Cut faces, broken bones, frayed ACLs: Injuries don't slow down players in NHL playoffs – USA TODAY

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis is helped off the ice after taking a skate to the face during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of their second-round series.(Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports)

When Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis was cut in the face by a skate blade during an NHL playoff game a week ago, he was out of action several minutes.

That’s right, several minutes, not several hours or several days. The bearded veteran left the ice with blood pouring from a gaping wound. As soon as a doctor sewed up the wound in the dressing room, Ellis returned to finish the third period.

“My face kind of felt like it burned where it got cut and then I saw the blood,” Ellis said to reporters. “It is what it is.”

The tradition of NHL players playing through all manner of injuries, ailments and pain is as old as the game itself.

NHL lore boasts many tales of NHLers playing through injuries, such as Bobby Baun, playing on a broken leg and scoring an overtime goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1964 Stanley Cup Final. During the 1992 playoffs, Mario Lemieux’s back was so bad, the equipment man had to lace his skates.

In 2002, Steve Yzerman helped the Detroit Red Wings win a Stanley Cup with a knee so severely damaged that Yzerman was forced to use his stick as leverage to push himself up when he was knocked to the ice. He needed knee realignment surgery in the offseason.

“I think it’s a pride thing,” former NHL player Bill Guerin, now the Pittsburgh Penguins’ assistant general manager, told USA TODAY Sports. “You want to be out there when all of the chips are on the line.”

Guerin recalls

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