Blake Geoffrion is not retiring. The 25-year-old Plantation, Florida native stepped in front of the media on Wednesday ahead of Montreal’s game against the Boston Bruins to address the fallout from a serious injury he suffered when playing for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs during the NHL lockout. Geoffrion was hit by J.P. Cote of the Syracuse Crunch and wound up having surgery that actually removed a piece of his skull and replaced it with titanium and mesh.
The diagnosis was a “depressed skull fracture” and his career was in jeopardy. His doctor said that he would make a full recovery, but Geoffrion’s history of concussions certainly seemed to cast a shadow over that possibility.
Yet Geoffrion, who just turned 25, insisted that he would be back to play for his NHL team in Montreal. “I know in my heart I’ll come back from this,” he said. “I’ll do whatever I have to do to come back to play the game. I miss the game dearly. I’ve watched every single game of the Canadiens.”
The press conference addressed rumours that Geoffrion was planning to retire in solid fashion and there’s little use doubting this kid’s resolve to play hockey for the Habs.
Drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Geoffrion finished up his college career before starting with the team that drafted him. He signed a try-out contract with the Milwaukee Admirals to finish the 2009-2010 season, but only played in three games with the club before signing an entry level deal with the Predators. Geoffrion made his NHL debut in February of 2011. After a pair of partial seasons with the Preds, Geoffrion was traded to the Montreal Canadiens along with Robert Slaney in exchange for Hal Gill and a draft pick.
Geoffrion is the NHL’s first fourth generation hockey player. His great grandfather was Howie Morenz, his paternal grandfather was slapshot inventor Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and his father Dan played in the bigs for three seasons. There’s an awful lot of hockey in Blake’s blood, to say the least.
With that in mind, it’s awfully hard to think about hanging up the skates before his career has even had a change to properly begin. And Geoffrion, like all the other Geoffrions in the NHL before him, has no plans to go down without a fight.
He’ll be seeing doctors again on Thursday and has yet to discuss his symptoms after the hit. At the time, he had no idea how serious things really were. ”When I got hit I was like, ‘Aw, crap, I’m getting some stitches’ because I was bleeding pretty bad when I didn’t want to have to leave the ice that early in the game. Then when I got into the room they just wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious. It ended up being so,” said Geoffrion.
There’s no doubt this kid faces some serious challenges in the next while, but there’s also no doubt that he’s going to fight like hell for his spot. We’ll be cheering every step of the way.