Calvin de Haan has played all 82 games just once in his NHL career due to a history of injuries, most notably a right shoulder issue he’s had surgery on twice.
Staying healthy has become a priority for him and last season, de Haan got through it relatively unscathed. Well, sort of.
On Friday, de Haan revealed he played the second half of the 2020-21 season on a broken leg. The injury happened in a game on March 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning when he blocked a shot from Ondrej Palat on the power play.
"I tried my best to stay in the lineup and stay healthy," de Haan said. "It didn’t feel good.”
de Haan said there were multiple fractures on the head of his right tibia and that the first two or three weeks were the worst from a pain standpoint. He lucked out in a sense the puck caught him in a spot where he didn’t have to miss time because of any significant damage, but he certainly felt the effects of it the rest of the season.
“I think skating was actually easier than walking around, to be honest,” said de Haan, who missed only one game from the injury. “I know that sounds kind of contradictory but the motion of walking and pounding was a little different than the fluid motion of skating."
Head coach Jeremy Colliton said the Blackhawks were aware of de Haan's injury at the time and it says a lot about his character the way he preserved through it, even though he clearly wasn't 100 percent.
"We knew right when it happened," Colliton said. "He blocked a shot. I don’t think we knew the damage, but he was hurting obviously for a while. To his credit, played through it. That’s sometimes what makes our game special. We’re not the only sport where guys play through stuff, but there’s a hard-nosed quality to it, for sure."
Fortunately for de Haan, the rehab process didn't require any surgical procedure and the injury eventually healed on its own. But it took a lot of Advil, Tylenol and ice to get him through the pain.
"It was enough to put me in pain here and there," de Haan said. "It is what it is. I did my best to keep playing and play at my best through injury. It’s part of the game."