Vilardi Criticizes Former Teammate For Stupid Play After Sustaining Injury

Published November 30, 2023 at 12:48

Gabe Vilardi's Injury and Recovery: A Closer Look

Winnipeg Jets forward Gabe Vilardi is on the verge of returning to the ice after suffering a right knee MCL sprain on October 17. This injury occurred in just his third game for the Jets, against his former team, the Los Angeles Kings.

Vilardi, aged 24, experienced this injury early in the game, which was not only physically painful but also emotionally taxing, considering it was against former teammates he knew well.

Vilardi described the timing of the injury as unfortunate, especially since he had already missed much of the preseason due to illness. He acknowledged the inherent risks in hockey, emphasizing the need to endure the recovery process.

However, he expressed frustration over the nature of the incident, which he did not view as a freak accident but rather a preventable play.

«It's just bad timing," Vilardi said. "I think it was like my second game (it was his third). I missed most of the preseason because of the flu that was going around... But that's part of playing hockey, everyone deals with those types of things. It is what it is. It takes time and you just have to go through the process.»


Vilardi's Thoughts on the Incident and Blake Lizotte

Vilardi expressed his disappointment in how the incident unfolded, specifically pointing out Blake Lizotte's role. He recalled Lizotte's history of similar conduct, highlighting his frustration with the consequences of such actions.

«I think you could say that, but at the same time, no," he responded, when asked about the nature of the play. "Personally, I think it's a play that doesn't need to happen. But what am I supposed to do now?»

Vilardi refrained from commenting on whether he had spoken to Lizotte since the incident but openly criticized Lizotte's style of play, describing it as needlessly risky and harmful.

He expressed his irritation about the disparity in penalties for such plays, contrasting the brief penalty for the perpetrator with the lengthy and challenging recovery for the injured.

"I was pretty close to being gone for the rest of the season, so it's frustrating to look at stuff like that and think about it. Obviously, I don't think his intent was to hurt me, but you make plays like that, it's a stupid play - and it's frustrating to think that guy sits in the box for two minutes and then I have to deal with what I've dealt with for the past month and a half.

But that's life, now I'm here. I'm looking forward to playing again and just having fun. It's tough when you're by yourself.»

Lizotte's aggressive playing style had previously led to a suspension for a cross-check on Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey, causing Morrissey to need 17 stitches.

"It hurts a lot and I needed to get off the ice," Morrissey commented on Lizotte's previous conduct. "It was a careless play. I thought we were going to go and I took a cross-check to the chin. It could have been my teeth, so thankfully not.»

Vilardi's Anticipated Return and Adjustments

Vilardi is preparing to return to action against the Edmonton Oilers, equipped with a knee brace. He acknowledged the discomfort of wearing a brace but emphasized its necessity for his safety.

«It's not ideal, You play hockey without a brace all your life and then you're getting asked to put something under your gear that you're not comfortable with. So, yeah, it is important to find the right brace and make sure it fits. For some guys it's easier than others.

Maybe I got a little bit of OCD. It bugs me. So there's been that battle with the AT guys. But I have to wear it, they've been really good and helped me in getting the right brace.»

Despite the challenges, Vilardi is eager to rejoin his team and contribute in any capacity. His recovery and return are a testament to his resilience and dedication to the sport. For more on Vilardi's journey back to the ice, refer to this post:

As Read on TheHockeyNews - "It Was a Stupid Play" - Vilardi Calls out Lizotte Following Injury
November 30   |   120 answers
Vilardi Criticizes Former Teammate For Stupid Play After Sustaining Injury

Did Lizotte deserve a longer penalty?

Yes8066.7 %
No4033.3 %
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