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A closer look at Giguere's injury history

The Leafs are carrying three goalies on the roster at the moment, as James Reimer is with the team on its current road trip while Jean-Sebastien Giguere battles a recurring groin issue.

Reimer backed up Jonas Gustavsson last night in Washington and is likely to do the same again tomorrow against the Penguins.

These latest woes for Giguere aren't exactly new, either, as the goaltender has had similar problems throughout his career.

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With the Ducks, he often missed a handful of games at a time with the injury, something Giguere says seemed to reappear "every season and a half."

He also had pretty major hip surgery during the lockout, and soreness in his hips remains something he has to monitor throughout the season.

Giguere's missed most of the last three weeks due to the groin issue, leaving Jonas Gustavsson with eight of the last nine starts, a period in which he has for the most part played fairly well.

Missing Giguere long-term, however, isn't an ideal situation, as while the Leafs youngsters Reimer and Jussi Rynnas have played well in the minors, the organization would prefer they get plenty of playing time rather than sitting on the bench while Gustavsson plays most of the games.

Groin injuries are common among butterfly goaltenders, but Giguere seems to suffer from them more frequently than most. Here is what he had to say about battling the issue and why the butterfly is so hard on goalie's bodies:

"I've had groin issues in the past and came back a couple of times too early so instead of missing two weeks you end up missing a month. It's important to take your time and make sure you're over 100 per cent ready."

"It's your main muscle -- everything you do out there, your groin gets used. And I think for me it has something to do with my hips being tight. When your hips are tight, then the groin has a tendency to overcompensate and that's why you see all the hip surgeries in goalies, it's all related. It's very common for goalies, there's no doubt.

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"If you were a forward, I don't think you would miss as long. You'd be able to come back three or four days before because you don't use [your groin]as much.

"[My surgery]was during the lockout. Every time I went on the ice, my hips were killing me [before the surgery] I wasn't getting any treatment and I went to see a doctor. I don't know if I'd do it again, to be honest. I feel better, maybe, but compared to the other one [which wasn't operated on]it's not that bad.

"It was long and difficult [recovery process] It was 12 weeks. There was six weeks in bed. Never again.

"The good thing with those surgeries -- I had a sports hernia and the hip -- is once you're all recovered, you do feel pretty good after it ... But going through it, even though you're ready to play, it still lingers a little bit. It takes a while before you're totally pain free. It still takes you months before you're back. Some guys never recover.

"Patrick Roy said his hips were so sore by the end that it was one of the reasons that [he retired] He was 37 years old.

"Your hips get tight. But with all the things we have, the cold tub, the hot tub, the massage, you should be able to manage it."

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Giguere is 33 years old and has been fighting this issue for a while, so this isn't to say there's any reason to sound the alarm. He won a Stanley Cup in Anaheim after the surgery and then had another terrific season after that, an indication that the hip issue is a manageable one.

It does appear to make him more vulnerable to these minor groin pulls, however, and statistically he hasn't hit the heights of a few years back the past two seasons.

The way the position is played now, it's simply tough on netminder's bodies after decades in goal. Giguere said someone like Martin Brodeur, who is still playing at 38, is "a freak of nature."

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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