But the hero last night was Quintin Laing, who once again exemplified all that it means to be a hockey player in the process.
[AP Photo/Bill Kostroun]
Selfless, courageous and undaunted by mortal danger, Laing put his body down to block a Michael Rozsival slap shot with the Capitals locked in a tight contest. The puck never found the net, instead connecting with Laing's face, breaking his jaw, per Tarik through a team spokesman. Play was halted after Laing remained crumpled on the ice, though he didn't stay down: like any true hockey player, Laing rose to his feet and skated to the bench before being escorted to the tunnel.
Laing's going to be on the shelf for "weeks." That probably means he'll take a Boost for breakfast and Ensure for dessert, and he couldn't be happier about it. Laing has proven throughout his professional hockey career that he's willing to do anything -- literally, anything -- to help his team. His ruptured spleen, permanent limp and gap-toothed smile attest to that; if taking a puck to the face is added to that list, then so be it. "Courageous" is how Bruce Boudreau described it. And how.
His attitude is contagious, and the example he sets, one of a warrior willing to sacrifice individual well-being for collective gain, is the stuff champions are made of. It remains to be seen what kind of legacy Laing will carve out for himself when his playing career is over, but when it comes to unrelenting selflessness, he's in a league of his own. Youngsters with AHL talent looking for a place in the NHL would find no better role model.
And now, in honor of Quintin Laing and his jaw, a tune by Mr. Kanye West.
Get well soon, Lainger.