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Mikhail Sergachev: “If I’d been alone in the forest, I’d be dead”.
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Yesterday morning, Tampa Bay Lightning fans could celebrate: Mikhail Sergachev was finally back in the game.

To have such a player back in the line-up was good news for the Tampa club, which is currently fighting for its survival. Because, no, making the playoffs isn’t as easy as it used to be for Tampa.

Jon Cooper’s men will make the playoffs if all goes well… but last night, once again, we realized that all is not always well in the NHL. Injuries happen.

And that brings us back to Sergachev. The defenseman was in the news yesterday morning for all the right reasons, but he was also in the news last night for some not-so-good ones.

As my colleague Félix Forget explained, the Lightning’s Russian suffered a severe injury on the sidelines of his return to action. Sensitive souls, please refrain from looking at the following images, which show a leg that unfortunately didn’t bend the right way.

Of course, these were images that went around the hockey world pretty quickly. That’s part of the risks of the business, but let’s just say that nobody likes to see that.

Seeing the Russian crying on the stretcher as he left the ice was hard to watch for everyone… but especially for Alexis Lafrenière. It was with him that Sergachev went into the corner.

But of course, everyone here recognizes that it wasn’t the Quebecer’s fault. The Rangers forward didn’t do anything dirty, but it’s understandable that he should feel crooked.

He did the right thing by apologizing to the Lightning defenseman when the latter left the ice to applause. Remember that the Lightning were away from home yesterday.

All this to say that the past is the past. Now the defender needs to focus on what’s next, which is healing.

Even though he gave the crowd a thumbs-up as he left the rink, we suspect he’s not doing too well. Seeing him cry on the ice and writhing in pain doesn’t make us doctors who can diagnose him, of course…

But it does make us people who can say this: it looks bad.

And when you see the kind of messages he posted overnight, you realize that no, he’s not exactly in the best shape following his injury.

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The Russian wonders why he’s the one who got hurt again – and why it’s happening now. He thinks it’s unfair and terrible, which means he can’t stay positive.

Still, there are a few phrases in his message that sound like pleas for help.

The universe is unpredictable, I guess, and has its own plans, but f*** the universe, man.

The painkillers are good, that said. But if I’d been alone in the forest, I’d be dead. Crazy, isn’t it? – Mikhail Sergachev

Although he says he’ll come back stronger and win his battle, he admits it’s tough right now. But he thanks the medical staff for their efforts yesterday.

In short, it’s clear there’s a cry for help in his words, which are very honest. And rightly so.

The Lightning will have to find a way to support him, but also to replace him. After all, I can’t believe he’ll return to action this year (not before the playoffs, at least…), potentially leaving Julien BriseBois $8.5M under the cap. #LTIR

That said, even with that kind of money, there’s no Sergachev on the market right now…

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