Marc Methot is the owner of quite likely the most famous pinky finger in sports.
Specifically, we’re speaking of the one on his left hand, the one that Sidney Crosby nearly amputated with a swift, not to mention painful, swipe with his hockey stick about three weeks ago.
That whack sent Methot scurrying off the ice, but not before removing his glove to reveal the gruesome sight of the top portion of his bloodied, mangled digit just sort of hanging there by a strand.
Talk about an upper-body injury.
It took about 12 stitches to reattach and Methot has yet to return to his role as a steady defender along the blueline with the Ottawa Senators as his pinky continues to heal.
Methot missed the last nine games of the NHL’s regular season and then the first game of Ottawa’s Eastern Conference quarter-final playoff on Wednesday against the visiting Boston Bruins.
Despite being outplayed by a wide margin, the Bruins scored twice in the final period to carve out a 2-1 victory. The second game, with a 3 p.m. (ET) start time, is Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre.
“We looked like, scared to lose instead of hungry to win,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said after the loss, chalking it all up as a valuable learning experience for his team.
All signs are pointing to Methot’s return for Saturday’s game.
“He was ready to go last game, so we’re obviously getting closer and closer,” Boucher said on Friday after the Senators practised. “And for me it’s about, can he shoot? He can do everything else. Now it’s a question of can he, under pressure, can he give us a good shot when he’s going to need to? I think that’s where it’s at. But we’re getting really, really close, that’s for sure.”
Other than provide regular updates on his healing process, Methot has said little about Crosby’s slash on March 23, which did not draw a penalty.
He left that to Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk, who reacted scornfully toward the Pittsburgh Penguins star, who said he was only trying to strike the stick of the Senators defenceman.
Crosby obviously missed.
“You do anything that’s almost a certain injury and I think the only way to do it is you wipe the guy off the map for not one or two games, [but] 10,” Melyk sounded off to an Ottawa radio station at the time. “How about a season for a few of these guys? Really. He takes my guy, I take your guy. That’s my attitude.”
Melnyk went on to describe Crosby as a “whiner beyond belief.”
You sense that Methot just wants to move on from the widely publicized chop and get back in the game as the primary defensive sidekick of Erik Karlsson, the Ottawa captain.
When speaking with the media on Friday, Methot diligently tried to keep his left hand hidden from view. The only evidence of the damage was a black bandage that wrapped the pinky.
Methot practised on Friday and is obviously close to returning. But if he knows if he’s playing Saturday, he’s not saying.
“There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on,”Methot said. “I think at the end of the day, I just want to be able to be an effective player and help the team when I am coming back in and not hurting anybody by coming back prematurely.
“So I think when I get to that point, whether it be tomorrow or the next game or whenever, we’ll deal with it.”
Methot is not the only health concern for the Senators.
Karlsson, their star defenceman, is obviously still bothered by a sore right ankle. To what extent the Senators are not about to say.
Karlsson, who missed the last three games of the regular season after taking a shot off his skate, took a regular shift in the playoff opener. He played well and assisted on Ottawa’s only goal by Bobby Ryan, but he was hardly his explosive self and the ankle is obviously still affecting his mobility.
He practised Friday, but left the ice early.
“It feels good enough to play,” Karlsson said. “And again, I think it was good enough last game. I think that we played a decent game, myself and everybody else. And hopefully next game we can play a little bit better.”
“We just want to make sure that things don’t flare up,” Boucher said, trying to explain the captain’s limited practice time.Report Typo/Error
Follow us on Twitter: