You may remember some months ago that Vitek Vanecek only lasted about 13 minutes in his first career postseason start due to injury, prompting a couple of playoff appearances from Craig Anderson in his stead. Vanecek did not return for any of the remaining games in the series.
We now know that, that injury was to Vanecek’s hamstring and that he was never close to being able to return as the injury held him out of action for twelve weeks.
Vanecek says his injury in the playoffs was his hamstring. He was out for 12 weeks so he was not close to coming back
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) September 24, 2021
“I didn’t see the puck (off the faceoff) so when he passed it, I didn’t see it because he was behind Jensen’s skate, he told me,” Vanecek said. “I didn’t see the pass and then I see last second. So I try to push harder, like normally, and I split my legs. It happened. Tore my hamstring.
“It was a tough injury. I was taking care of it this summer too,” Vanecek continued. “It take me 12 weeks to get back. I was practicing in Czech a little bit. Not like hard, but a little bit. After 12 weeks, I started doing normal things.”
You may also recall that Vanecek’s injury was called into question by former NHL goaltender, Kelly Hrudey as the latter accused the former of “not stretching enough”.
this kelly hrudey rant just seems so fucking pointless
blaming "not stretching enough" is just silly pic.twitter.com/Q9Clil0P6p
— back on @mikeFAIL (@mikepfeil_) May 16, 2021
“I was feeling really good before the game,” Vanecek said. “First NHL playoff start, ready to go. After that injury, it wasn’t fun. It was really sad. It is what it is. I’m just person too. I was injured so I tried to help the guys, push them. I couldn’t do anything with that.”
Vitek later finished sixth in Calder Trophy voting, was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft, traded back to the Capitals only days later, and was named the top goaltender in Czech Hockey Player of the Year voting.
Safe to say it’s been a whirlwind of a year for the young netminder who is entering into his second full season with the Capitals.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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