This weekend’s flapjack fiasco, in which Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner suffered back spasms while trying to enjoy a pancake breakfast, has spawned our list of the greatest all-time off-ice NHL injuries.
“Apparently it’s one of those mysterious things, where you can throw it out (from) sneezing. I just leaned over to dip into some delicious pancakes that my wife made. It’s just like (the pain) wraps around you and squeezes,” Penner told the L.A. Times. “Hopefully it’s just an isolated incident, and not something that’s going to become chronic.”
The fine folks at Sportsnet.ca, lovers of schadenfreude and fans of oddballery, put our heads together to compile this rundown of the fluky and embarrassing.
1. Manny Fernandez injures shoulder and/or back while blow-drying hair
Like Penner, goaltender Manny Fernandez injured himself around the house. While blow-drying his hair or toweling off after a shower (reports vary, but either way, dude was trying to get clean and dry), Manny tweaked something that caused him to miss action in 2005.
2. Ron Tugnutt pulls groin while tying shoes
Goaltender Tugnutt (whose surname still sparks Beavis & Butthead-style chuckles) suffered a groin injury while completing the most kindergarten of activities: reaching down to lace up his shoes.
3. Jose Theodore slips on driveway, breaks ankle
The goaltender (see a pattern here?), then with the Montreal Canadiens, slipped on the ice outside of his home and strained his Achilles tendon. Bonus irony: Surefooted defenceman Brian Leetch was stepping out of a cab outside of his Manhattan home when he slipped on the icy sidewalk and busted his ankle.
4. Brent Sopel picks up cracker, throws out back
Five-second rule: The Vancouver Canucks player missed playoff action in 2007 because he blew out his back in an attempt to retrieve a cracker dropped on the floor. “He was trying to pick up a cracker and anybody who has had back problems knows that can happen,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault explained.
5. Arturs Irbe attacked by Rambo
The Latvian goaltender’s dog, a Labrador-Newfoundland mix, was put to sleep after he bit his owner’s left hand. Rambo, man’s vicious friend, severed an artery in Irbe’s hand, broke one of his fingers and severed an artery.
6. John Vanbiesbrouck falls through collapsing coffee table
Attempting to rise from the glass coffee table he was sitting on, the New York Rangers goaltender fell through the table as it gave way, cutting his left wrist and suffering nerve damage. “It was a totally freak thing, the table just collapsed under me, and as I put my hand back to brace my fall, the glass gashed me,” Vanbiesbrouck told the New York Times.
7. Glenn Healy suffers everyday bagpipe injury
Your typical cliché NHL upper-body injury. Backup Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender cuts hand while cleaning his bagpipes (the actual Scottish instrument, not a locker-room metaphor), requires 40 stitches. Yawn.
8. Sarah Palin (sort of) to blame for Manny Legace’s hip injury
Another goaltending Manny, another odd disaster: The red carpet was rolled out on the ice for 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin; Tina Fey’s greatest target was set to drop the puck for a ceremonial face-off. Trouble was, goaltender Manny Legace stepped on the carpet, slipped and damaged his hip. The Blues put the injured netminder on waivers.
9. Erik Johnson tears knee while horsing around on golf cart
When an NHL squad is ousted from contention, the silver lining is, of course, golf season. But for the St. Louis Blues defenceman, golf proved more dangerous than hockey in 2008. Johnson, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft, tore his right knee’s ACL and MCL while goofing around on a golf cart. His right foot got caught between the cart’s accelerator and brake.
10. Mikael Renberg falls out of boat, struck by propeller
The Swedish right winger, who spent 10 years in the NHL, developed an infection from tying up his skate laces; his condition was so bad, doctors considered amputating his hand. But that’s not the unluckiest thing that happened to the man. One year prior Renberg was sailing in northern Sweden. In attempted to retrieve the anchor, he slipped and fell into the water. The boat’s propeller blade gashed his right arm, slicing his biceps. Fortunately, no long-term nerve damage was caused.