You could call it the worst kept secret during the New York Islanders playoff run. Jean-Gabriel Pageau confirmed on Sunday that he had been playing hurt during the end of the Islanders series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
What exactly ailed him? Well that he wouldn’t say.
Pageau declined to tell reporters what the injury had been. It is believed he got hurt during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals where he had missed the last 13 minutes of the contest. The versatile forward left the door open that whatever had happened to him might require surgery.
“Obviously I was a little banged up,” Pageau said during his exit interview with the media. “Everyone is at this point. It’s not easy playing games every two days and you don’t have a lot of time to recover between the games. I think obviously everyone was banged up, including myself and we’ll see what’s going to be next in the next few days.”
“It’s hard. The long runs drain a lot out of you, physically and mentally. Knowing that group of guys, the character there is, the competitiveness, I know everyone is going to show up and just want more again. It’s something that drives us.”
Pageau & Pulock ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/PRlKUEV6ps
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 27, 2021
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had played an important role in the last two playoff runs the Islanders have had to the semifinals. Centering Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri for most of the playoffs, the trio had been one of the team’s most impactful lines on a nightly basis.
The Islanders centerman did look a step off as the series continued and the injury appeared to hamper some of his ability on the ice. Pageau did not record a single point during the seven-game series with Tampa Bay.
Even two days after the Islanders’ season had come to a heartbreaking end in Game 7, Pageau preferred to keep the injury to himself.
“I would rather keep it personal, but there’s obviously little stuff,” Pageau responded when asked about it by a reporter. “It’s no different than some other guys. Like I said earlier, everyone is banged up at this point of the year. We play every two days, no room for recovery. We’ll see in the next couple of days what’s going to happen.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau finished the playoffs with three goals and 13 points in 19 games.