Panthers’ injury report on Aaron Ekblad leaves fans stunned, they can’t believe what he went through this playoff

The Florida Panthers made a fantastic run in the playoffs, and they deserve all the praise for how they, against all odds, reached the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Panthers won Game 3, cutting the series deficit to 2-1, but in the end, they couldn’t fight back the Vegas Golden Knights, and on Tuesday night, Vegas could celebrate their first-ever Stanley Cup victory.

SUNRISE, FL – JUNE 10: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) skates and looks toward the stand during a break in platy in the third period during game four of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Florida Panthers on Saturday, June 10, 2023 at FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It didn’t help the Panthers that Matthew Tkachuk was missing from Game 5 and that he even dressed up for Game 4 says a lot about him as a player and a leader. He suffered a fractured sternum in Game 3.

He still came back in that game, and to even be able to step on the ice in Game 4, he needed help putting on his gear and jersey and getting his skates tied.

But Tkachuk wasn’t the only Florida Panther dealing with injuries. On Tuesday night, head coach Paul Maurice revealed that Aaron Ekblad suffered a broken foot during Game 1 against the Boston Bruins. He’s since played three rounds with it, and not only that.

During those games, approximately 15(!), he’s popped his shoulder out twice, passed a concussion test—and tore his oblique. In Game 5, Ekbland still logged more than 21 minutes, and he scored a goal.

It’s the ultimate proof that hockey players are a different breed.

“It’s not an excuse … These guys gave everything that they had,” Maurice said postgame.

READ MORE: Fans are absolutely sure the Stanley Cup final was rigged, after shocking decision from refs in Game 5

Veteran defenseman Radko Gukas also played through injury, as he played with an ankle sprain for an unspecified amount of the postseason. That’s normally something that keeps players out of play for six weeks.

“Everybody’s got injuries,” Maurice said. “I’ve never seen guys play with what these guys have played with on a sheer number of them. You need luck, for sure. We didn’t necessarily need puck luck. I think if you get to the Final, both teams have their fair shares of bounces. But we ran out of the health luck we need if we’re going to swing around with 110-point teams. You need your bodies.”

READ MORE: Panthers with shocking injury update on Tkachuk, couldn’t put his gear on but still played 16 minutes in Game 4