MONTREAL – In more than 50 years of career with the Montreal Canadiens, Dr. David Mulder has seen almost everything, the book he published testifies to it wonderfully. In his opinion, Carey Price will be able to continue his career for a few seasons and he understands that Jonathan Drouin wishes to obtain a second medical opinion.
Before his arrival with the Habs, in the days of Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach, players used to put on their blade guards to walk to the west wing of the Hospital on their own. General of Montreal.
Several decades later, despite the fabulous evolution in sports medicine that Dr. Mulder witnessed and contributed to, Price’s fitness has stagnated.
“It was very difficult for him, getting back into shape from his knee surgery took so much longer than everyone expected. But he is progressing and he is quite a warrior, he is working very hard to get back to the top. His goal has always been to get there as soon as possible and I hope he will get there, ”submitted Dr. Mulder who joined the Canadian Junior in 1963 and the CH in 1969.
At 83, he still holds the position of chief medical officer of the Canadiens and he got involved in this file.
“We met him initially with his injury and he wanted to go to New York for the operation which sometimes happens. Players are encouraged to have surgery in Montreal because it’s easier to supervise, but he went to see a very well-established group there. Then, we followed his fitness very closely from a program carried out by our therapists. He had to deal with several setbacks, ”he explained to RDS.ca.
Evaluating the portrait at the time of the interview, conducted Thursday, Dr. Mulder continues to believe that Price will be able to play a few more seasons.
“I think so, he is making good progress. Many goalkeepers have to be content with a fairly short career, but I expect him to be back, ”he said.
We now know that Price’s file is not limited to the sporting aspect. Dr. Mulder has been involved with athletes whose injuries have had big implications in their personal lives. The retelling of stories by Saku Koivu and Trent McCleary is fabulous to read in Hockey Doc, Fifty years of medical anecdotes with the Club de hockey Canadien which is now available in French.
“We helped him as best we could, except that the NHL assistance program collects this type of file for support. But I have always been there to help him with any personal issue,” said the man whose ultimate compliment was to be described as the “Jean Béliveau of sports medicine” by Ron MacLean.
Over the past few days, Jonathan Drouin has expressed his desire to obtain a second medical opinion. The attacker wishes to avoid an operation on his right wrist while the Canadian’s medical team considers it to be the best option.
“We always welcome such a request, maybe another specialist will have a better idea than us. But we are rather convinced that he should be operated. It’s not a major operation, he should be ready for next season and we always respect the player’s opinion, ”reacted Dr. Mulder who plans to get him back in shape for two to three months.
Drouin will spend the last year of his contract next season and he would like to prove that he deserves to stay in Montreal by taking advantage of the advice of Martin St-Louis. A business component is thus added to the equation.
“It’s always the hardest thing. Recently, we lost Ben (Chiarot) and Artturi (Lehkonen). We had become used to looking after them, to taking care of them. We understand that it was necessary for the good of the club, but this is what I find the most difficult over the years. It is not easy for the friendships forged. At least, we manage to keep in touch with the majority of players, whether it’s PK Subban or the others, ”said the man who dreamed of playing in the NHL during his childhood in Saskatchewan.
The ruse with Roy in 1994, the close link with Béliveau until the end
If Saku Koivu’s return to the game in April 2002 after a battle with cancer was the most emotional moment of Mulder’s career, here is a tasty anecdote about Patrick Roy’s appendicitis attack in April 1994.
Exits from the hospital were blocked by an imposing media presence as Roy wanted to test his physical abilities during training at the Forum. Here is the extract of the ingenious idea proposed by a colleague of Dr. Mulder.
“’It’s easy, go through the morgue’. So I went down with Patrick to the pathology department on the third floor. I had parked my car inside and Patrick stretched out in the back seat. We took the Avenue des Pins exit and entered the Forum through the garage on Boulevard de Maisonneuve. Patrick practiced with the team and took part in the game, stopping thirty-nine pucks in a 5-2 victory. »
By spending more than half a century as a privileged witness to the adventures of the Canadian, Dr. Mulder confounded the skeptics.
“It’s fantastic, a lot of people in medicine and on the academic side wondered why I was involved with the Canadiens at the time. But I learned so much from hockey people like Toe Blake, Scotty Bowman and Sam Pollock, they were all heroes to me. It made my job so interesting and they made me a better doctor by teaching me many lessons,” he said.
This whole journey was possible thanks to Dr. Douglas Kinnear who hired him. Although he is deceased, Dr. Kinnear played a large role in this book. He had kept archives of several milestones in his career, which made it possible to relate the whole thing. The anecdotes with the entertaining Gump Worsley are hilarious.
“Before going to bed, referee Red Storey had spotted Worsley at the hotel bar. Gump and Storey drank and chatted until about two in the morning. Eventually, Red asked him, ‘It’s none of my business, but you’re not goalkeeping tonight?’ And Gump replied: ‘You’re right, it’s none of your business’. »
A reassuring presence and dedicated physician, Dr. Mulder has helped so many athletes during his career. Proud of his work, however, he retains more of the relationships built with them. He even accompanied Jean Béliveau until the end of his life.
“After he retired, we became great friends. He always came to talk to Dr. Kinnear and me at games. He had health problems and we were able to help him. He has always been very grateful,” concluded Dr. Mulder who, when he is ready, will hand over his position with peace of mind because the next generation is ready to continue the legacy he will leave.