Hockey fans constantly bleat that their players are the toughest in American sports.
No one eats a 108 mph pain sandwich and comes back asking for a second scoop of vulcanized rubber like a hockey player, they say. Turns out they are right. Hockey players are exponentially tougher than you or me. Pain is just a housefly they must shoo on occasion.
If you needed any more convincing of this fact, I direct you to Kevin Klein's game-winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.
The New York Rangers defenseman scored a crucial goal in overtime to lift his beleaguered team to a 4-3 victory. More notably, Klein won the game while blood was oozing out of the ripped cartilage where a piece of his ear was reattached mid-contest.
Klein left the game in the first period after taking a high stick to his left ear. He would return to the game in the second period and play through overtime, scoring the pivotal point.
CBSSports.com's Adam Gretz reports Klein received 13 stitches for the wound.
WFAN's Sean Hartnett tweeted that a piece of the defenseman's ear literally had to be reattached before he returned to the game:
My extremities shrivel just thinking about getting a flu shot. This man had a chunk of his head cobbled back together and won a professional sporting event.
Folks around social media applauded Klein's toughness:
The crowning moment of Klein's badassery came after the game, when—still dripping blood—he donned the honorary Broadway Hat and answered questions.
"That's a first for me," Klein said after the game, via Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski. "Haven't been hit in the ear like that. ... Pain's only temporary."
Klein tweeted a visual update of the damage Tuesday morning. He says he's seen a plastic surgeon and all is well.
To review, a man nearly lost his ear, had it reattached and won a game. It's no Duncan Keith Chiclet dinner, but it is further proof that hockey players are actually bipedal pit bulls living among us.
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