Edmonton Oilers  defenceman Kris Russell (6) keeps the Buffalo Sabres' Cody Eakin (20) in check at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

So, trust him when he tells you being forced into a spectator role is some of the worst pain he’s ever felt in the game.

“Blocked shots and bruises, played through some broken bones, but this was something that wasn’t getting better, it was getting worse,” said the Edmonton Oilers defenceman, who is back from a nagging neck issue that had him sidelined since Jan. 31.

“I had to make sure I got it fixed. I had the doctors tell me that it got to the point where, basically, I shouldn’t be playing. I had to get back to getting healthy again.

“It’s always frustrating. I feel like I’m one of those guys who can play through some stuff, so when you can’t, it feels like you’re letting the team down.”

It’s been that kind of year for the 34-year-old, who missed 29 of the last 35 games with injury issues and has been limited to just 21 games this season.

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