Part 2? What about Part 1? Well, part 1 was written by me in May... Yup. Working two jobs this summer plus starting (and prematurely ending) an internship, I just couldn't find the time to get this translation finished. Pierre-Marc Bouchard appeared on L'Antichambre, a Quebec sports show on RDS, TSN's french twin, last May. In that episode, the team talked about Pierre-Marc Bouchard's return from a concussion, Derek Boogaard's death and concussions in general.
Part two was about how Pierre-Marc lived through his concussion, which caused a year-and-a-half long absence from hockey. I figured it was appropriate to finally continue my work on this translation, since concussions have become a hot topic in Minnesota again, with Guillaume Latendresse and Marco Scandella suffering from them. Also, I received a letter today confirming that my program transfert is complete: Starting in January, I'm no longer a student in teaching. I'm now a student in translation!
Keep in mind I didn't go for a perfect, word-for-word litteral translation, just a translation that reflects what was said and that is perfectly understandable.
Since RDS does not post complete episodes on the Antichambre website, you won't be able to follow along. You can, however, follow RDS and L'Antichambre by going to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.
If you would like to catch up, here's Part 1 of the translation of Pierre-Marc Bouchard's appearance on L'Antichambre.
I would like to thank RDS and everyone at L'Antichambre, the source for this interview, on behalf of the members and readers of Hockey Wilderness. This is translated by me, with exclusive, written permission from RDS and will be posted on Hockey Wilderness ONLY. /// J'aimerais remercier RDS et l'équipe de l'Antichambre, la source de cette entrevue, au nom de tout les membres et les lecteurs de Hockey Wilderness. Cette traduction est écrite par moi avec la permission écrite et exclusive de RDS et sera posté sur le site Hockey Wilderness SEULEMENT.
Once again, I'll be putting my personal comments in parentheses. Also, here's a legend so I don't have to write the name of whoever is speaking at the time:
Pierre-Marc Bouchard = PMB
Stéphane Langdeau = SL
François Gagnon = FG
Michel Bergeron = MB
Mario Tremblay = MT
Sylvain Guimond = SG (He wasn't there for the first part of the show)
(Video shows many players getting hit)
SL: So, you can see the speed with which players play nowadays in the NHL and the danger that results from that speed. Pierre-Marc, for you, it happened in March 2009 against the New York Islanders as a result of a Nate Thompson hit. What I would like to know is how you felt in the hours immediately after the hit. When did you feel the pain? How did it go down?
PMB: Well, for sure, right after the hit, I was shaken up, my vision was blurry, I was able to finish the game, but sometimes you don't think about it and you try to convince yourself that you're OK, but after the game, the headaches started, then we left New York to go back to Minnesota that same night by plane and then, on the ride home, the headaches started intensifying.
SL: Any vomiting?
PMB: No vomiting, no dizziness, just pretty violent headaches
SL: Did you return to the rink the next day for practice to see if you were OK, or were you already feeling too bad to play?
PMB: I took one or two days off and then, the team was traveling to Calgary if I'm not mistaken, so I made the trip with the team to see if I would be good to go, I went to morning practice, but I still had headaches, so we decided I was to take a break.
FG: Was it your first time? Did you have any other experiences with concussions? Did you have any kind of a point of reference as to what you could expect, to know if it was severe or not?
PMB: I had a small one, maybe 5 or 6 years ago where I missed about a week
MT: In junior?
PMB: No, with Minnesota, I missed about a week of action, so I had a small point of reference, but it was nothing like the other one, not the same symptoms.
SL: In the worst of days, you couldn't even look at bright lights. What was your daily life like? Because it was a whole year!
PMB: Yeah, my life was pretty dull! It was an extremely difficult year. Maybe half an hour of television here and there, 15-20 minutes in front of the computer, but it was mostly naps, a few walks outside just to get out of the house a little bit, get some fresh air, but yeah, it wasn't easy.
PMB: Sometimes, but it was very hard.
MB: When you talked to your doctors, were they confident you'd be OK? What would they tell you?
PMB: Well, they tried to encourage me, they stayed positive, but every case in different, we see it in the NHL this year, some take weeks to come back, some take months, but I tried to think of Patrice Bergeron in Boston who had suffered two big concussions pretty close to one another (who also came back to win a Stanley Cup) and I told myself: ''If he can come back from it, he was patient, he's back playing at 100%, why wouldn't I be able to?'' So I accepted my fate, and this year, I was finally able to come back.
FG: Do you talk about it with other players, like are you close enough to guys like Patrice Bergeron, Simon Gagne, David Perron this year (all sufferers of concussions at one point from Quebec), to pick up the phone and talk about it, and if so, shouldn't the players' association accentuate this kind of a connection between players? Because this is crazy, it's becoming a scourge.
PMB: I agree, it's crazy and it would be a good idea to put together some sort of a concept with all the players, and I did talk to Patrice (Bergeron) on a few occasions when I was concussed to ask him what kinds of treatment he would get and he told me that for him it was neck treatment because I had suffered a whiplash, so it helped me when he told me that and I asked him what he did to pass the time and he told me he liked to cook.
MB: But if you put together some sort of a meeting for all those who suffered concussions like François said, wouldn't you like to call out everyone who gave you those hits to participate at those meetings? I mean, you're all in the same association and if there are 100 concussions, there are 100 hits!
PMB: Yeah, I know, I completely agree, and I'll be the first to tell you that there's a lack of respect between the players nowadays in the NHL, and we saw a lot of elbow hits (Everyone on the show agrees with him), lassoing (Which I assume is throwing someone to the ice with the arm around someone's neck or head... when he says this, the Antichambre team mentions Matt Cooke), and guys nowadays are bigger, stronger, faster, they should be more careful.
SL: I look at your size ( PMB is very small) and I compare it with other players in the NHL, are you scared now when you put on your skates? When you play a match against some pretty robust players, do you think about it before jumping on the ice?
PMB: Well, for sure, in the first few games after my return, I was scared, but right now, no. I don't think about it anymore. I tell myself that if I play scared, I'll be off my game, so I take it one game at a time, what happens, happens.
FG: Have you received any big hits since your return?
PMB: Yeah, a couple, but nothing on the head, so I've been lucky in that regard.
MT: Pierre-Marc, we often talk about it here at L'Antichambre during the year and it's a question we often see, is there anything that could be changed? We could elaborate forever on this, but like, when you talk about it between players, what are two things that could be changed in your opinion, to improve the game?
PMB: Well there's one thing: The ''double-down''. You know, when you're fighting for possession in the corner, you already have a defender on you, you gain possession, and there's a winger who comes at you from the blueline, gets out of position completely and gives you a big hit without you expecting it, you're vulnerable. I don't like that hit, guys like Raffi Torres and Matt Cooke often do it.
SL: Some players even make that hit their speciality! After the break, we we'll have Dr. Sylvain Guimond with us in a few minutes.
That's it for part 2! Pierre-Marc gave us a good glimpse into the life of a concussion victim. It has to be hard, but like he said, every situation is different. We can only hope Scandella and Latendresse won't be living the same way Butch had to, and certainly not for the same amount of time!
Concussions have been more and more frequent recently, most notably claiming Sidney Crosby, Ryan Miller, David Perron and Daniel Alfredsson to name a few. No one could disagree that it's bad for the sport. Perhaps a sort of player's program would be a good idea to try and get players to be more careful with their hits. The answer isn't to remove hits or anything like that, but in this high-speed game, it's quite easy to forget the consequences of some actions moments before they're done.
Part 3 will feature Dr. Sylvain Guimond talking about the scientific side of the concussion. I'll try not to take 7 months to get part 3 up!