Kevin Klein (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
On Monday night, Kevin Klein had the type of game that fans will be talking about for a long time. After having part of his ear severed as the result of a high stick, Klein returned to the game and ended up with the overtime winner.
It seems like a stroke of good luck that, in a season where players have missed time to the mumps, blood clots, and freak accidents, Kevin Klein didn’t have to leave last night’s game because he had lost his ear.
The New York Rangers blueliner took a high stick to the side of the head from Pittsburgh Penguins winger Zach Sill, fell to the ice, and the resulting damage was 13 stitches to reattach part of his ear. Luckily, in true sports fashion, Klein was back in time to pot the game-winning goal in overtime.
It’s difficult to tell the extent of the damage right away, but just watch that video knowing Klein was having part of his ear severed by the errant stick blade.
This may not rank up there with Bobby Baun’s broken leg or the Michael Jordan “Flu Game,” but there’s something great about a player returning from a severed ear to score the game-winning goal. It’s the, “It’s only a flesh wound,” of injury returns.
Klein’s goal is made even better when you consider it was his only shift of the extra frame, but Alain Vigneault was probably acting on a hunch. While having an ear reattached may be something new, the injured player returning as the hero is a tale as old as time.