In today's topic, we take a closer look at defenseman Bryan Allen in our Top 10 Players To Watch this season.
The last two years have been tough on defenseman Bryan Allen.
He missed all but two games during the 2008-09 season after going through two different arthroscopic knee surgeries to remove "loose bodies". And while last year he was able to play in 74 of the 82 games, the knee still limited him.
"It was up-and-down and it was sort of a process to get back," said Allen.
Seen as a shut-down defenseman throughout the league, the ninth year veteran suffered just the second minus season of his career, finishing a minus-8 while recording 13 points (four goals). He did have a pretty successful season in terms of other defensive categories, finishing fourth on the team in hits with 120 and third on the team with 137 blocked shots.
But for Allen it was just a frustrating season, still trying to get back to 100%.
"I think it was (difficult) last year," said Allen. "There were times where I was frustrated that I wasn't where I wanted to be but that's a real process I had to go through."
It says that the average recovery time after knee surgery is anywhere from six to 12 months. But then that's not taking into account the daily grind a hockey player goes through with all of the pounding on the knees from skating and hitting.
Almost two years removed from his last surgery, Allen thinks he's back to 100%.
"Right now it feels the best it has in years," said Allen. "It's an afterthought now."
Being back to full strength will mean Allen can do what he does best. Shut down the opposing team's offense while pitching in here and there with the offense.
"Just contribute more everywhere," said Allen of his goals this year. "I think playing in many games as possible again but being consistent and playing physical and moving the puck."BY THE NUMBERS1 -
Scoring from almost three-quarters of the ice into the empty net on November 9th against Carolina, Allen registered the first short-handed goal of his career.
A banner year in terms of game-winners for the shut-down defenseman as he tripled his GW total to three after collecting winners against Tampa Bay (January 16) and San Jose (March 13). 4 -
Number of goals the defenseman scored during the season, tied for third most in his career.
Number of times Allen has played in at least 70 games in the last six seasons.
29:18 - Allen registered his most time on ice last season against San Jose on March 13. 99 -
Just missing out on the triple digit mark, Allen led the team in penalty minutes with 99.500 -
As long as he stays healthy, Allen will play in his 500th career game this season. He sits just 53 games shy of the record.