The San Jose Sharks have injuries on their roster, with most of them needing significant time to heal to become fully healthy. In a 48- or 50-game season, that is never good news.
This NHL season may be one of the most exciting we have seen in a while, based on the fact that the shortened season will have teams playing their most competitive hockey every single night with little room for error.
Sharks center Logan Couture told CSN Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil just as much:
This 48 or 50-game schedule is going to be a sprint to the finish to see who could make the playoffs Really, every game is going to be so big, and games are going to come back-to-backs, three in four nights, stuff like that.
One loss is going to feel like two, and that just happens to be the situation the NHL is in this season. Any injuries to key players will be costly.
With that said, the Sharks are already behind the eight ball heading into the 2013 NHL year because of three key injuries to their starters. Defensemen Brent Burns and Jason Demers, along with Justin Braun, will all miss some time to start the season.
Burns’ recovery from offseason surgery does not seem to have a timetable.
CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz is reporting that Burns had surgery to repair a groin injury earlier this year and has been rehabbing since.
“Sharks defenseman Brent Burns played through what appears to be a significant injury in the second half of last season, and his status for a shortened 2013 season is unclear,” Kurz writes.
Jason Demers is also expected to miss significant time with a broken wrist that he suffered while playing for Team Canada. Four to six weeks seems more likely at the moment, although reports say the injury is not as serious as once thought. In any case, he will not be on the ice to start the shortened season.
To make matters worse, Justin Braun, another member of the Sharks’ third line of defense, broke his hand in Finland and is expected to miss around the same amount of time as Demers.
At the moment, the biggest blow to the Sharks is the unknown timetable for each player’s return to the team. Demers can be expected to return within the first month of the season, and Braun should be ready for the first week’s worth of games. However, Burns could miss the first week of the season or the entire first half of the season—there is that little information on his condition at the moment.
With the team already losing three defensemen, they will need to look elsewhere for help, and Kurz said free agent Jim Vandermeer could make a return to San Jose.
It is not all bad news for the Sharks, though. San Jose’s players are in competitive game shape after most spent the NHL lockout overseas with their respective teams.
Most notably, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture were very active in their time away from the NHL, as both were key members of their teams in Switzerland. A healthy Martin Havlat will be a much-needed addition to the start of the Sharks’ season, as well.
It should provide for competitive hockey from the get-go from the Sharks offense. However, the defense is still drawing skepticism based on the slew of injuries suffered in the past few weeks.
With the shortened season comes the need to win early and often, and missing arguably the heartbeat of the defense in Burns could prove costly early in the season.
Follow me on Twitter @ScottSemmler22.