SUN Hockey Pool

Gritty end for Kyle

The Oilers Kyle Brodziak celebrates his goal against the Coyotes at Rexall Place in Edmonton,...

The Oilers Kyle Brodziak celebrates his goal against the Coyotes at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday January 10, 2008. (Sun Media/Franson)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:06 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Kyle Brodziak will finish the season just two games short of 82, and judging from his pain threshold it's no surprise he has near perfect attendance.

The ring finger on his left hand was a mangled mess Tuesday night after a shot in the second period broke it, popped off the nail and split it wide open.

That was before he came out in the third period and made a perfect tape-to-tape pass to Curtis Glencross to set up what was, at the time, the biggest goal of the season.

"Pretty gritty night," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "He had to really suck it up to play, and to go out there and play as well as he did was really impressive."

Brodziak broke it with about six minutes to go in the second period and wasn't sure if he'd be able to come out for the third.

Once he decided he could still play, the biggest concern between periods was how to get the injury to stop bleeding, and how to wrap it so Brodziak could fit it in a glove.

"We tried taping it together (with the pinky) that made it worse," he said. "Finally I said 'Screw it, just tape it a little so it's not bleeding all over the place.'

"Once I got my glove on it was a little better."

After the game came the big needle, to freeze it, so doctors could re-set the crooked digit.

"That wasn't any fun," said Brodziak.

The Oilers will end the season with seven key players injured: Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Mathieu Garon, Ethan Moreau, Raffi Torres and Brodziak.

Only five Oilers made it to the starting line for all 82 games: Tom Gilbert, Andrew Cogliano, Steve Staios, Dustin Penner and Marty Reasoner.

ALL ABOARD: The Oilers brought the entire staff to Vancouver to attend a dinner honouring longtime equipment manager Barrie Stafford, who worked his 2,000th game Tuesday night. Joey Moss even came along to pay tribute, as did Souray, Moreau, Torres and Horcoff.

THEY SAID IT: "There's nothing on the line for us, but it's a big game for Vancouver. I don't think we have anybody in the locker-room who's going to go out there and toss their sticks on the ice and say 'We're out of it, who cares?' Guys are going to take some personal pride in this game."

- Matt Greene


Photos