Throwback Thursday: Maxillofacial Trauma

Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Originally drafted in the same entry draft, only seven players separated fellow U.S. born player, Mike Modano from future Coyotes' Ring of Honor inductee, Jeremy Roenick. Their paths would cross many times throughout their careers, but none more memorable than their time together in the Pacific Division.

Jeremy Roenick, who came to the Phoenix Coyotes in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for Alexei Zhamnov and Craig Mills, was added to the roster for his tough play and chippy attitude. Balancing out the scoring sheet with linemate Keith Tkachuck, the two led a 1-2 offensive punch in the early years of the Phoenix franchise. Leading the team to the playoffs for five straight seasons. It was during the 1999's playoff hunt that Roenick's rugged style of play would deliver one of it's biggest hits.

Facing a stacked Dallas Stars roster that featured future hall of famers, Brett Hull and Joe Nieuwendyk, as well as Mike Modano, the Coyotes came out hungry for a win against the division rivals. Early in the game, as Modano passed the puck behind the Coyotes' net, Roenick delivered an elbow to the head of Dallas Stars' center. Shaken up from the hit, as well as splitting his head open right above his left eyebrow, Modano would be taken out for the remainder night as the Stars bet the Coyotes, 3-2.

Through hockey's rich history lays a unwritten rule: Don't mess with a team's star player, and if you ignore the rule, be prepared for retribution. It wouldn't be until April 13th that the Stars would be able claim their consolation prize. In a play eerily similar to Roenick's hit on Modano, Stars' captain Derian Hatcher jumped at the Coyotes lead scorer, smashing Roenick's face into the glass, shattering his jaw. The injured jaw would require surgery. The Phoenix forward sat out the rest of the game (and longer), while the Stars' captain was handed a game misconduct. Handing out the longest playoff suspensions since Montreal's Maurice Richard suspension in 1955 (a record broken by the Coyotes Raffi Torres), Derian Hatcher would be given seven games, five of those would carry over into the post season. Expected to miss the post-season due to the injury, Jeremy Roenick would again see ice time that season.



Returning to the line-up after only ten days, Roenick came back to the ice sporting an unforgettable protective hardware piece for his mouth. With two titanium plates placed in his jaw, the Phoenix center, would play Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues, thanks to work done by surgeon Dr. Reed Day. Dr. Day later reflected on his work on the Coyotes' Centerman in an interview, having said,

"My other proudest moment was in 1999 when I repaired (former Phoenix Coyotes center) Jeremy Roenick’s fractured jaw, and got him back on the ice playing with the Coyotes 10 days after. I was able to place two titanium plates across his fractures, and therefore he did not need his jaws wired together at all. Apparently it was the fastest, at that point in time, that anyone had been back from a broken jaw."

Roenick would go on to play two more season in the desert following the '99 campaign before taking a six-year break from the Phoenix Coyotes, returning again for one final season in 2006. Playing six seasons for Phoenix, the Boston, Massachusetts native appeared in 454 games, netting 152 goals, finishing with 379 points.

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