Stanley Cup Final 2019: SN Q&A with Jeremy Roenick on playing with a broken jaw

first_imgBOSTON — Jeremy Roenick unfortunately knows a thing or two about a fractured jaw. The former NHL power forward broke his jaw twice during his 20-year career.The first time was in the final regular-season game in 1999 when Roenick was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes. Dallas Stars defenseman Derian Hatcher hit him high behind the net; Hatcher was suspended seven games for the play while Roenick missed six playoff games. In 2004, as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, Roenick was hit by a Boris Mironov slap shot. He missed 19 games that time.MORE: Bruins defenseman John Moore is the next man upWith Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara suffering a suspected broken jaw in Game 4 of this year’s Stanley Cup Final and his status for Game 5 unknown, Sporting News caught up with Roenick, now an analyst for NBC Sports Network, to get his insights on playing with, and recovering from, the injury.SPORTING NEWS: What was it like playing with a broken jaw?JEREMY ROENICK: Nerve-wracking. To me, it takes a different kind of person, I think, not to really worry too much about your well-being. The bigger part is winning a hockey game, especially a big hockey game.For me, I always knew that I could heal. Healing was never my issue and a face is a face. I’m not shooting with it, I’m not skating with it. Yeah, you could break it worse, but, again, I always thought I had the summer to heal. That was always secondary to me. Zee [Chara] is one of those guys. He’s one of those guys that has old school-type mentalities. I think he understands there’s bigger things that lay ahead rather than getting injured.I’ve always said pain is temporary and pride is forever. They’ll remember you for what you did. The pain is going to go away, and you’re going to forget that you even had that pain, so that was an important thing.SN: Is there a difference between breaking your jaw via a hit or a puck? JR: My first break [from the Hatcher hit], I had four clean breaks. One on the chin [pointing to the mandibular symphysis], two clean breaks on the side [pointing to the mandibular body on his right] and one on other side. They were just clean through. Those things you can just sew up inside and then you lock it down on the outside.My other one was a spider break. It shattered in 23 different places. That is a totally different kind of one to have to come back from. SN: Is the issue [regarding suiting up] more [about] the breathing?JR: Yeah, breathing. I had rubber bands [pointing to his incisors]. When you’re wired and your teeth are slammed shut, it’s really hard to get air in between your teeth. When you have rubber bands, and I don’t know what Zee is doing, if he has anything on, but I was able to spread my teeth just a little bit and that just a little bit allows you to get so much more oxygen in rather than if it’s closed.You know, there’s little breathing ways that you can do when you’re slammed shut — breathing like Popeye breathing, breath inside the back of your mouth and not through the front of it. But to get oxygen, it’s really hard. You find yourself sometimes gasping for as much air as you possibly can and getting the nutrients in you, that’s also another thing. But there’s no question, no question, that I think [Chara will] play [in Game 5] and this building [TD Garden] will go crazy if he plays and I think he’s going to teach a lot of young kids what it takes to be a winner and a professional.last_img