Solving the Meniscus Mystery

Justin Goldman

2007-10-22

Leclaire

 

I’m often dead wrong on predictions, but that’s okay because I love when goalies silence their critics and prove to everyone what horrible analysts they really are. Well, before the season started I severely downgraded Manny Legace and Pascal Leclaire due to the tragic meniscus injuries they suffered last season. Two weeks into the season and so much for THAT lousy line of reasoning.

Not only have they stayed healthy, but they’re two of the most prolific goalies in fantasy hockey leagues. On the surface, this conundrum could be explained due to the fact they’re playing on highly-improved teams. But beneath the surface, both teams are actually better due in large part to the goalies igniting a passionate level of play, instilling confidence in their defensemen and giving their players a reason to hope. So heads up Red Wings, you’re division just got a lot tougher. Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus have quickly turned the lamest division into the most interesting to watch.

So thanks to my lack of judgment with the two, let’s quickly dissect a “meniscus injury” to get a better understanding of WHY I downgraded them in the first place and then try to figure out just why the play of Legace and Leclaire has started off so strong.

What is a meniscus and why is it so important to goaltenders?

Simply put, there are two menisci in each knee, the medial and lateral. Each one rests in between the thigh and shin bones and is composed of tough cartilage that wraps around the bones on which they rest. The medial meniscus is on the inside of your knee and the lateral meniscus rests on the outside. They function in order to distribute your body weight evenly across the knee joint. So without them, your body’s weight would be unevenly applied to your legs and it would cause excessive force in specific areas of the bone, leading to tons of problems including early arthritis and one hell of a gimpy skating stride.
Therefore the meniscus is very critical to goaltenders because flexible knee joints allow them to butterfly and recover back into their stance quickly and efficiently, whether it’s by shuffling laterally or dropping straight down. The most common cause of a goalie tearing the meniscus occurs when their knee joint is bent, and then the knee twists due to a collision or awkward save. The meniscus is C-shaped and has a wedged profile, which basically helps a goalie maintain their balance and stability by keeping the round