Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zombo Wants to Zap Bad Memories

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zombo Wants to Zap Bad Memories

Article excerpt

Imagine, if you will, Ozzie Smith rummaging through shoe boxes at the Sports Authority looking for a new pair of baseball spikes.

Or how about Jerome Bettis trying on football cleats at Oshmans.

Or Hale Irwin swinging a jumbo driver at Pro Golf Discount?

Wouldn't happen, you say. A professional athlete gets all his stuff direct from manufacturers and most of it for free. Why would he need to buy retail, anyway?

Out of necessity, maybe. Like Rick Zombo in early July.

His defenseman's hockey school was coming up in Detroit and the Blues' veteran defenseman needed skates. He'd tossed his old pair into the garbage after the Blues lost to Vancouver in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

So, he marched into Total Hockey on Manchester and started trying on skates.

"If you want something done, you do it yourself," Zombo said. "If I can spend $200 for fishing tackle, hell, I can buy myself my own set of skates.

"Obviously, I know where my priorities are. I didn't feel it was a big thing. They're just regular guys waiting on me and I'm just a regular guy buying myself a pair of skates.

"I needed skates then and now. I got the ones that I wanted, so you make them work."

They worked like a charm, enabling Zombo to skate with the 60 kids at his camp and to twist and turn and do the various drills without pain in his right ankle - the ankle that was a constant source of irritation last season.

Zombo suffered a high ankle sprain in the third game of the season, stretching the ligaments attached to his lower leg and ankle. The injury never had a chance to completely heal. Because of the shortened season, Zombo would sit out and rehab the ankle but ultimately rush back and reinjure it upon returning.

Finally, he was fitted with a plastic cast that fit snugly inside his right skate and immobilized the ankle, thereby preventing further injury but immobilizing Zombo on the ice. He played only 21 games last season, most of them at less than full strength.

"Fortunately, I never rehurt it, but playing on one leg doesn't cut it in the NHL," Zombo said.

The NHL's labor lockout and the lingering ankle injury conspired to make it a lost season for Zombo, who had missed only 43 of 484 possible games in the previous six seasons. …

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