Taylor's surgery ... and apology
There is so much that is interesting about what Tim Taylor is about to go through, it is difficult to know where to start; so let's get the basic information out of the way first. The Lightning captain will have surgery on his degenerative right hip Thursday at Tampa's University Community Hospital. Orthopedic surgeon Steve Raterman will perform the operation that will shave down Taylor's right femur and insert it into a metal hip socket to ease movement.
If all goes well, and after three weeks when he will need help walking, Taylor could, perhaps, be back in the lineup by February. He will remain captain and rehab with the team. GM Jay Feaster said there is a spot waiting for Taylor if he can come back.
If he can't make it back, Taylor, 38, ends a career that includes two Stanley Cups (with Tampa Bay in 2004 and with the Red Wings in 1997) and 12 NHL seasons. But Taylor would rather not go out that way, and he also wants to make it up to Lightning fans, who he said might believe he never "gave enough'' last season.
"If I could apologize it would be to the fans,'' Taylor said. "I hope I can regain their trust and be the leader I was chosen to be.''
Taylor had a tough 2006-07. He played 71 games but averaged just 7:55 of ice time and needed two cortisone shots in his hip to get through the season. He played better in the playoffs after the second shot but it was apparent his strength and stride were limited.
Taylor hoped to rehab the injury back into shape during the summer. But the pain became so bad he said he had to stop running and could not sleep without taking an anti-inflammatory drug. He said NHL Productions will record his surgery and rehab.
"I'm not nervous about my career. This is my last year no matter what,'' Taylor said. "I'm not excited about it either. I've watched (the surgery) on line. To see a guy cut open that wide, and see the drilling and sanding ... but it's closure.''
Readers of this blog know where I stand on Taylor. He had a bad season on the ice, but I watched him all year behind the scenes help bring together and disparate locker room that by the end of the season was as tight as they come. That to me is leadership.
I hope he Taylor can get back on the ice. How can you not root for a guy who finishes a conversation with this: "I'd like to play one more game where I feel like an NHL player.''