Even with all our young stars like Sid and Geno, the contributions of Max Talbot cannot be overlooked. Here's a guy who went from goal scorer/point producer in the littles to critical role player in the bigs. The dude is constantly flying up and down the ice, doing anything to spark his team. Forechecks, backchecks, blocking shots, hustling...you can't overlook what he brings to the Pens.
Last year in the playoffs, Max broke his foot while blocking a shot, which caused him to miss a few games. You never really know how much you miss a guy like Max until he's out.
With the loss in the Finals and the offseason that followed, Max was looking at plenty of time to heal up and get ready for the year. But a few pictures and ruminations on The Pensblog last night really had me worried. Those are the the pictures at the top of the post and this one here:
Is his foot still bothering him from blocking a shot in last year's playoffs?
He wore those covers on both skates when returning from his foot injury during the playoffs, explaining that if he only wore one, people would target it. Wearing two was gonna make it harder for opponents to target the bad foot.
Anyway, if he was wearing those covers in the postseason, maybe the injury was still nagging him. He blocks shots for a living. If they aren't uncomfortable, you got to consider keeping them on all the time. Or does that makes us pansies?
So I went to Max's blog (translated from French to English...and props to Stephanie at Steel City Sports Fan, which I linked to here at the beginning of the month), because I remember reading something about this a few days ago. Here's his latest post, about playing defense and blocking shots (choppy translation, but you'll get the general idea):
Last year, when we met the New York Rangers in Series, I broke my foot blocking a shot. I missed the following three games, but I may have saved a goal in my team. If I were to begin again, I would not even hesitate.
Not exactly telling information about how his foot exactly feels, despite him saying that he wouldn't hesitate to block another shot, but he does say that playing defense and blocking shots, even though he's a forward, is his "bread and butter." He makes no mention of being worried to sacrifice his body due to the broken foot, so I'd venture to guess that his foot is fine, boot covers or not. Plus, if he's still intent on blocking shots and knows his foot was broken on one last season...why not keep the covers on as much as possible?
My expert opinion says that Max's foot is fine, and he's only wearing the weird-looking boot covers as a preventative step.