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“If I jump out the window, will I be able to sleep?” What Florida’s most experienced player went through

Date: July 14, 2024 Time: 14:36:23

Joe Pavelski recently announced that he has no plans to return to the NHL next year. Of course, many feel sorry for the veteran: in most cases, when San Jose again fell short of the championship, it was Pavelski who scored points most consistently. But despite all this, Joe still played in two finals and reached the conference finals four more times, and for some this remained an unattainable height for a long time.

We salute the hand of Pavelski:

“The NHL won’t be the same without him.” Another hockey legend retires

Kyle Okposo is the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and has played more than 1,000 games since his debut in the league in the spring of 2008. It is true that before this season Okposo had only played with his team in the playoffs three times and had made it past the first round once – all of this was with the Islanders. Now Kayla has been acquired by Florida for the playoffs, in which Okposo can become champion; However, the very fact that the forward retained his place in the league after a serious illness can be considered a success.

In 2016, Okposo left the Islanders, where he spent nine seasons. His contract year was the second-best of his career: 64 points during a period when NHL goaltenders were still not prevented from catching pucks. Despite the stereotypes, this one had little to do with John Tavares. Yes, the two Islands leaders played a lot together in previous seasons, but in Okposo’s contract year, Frans Nielsen was more focused. Kyle chose the offer from Buffalo, which was trying to quickly return to the playoffs after drafting Jack Eichel the year before and rebuilding its top six. The Blades signed the forward for $42 million for seven years.

Kyle Okposo and John Tavares (background)

Photo: AP/TASS

Although Eichel rarely saw Okposo, he was quick to praise his new teammate: “In my opinion, Kyle is probably one of the most underrated players in the league. He is very good with and without the puck, in all aspects of the game. Okposo is very skilled and knows how to make passes. He is a leader in the locker room. “Kyle has been in the league for a long time, Okposo has been on different teams and brings good experience as a veteran,” said Buffalo’s top star. At the Blades, Kyle often played with Ryan O’Reilly. However, the forward’s productivity in the new club fell: he scored only 45 points in 65 games and Buffalo again missed the playoffs.

The striker completely missed the end of the season: he was initially reported to be unwell and then Okposo was hospitalized. The striker was treated in the neurosurgical intensive care unit. Okposo’s teammate William Currier said the forward suffered a concussion. The forward later told what was behind this in a letter to fans, which was published on Buffalo’s website.

“It all started with the usual strength training. Just a loud bang, but it had become routine and I forgot about it. However, soon everything began to change and others noticed. I started having trouble sleeping and lost my appetite. I thought I was just tired, but it only got worse. I went to the hospital hoping they would find a way to let me get some sleep.

However, these medications did not help: I ​​still couldn’t sleep and at the same time I was getting worse. The doctors were inclined to believe it was a concussion, so I went to the intensive care unit. This is a pretty scary place, but it was necessary to stabilize my condition. I want to express my gratitude to all the doctors and nurses, as well as my colleagues. When I turned on my phone, there were over 500 messages: players, coaches and former players were messaging me,” Okposo said.

A year after this joyful letter, the hockey player’s family told The Athletic the whole truth. Immediately after that unfortunate force, Okposo’s wife, Daniela, noticed that something was wrong with her husband. Okposo became conflicted, suddenly remembered people from the past with whom he had friction and began to fight with them, without choosing any expression. The striker said what he thought and then admitted that it had been a long time since he had felt this good. Sister Kendra, who arrived urgently from Minnesota, the forward’s native country, recalled that her brother let out a kind of stream of incoherent thoughts.

However, at first this did not affect the game: Okposo scored a double in the game against Toronto, but the striker’s behavior changed. “I started making a lot more noise on the ice. I really wanted to help the team and show my best side. However, after the game I had no strength left, I could barely stand and wanted to fall to the ice.” The symptoms of concussion manifested themselves: Okposo could not stand the light and did not want to eat. Insomnia still tormented him and on the fourth day without sleep he asked his wife to put him in a coma. “Maybe if I jump out the window I can sleep?” — The hockey player described his thoughts.

Kyle Okposo

Photo: Zuma/TASS

“I couldn’t control my thoughts, I completely lost track of time. This continued for several days, several very long and difficult days. The most terrible thoughts possible come to your head, thoughts that are even disgusting to think about. Hidden fears come to light: the fear of being left without family,” Okposo said. The only thing that saved the player at that moment was the feeling that his wife was close to her: she touched his hand with a wedding ring and she brought towels that smelled like home. Matt Moulson, Okposo’s Buffalo and Islanders teammate, spent the night in the hospital while his wife cooked food for Danielle Okposo.

Despite the relatively quick discharge, doctors were inclined to send the striker to a psychiatric hospital. However, the doctors’ opinions varied: Okposo visited 15 doctors and underwent many tests, but they all gave different results. The forward took antidepressants and sleeping pills, but they did not help him sleep more than four hours a day. Okposo decided to fix his long-standing neck problem and turned to a chiropractor; After the doctor’s first manipulations, the hockey player was finally able to sleep well at night. In the fall of 2017 he returned to hockey, although his family did not believe in this return: in a month and a half, Okposo lost 11 kg of weight (from 97 to 86).

However, the Hollywood fairy tale no longer happened here. In the first 10 games of the new season, Okposo scored only two points, finished the championship with a profit of -34 and at the end of the regular season suffered another concussion. After the 2017/2018 season, both the player’s playing time and performance decreased drastically: only once in the following seasons did he exceed the 30-point mark, becoming a fourth-line player and a regular in the “worst league contract.” “ratings.

However, Buffalo was in no hurry to part with the player: they valued his leadership qualities, thanks to which Kyle received the title of captain two years ago. “He’s the best. Seriously. If he needs to say something, he won’t stay silent. And that’s why he’s always in a good mood. He makes fun of everyone as much as he makes fun of the young guys. An incredible captain,” Rasmus Dahlin said of Okposo. However, after another playoff-less season, Okposo logically wanted a chance to win something in his potentially final season in the league and asked the coach to look into trade options.

How this “Florida” was built:

Big bad panthers. What makes Florida’s second straight finals special?

Florida, which wanted to acquire a player before the deadline, no longer needed the old scoring achievements. The Panthers wanted to acquire a big veteran (Okposo is back at 96 kg) on ​​the lower lines, who could help the team play in its already characteristic “smash everyone on the boards” style. The price the Panthers gave Buffalo was purely symbolic: a conditional seventh-round pick and a 24-year-old defenseman from the AHL. What’s more, on a team as deep as Florida, Okposo could even remain in the rotation.

Kyle Okposo (left)

Photo: AP/TASS

“I watched Patrice Bergeron play and noticed little details in his style. “I didn’t decide overnight to become a more defensive forward,” Okposo said of how he changed his game to keep up with the pace of today’s NHL. And although the veteran did not score goals in these playoffs, he showed himself strong, after which he accelerated the counterattacks, or came to the front line when his teammates were injured. Although Okposo only plays eight minutes per game, he has made 31 power plays in 11 games.

“There aren’t many things that can give you a rush of pure dopamine in the brain. Playoff hockey is one of them,” Okposo said after one of the games. And now the forward, who barely played in his career at the end of spring, is enjoying every moment.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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