After injury, Silk reaches Beanpot
Perhaps it was gruesome irony that on the day Brendan Silk sat down at a desk in the Boston College athletic office to talk about, and quickly move on from, the time a skate sliced through his Achilles tendon, Ottawa Senators’ defenseman Erik Karlsson made headlines with a tormenting photo after a similar incident.
Karlsson, who beat out Bruins blue-liner Zdeno Chara for the Norris Trophy as the National Hockey League’s best defenseman last season, suffered the same fate Wednesday night against the Penguins.
Penguins forward Matt Cooke’s left skate came up during impact and plummeted back down on the back of Karlsson’s left heel. The nasty incident was captured by Associated Press photographer Gene J. Puskar.
The image is haunting. Karlsson is caught in a hellish moment, his eyes clinching shut, his mouth wide open, and his right hand reaching down toward the gash.
Silk has been in a similar position.
“I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t move my foot,” he said.
Two and a half years ago, the Wakefield native had earned a spot with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program following two stellar years at Austin Prep. Silk’s natural touch with the puck and goal-scoring ability helped lead the Cougars to the Super 8 in 2010.
Bags packed, ready to move in with a Michigan family and enroll in a local high school with other future hockey stars donning the red, whit, and blue, Silk was presented an opportunity few are lucky to get close to. But with one gouge, from another player’s skate, during a skills’ competition in the summer of 2010, his chance appeared to be slipping away.
“I went into shock,” Silk said of the injury that left him with a torn Achilles. “They took me to the hospital and the first doctor told me I wouldn’t skate for over a year. Right away I was in a tough situation.
“Doubt went through my head a little bit. Just the first couple weeks, being in a cast, not being able to walk — I was nervous. I was moving away to a completely different situation, living with another family, I didn’t know anyone.”
Rehab was the hardest part, but Silk said the development program ensured he had the most advanced medical treatment, which included multiple physical therapy sessions seven days a week. Silk’s parents, Elizabeth and Jack , made frequent visits to Ann Arbor, Mich., during the process and kept his spirits high.
Silk was back on the ice in seven months.
Wednesday at BC, where he is now a freshman who has skated in 24 of the Eagles’ 25 games this season, Silk took a moment to reflect on his journey. The biggest moment was one that only existed in his dreams until Monday night, when he and the Eagles captured a Beanpot championship with a 6-3 win over Northeastern at the TD Garden.
“That was unbelievable,” Silk said. “I’ve been watching the Beanpot since I was 5. My dad used to bring me to it growing up. My parents went to the game, a lot of my friends from BC, a few of my aunts and uncles came. They were so happy to see me holding the Beanpot after the championship.”
Silk has played mostly on the Eagles’ fourth line, where he has notched two goals and one assist this season. But he has been doing a lot of watching and learning from Reading’s Steven Whitney , a senior forward, and electric sophomore Johnny Gaudreau .
“Gaudreau, he’s unbelievable,” Silk said. “He’s one of the most skilled players I’ve ever seen. Some of the stuff he does I can’t even imagine doing them myself.
“I think I’ve been doing well. I could be doing more. I’d like to start doing a little more offensively to help the team, but that’ll come with time. I’m hopeful.”
Trodden, at Keene State, wins honor
Julie Trodden helped lead the Reading High swim team to four straight Middlesex League titles before graduating in 2011. She’s doing much of the same at Keene State College.
Trodden, who was named the Female Swimmer of the Meet at the 2013 New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Division Association Championships last weekend, won three individual events, including a meet-record 10:35.30 time in the 1,000-meter freestyle.
And with a 17:33.87 finish in the 1,650-meter freestyle, Trodden posted an NCAA B cut-qualifying time, giving her a chance to compete at nationals in Texas in March if her time holds up. She was scheduled to give that race another go this weekend, and if she hits 17:19, the NCAA A cut, she could book herself a plane a ticket.
“It’s not that much if you think about it,” Trodden said. “It’s like 0.5 seconds off each 50. I just have to have to be more on my pace time.Continued...