All things considered, the Sharks have faired well on the injury front in 2011; at least all seemed well until we heard the news about Martin Havlat.
Meanwhile, Douglas Murray and Jim Vandermeer have been placed on injured reserve with upper body injuries, and Dan Boyle toughed out a broken foot.
Havlat suffered an unusual hamstring injury when leaving the bench on a line change against Edmonton on December 17.
Wednesday night, GM Doug Wilson announced that Havlat will miss six to eight weeks after having surgery to repair his hamstring on. While Havlat should be back well in advance for the playoffs, the Sharks will need a replacement in the meantime.
The key to being injury-free is to be well-conditioned and playing smart hockey. Coach Todd McLellan gave the team a gut-check after an embarrassing 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on December 3 by holding a mandatory practice the day after the game. McLellan’s persistence and intolerance to failure will keep the team sharp throughout the second half of the season.
Playing smart not only involves creating scoring chances and protecting the puck, but it requires study knowledge of their opponents and avoiding unnecessary injuries.
Unfortunately, most injuries occur when players put themselves in a vulnerable position and are blindsided with a hit. And in Havlat’s case, some injuries are simply fluke accidents that cannot be avoided.