agonizing recovery. We certainly hope everyone is healthy enough to skate and that re-injuries will not impact any players — but one can never tell what will happen in the rough-and-tumble world of competitive ice hockey.

Team USA welcomed Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick to the roster, even though he has missed 24 games with a groin injury and returned to the ice just mere weeks before the Olympic games. Also added to the roster was Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin— who missed 21 games following a fractured tibia in November. The Detroit Red Wing’s goalie Jimmy Howard received a knee injury that was expected to set him back two to four weeks. New York Rangers’ right winger Ryan Callahan is newly recovered from a knee injury. Pittsburgh Penguins’ defenseman Brooks Orpik and St. Louis Blues’ David Backes both recently started skating soon after suffering concussions. As previously mentioned, Minnesota Wild’s Zach Parise is still suffering from the after-effects of a re-injured foot, but he has still made the roster.

Sochi Games
The first men’s Olympic ice hockey game will be held on February 8th.
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Looking Forward to 2014 Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey

The NHL paused the season’s schedule from February 9th through the 25th so league players could participate in the Olympics. While it may seem like an obvious choice, 2014 marks only the fifth year that NHL players have been allowed to compete in the world Olympic games. With so many Olympians playing right up to the deadline, there is a very big risk of injury affecting the lineups closer to the home stretch.

Dr. Peter DeLuca of Philadelphia’s Rothman Institute will travel to Sochi with Team USA to make sure the players do not overdo it. He recently told USA Today, “My role is not going to be very pleasant. If a player has an injury and the team doctor says the player can play, I, representing the NHL and the team that player plays for, can step in and say ‘No’.”

We will be keeping track of all the Olympic sports from here in New York, and rooting for our favorites. We wish all the players success and good health as they take part in this great international pastime.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.