Hockey like football is a collision sport. The game is played at high speed, on ice. Injuries are going to happen. Resiliency in a hockey player is a virtue.
Gordie Howe played an 80 game season in the NHL at age 51. He was tough as nails, seldom injured, and could play with pain. Those traits allow you to survive a long career in the NHL.
Gordie early in his career suffered an injury that for many would have been career threatening. Playing the first playoff game against the Leafs back in 1950 he suffered a fractured cheek and nose, lacerated eyeball and brain hemorrhage. Doctors had to drill into his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain.
Gordie came back the next year, played a full season, and won the league scoring title. Not everyone can do that.
Gordie represents one end of the spectrum. He is one of the most durable men ever to play the game.
Other NHL players always seem to be injured. The injury prevents them from playing or interferes with their ability to play all out.
Numerous factors come into play. Most players just aren't as physically immune to injury as Gordie Howe seemed to be. Nor do they possess the pre-steroid recuperative powers he managed to display.
Some players, the fighters, power forwards, the physical shut-down defensemen are hurt and ground down by the very physical nature of their role on their team.
Others just seem to be unlucky. Injuries find them no matter what they are doing or where they are.
This is a look at some of the current NHL players who have seemed dogged by injury throughout their careers. These are the guys you can never count on because at any moment they could get hurt and be out of the line-up for a long, long time.