Our very own LVHokejs was awesome enough to do a full translation of an article that first appeared in the Latvian newspaper Diena on Thursday about the one-and-only Oskars Bartulis. The original author is Māris Zembergs, who deserves major props for traveling to Philadelphia to do this piece. Enjoy:
Bartulis Is Recovering After His Injury, and Hopes to Return to the Flyers Lineup
Realistically, Latvian hockey player Oskars Bartulis will no longer be able to help the Philadelphia Flyers this season.
"I've told my team mates that I'll be back for the finals, but I understand that, for all practical purposes, my season is over", Bartulis told Latvian newspaper, Diena.
Over the last year, Oskars has experienced some very emotional moments on the ice, as well as watching from the sidelines. In May of last year, the Latvian defenseman played in the Stanley Cup final against the Chicago Blackhawks, and was one step away from winning the most prestigious prize in the NHL.
In the fall, he was in a serious competition during practice sessions to prove that he belongs in the six-man Flyers defense lineup that gets to play during games. At the end of December and beginning of January, Bartulis was briefly back in the regular lineup, and then there was another break when he did not play. When he returned to the lineup on February 22nd, he sustained an injury when, after the referee's whistle, he was checked by Scottie Upshall. Incidentally, Upshall is a former Flyer. Bartulis said "He [Upshall] no longer played in Philadelphia when I arrived, so I don't personally know him. He communicated to me through another player that he apologized for the hit."
But the apology didn't make Oskars' situation easier. In that game, the coach had put his trust in him, and Oskars was hopeful that with a few more games under his belt, he would be able to solidify his position in the Flyers lineup for an extended time period. "At this time, since our veteran defenseman Chris Pronger is currently injured, if I were healthy, I would likely be playing." One can hear the sadness in Oskars voice due to the injury sustained in such a foolish incident. The Latvian defenseman was already in a relaxed position when he took the forceful hit to his shoulder.
"A labral tear - this is what my doctors called it...I'm looking in my dictionary, but I can't find the appropriate word in Latvian. The operation took place under full sedation, and lasted three hours. The fact that I had torn ligaments was not even the worst of the injury, but nonetheless, the doctors took care of everything in a very professional manner. The medical practice in the U.S. is of the highest standard. On my back, I have a few small dots showing where the incisions took place, and on my front side I have a scar that will fade over time", said Bartulis.