There's no question that the injury news regarding veteran forward Bobby Ryan is a terrible situation for the Detroit Red Wings. The 34 year old winger was no doubt one of the pieces the team was planning to move prior to the National Hockey League's trade deadline on Monday, but an announcement that Ryan had suffered a season ending injury this week removed any hope of the team getting a return on their investment.
Although the news is bad for the Red Wings it may actually be even worse for Ryan himself. After coming clean about his struggles with alcohol during his final days as a member of the Ottawa Senators, Ryan managed to work out a 1 year deal with the Red Wings prior to this season at 34 years of age, a season that Ryan himself now appears to be acknowledging could be his last in the NHL.
Speaking with Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun Ryan expressed his disappointment with the way his season ended, a torn bicep that will now require him to go under the knife in order to repair the damage, and for the first time seemed to recognized that he might not be in the NHL come next season, when he will be 35 years old.
"Obviously gutted the way things ended prematurely this season for myself," said Ryan as per the Sun.. "I was hoping to put things off until the season ended, but no way around surgery, so now my focus shifts to getting healthy and seeing what’s next.
"Whether it’s another year in the league or not, my goals don’t change … get healthy, get stronger and see if there’s an opportunity to go back to work."
It certainly would make for a tumultuous end to the career of the former 2nd overall pick at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, but I also think it is one that those who have followed Ryan throughout his career can be happy with.
Ryan coming clean, and getting clean, when it comes to his problems with alcohol was widely celebrated across the league and genuinely had fans rallying behind in when he made his comeback and his tenure with the Red Wings has seemingly had a similarly positive impact on his life. There has been speculation that with this injury general manager Steve Yzerman has interest in keeping Ryan around in Detroit, although whether or not that will be as a player come next season remains to be seen.