The grimacing was a dead giveaway.
But Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland confirmed Wednesday that forward Leon Draisaitl was battling a high-ankle sprain for nearly a month.
Holland explained that Draisaitl injured the ankle during Game 6 of the quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Kings.
But like a typical hockey player, Draisatil put on his best poker face in an attempt to shield the clear pain. He would slip from the mask on occasion, but nonetheless, the German forward continued to bring his relentless pressure and wisdom to the Oilers lineup.
Despite the injury, the 26-year-old posted 32 points in 16 games. Had his team advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, he would have been a bona fide candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Furthermore, Draisaitl matched a career-high of 110 points and hit 55 goals for the first time during the regular season.
Holland also revealed that Draisaitl wasn’t the only player who jumped onto the ice hurt. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi suffered shoulder injuries, and Darnell Nurse was battling a hip injury. But thankfully, for Nurse, surgery won’t be required.