A trio of recently traded NHL stars will spend their summer recovering from injuries they accrued while being stabbed in the back as they were shipped out of town.
Penguins winger Phil Kessel, Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Capitals winger T.J. Oshie are all expected to be ready for training camp with their new teams after extensive surgeries to repair multiple cuts, slashes and lacerations caused from being knifed in the back on their way out their respective doors.
For Kessel, offseason backstabbing surgery is nothing new. The former Maple Leafs forward has undergone procedures for shiv wounds every summer since 2010. This year, he'll do his rehabbing in Pittsburgh.
"It's never easy, but I've been here before," said Kessel, from whom doctors removed multiple shanks of varying lengths lodged directly in his back, some several years old. "The thing you don't want to do is re-aggravate the injury by doing anything that will bring the claws out again too quickly."
Hamilton's carving came as a surprise to the 22-year old, who was traded by Boston to Calgary and quickly found himself the target of a thousand tiny cuts.
"I didn't expect the knives to come out this quickly, but it's part of the business," Hamilton said while standing away from his teammates, lost in his own thoughts. "I just want to put it behind me and let the stabbings heal so I can be ready for camp."
Oshie thought about playing through the backstabbing, but elected to have surgery this summer to repair some superficial wounds that didn't penetrate very deeply.
"Once it sunk in that I had been shanked, getting it treated made sense," Oshie said to a throng of reporters in the Washington locker room. "It turned out to be a minor procedure, but even one little prick is too many."
Typical backstabbing rehab time is six weeks of off-ice rest and healing, followed by a normal on-ice workout regimen prior to training camp. Doctors say backstabbing scars can last for years and, in some cases, never fully heal.
Kessel plans on taking his time and using his recovery period to close on a new place to live in Pittsburgh.
"I've already found an apartment that I think is perfect," he said. "There's a great bratwurst stand around the corner and my doctor says I can eat as many as I want as part of my therapy."
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