Tallinder ready if spot opens in Devils’ lineup
Henrik Tallinder remembers the phone call in January from the
New Jersey Devils’ medical staff.
He had been in excruciating pain, his left leg swollen. He was
told he had acute thrombophlebitis. In plain English: a blood clot
that would sideline him about two months.
Now it’s June, and Tallinder just last week was cleared to play
again. The problem is the Stanley Cup playoffs are almost over and
the 33-year-old Swedish defenseman is just hoping for a shot at
playing in the final round against the Los Angeles Kings.
”I’m good. I’m ready,” Tallinder said this week. ”I don’t
know, I mean, the coach has to make the call. But, as I said, I
feel physically fine. I don’t have any issues. I’ve been practicing
for two, three weeks now, and I feel good. I mean, if I get the
chance, it’s a dream come true. This is where you want to
Tallinder, in his ninth season, almost made it to the Cup finals
in 2006 with Buffalo. However, he broke his left arm in Game 3 of
the Eastern Conference finals against the eventual champion
This injury is an altogether different matter.
”When you get it and you read what it is, you are concerned
about it and realize it’s serious stuff,” he said. ”You learn
about it, deal with it and move on. But when it’s in your legs, you
are concerned about it traveling to your lungs and it’s game
Tallinder used blood thinners to eradicate the clot, but his
comeback was slow. Even now that he is off the medication, he still
has to be careful.
Taking a flight with the team to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4
on Monday and Wednesday requires precautions.
Doctors have advised Tallinder to wear compression stockings,
stay well hydrated and to get up and walk at times during the
Tallinder didn’t seem to know exactly how he was hurt. His last
game was against Winnipeg on Jan. 17. He could have been hit by a
slapshot, or slashed or simply been dehydrated and took a flight.
The doctors told him his clot started as an infection in his
”It hurt and I was limping,” Tallinder said. ”I thought I
blocked a shot or it might have been a charley horse, but it never
got better, just worse and worse and worse. Then it was
excruciating pain and it swelled and it was huge. It could happen
to anyone but it’s a freaky thing that happens. Now I know how it
feels and how it occurs.”
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said before Game 2 on Saturday that he
was thinking of getting Tallinder back in the lineup.
”I do know this: I know he’s kept himself in great shape,”
DeBoer said. ”He looks good in practice. Before he went out, he
was a top two defenseman for us. You miss two, 2-2 1/2 months. It
didn’t hurt (Travis) Zajac coming back in. I know you’re jumping
into the Stanley Cup Final, not into the last week of the regular
season. But (Jacob) Josefson jumped in last round against the
Rangers coming off six weeks out with a broken wrist, and it didn’t
hurt him. You know, you hope you get the desired result, but you
Tallinder isn’t the only veteran hoping to get back into the
Kings forward Simon Gagne is ready to go after being sidelined
with a concussion since late December. The way the Kings are going,
however, coach Darryl Sutter has been staying pat with his
”I have been in this league for more than 12 years, and I got
close once in Philly in 2010 and I got a conference finals Game 7
three times, and close to go to the finals again,” Gagne said
Saturday after the Kings held a pre-game skate at the Prudential
Center. ”I know it’s hard to win, so any chance you get to go
there and any chance you get to play for that big trophy, you’re
going to take it.”
Gagne also knows the opportunity to hoist the Cup does not come
”At this point of my career, you never know, this might be my
last chance to taste something like that,” he said. ”Playing or
not playing, a lot of things happened in my career that I’m glad
that I am here and in that position right now.”
AP Sports Writer Ira Podell contributed to this report.