The Unlikely Ironman
Although Andy McDonald may not have known until the last minute he was going to break the Ducks record for consecutive games played on Tuesday night, the record is still meaningful to him, considering how he got to the mark.
|McDonald played in his 276th straight game Wednesday night, breaking Samuel Pahlsson's record.|
Previous to starting the streak of 276 straight games, a good chunk of McDonald’s 2002-03 season was derailed by a concussion. Rebounding from that injury is how the new Ducks record started for McDonald, which makes the achievement more important than it would have been otherwise to the veteran center.
“I’m happy to be able to play injury fee, especially after coming off the type of injury I had in ‘03,” McDonald said. “Going through that injury, it makes me appreciate playing in the NHL. You could be one shift away from your career being over, especially with those injuries. To be able to come back, I feel pretty fortunate and I try not to take it for granted.”
Before a reporter told McDonald a few days ago, the center was unaware of the impending record.
“The way the season’s gone, there have been so many other things to worry about,” McDonald said. “It wasn’t until Dan Wood [of the Orange Country Register] mentioned it to me that I realized it was going to be Tuesday night.”
McDonald’s new mark broke his long-time teammate Samuel Pahlsson’s old mark of 275 straight games, which came to an end this season when the rugged center missed the early part of the season after sports hernia surgery.
“You look at Sammy, he’s such a horse,” McDonald said. “He plays a lot of minutes and he’s a pretty physical guy. You expect that type of individual to play that many consecutive games. I really don’t put myself in his class.”
McDonald may not consider himself in Pahlsson’s ironman realm, but his teammates did on Wednesday, including Pahlsson.
“It’s really good for him, especially after missing almost a season there with a concussion,” Pahlsson said. “He was worried after that and everybody was.”
Added another long-time teammate, Rob Niedermayer: “I think that’s a big accomplishment. Hockey’s a pretty physical sport. He plays through the nicks and the pains. I think it’s just a testament to Andy and what he brings every night.”