Some NHL players will do anything in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Count Valeri Nichushkin among that group, as the Colorado Avalanche winger played through a foot injury in his team's series-clinching victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting on Sunday. Based on the photo he shared on his Instagram page, he was battling some serious pain.
Valeri Nichushkin played through a foot injury last night and couldn’t get his skate on without medical assistance, according to a league source. Once he had the skate on, it was a question of playing through the pain, which he was able to do for nearly 23 minutes of ice time. pic.twitter.com/VFTaWzhVgU
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 27, 2022
Nichushkin was unable to put his skate on without medical assistance, according to Peter Baugh of The Athletic. Nichushkin was not a full participant in Colorado's morning skate ahead of Game 6, leading to questions about his availability for the contest. He ultimately decided to gut through the discomfort and logged nearly 23 minutes of ice time.
The 27-year-old was instrumental in the Avalanche's playoff success, scoring nine goals and 15 points in 20 games. He contributed four goals and two assists in the final series against the Lightning and was viewed by some as a dark horse Conn Smythe contender.
While he surely enjoyed the festivities into the wee hours of Monday morning — and still has a championship parade to attend on Thursday — Nichushkin will not be able to bring the Stanley Cup home to Russia this summer. Due to the war in Ukraine, the NHL decided to prevent the trophy from visiting both Russia and Belarus for the foreseeable future.
Nichushkin was not the only notable Avalanche player grinding through an injury in the Stanley Cup Final. Before forward Nazem Kadri told his haters to "kiss my a—", he revealed he was unable to tie his own skates due to the thumb injury he sustained in the Western Conference final matchup with the Edmonton Oilers.
The taste of champagne surely numbs even the sharpest of pain, especially when you're drinking out of the greatest trophy in sports.
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