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Frank's Thought of the Day - 11/15/2013

by Frank Albin / San Jose Sharks

This past Monday, Tampa Bay’s super-sniper Steven Stamkos suffered a horrific injury breaking his right leg. While back-checking hard Stamkos lost his edge and appeared to be nudged into the right goal post. With nowhere to go his leg snapped back violently. Twice Steven tried to stand and skate, but the incredible pain was too much. The medical prognosis for recovery is from 3 to 6 months.

See the injury: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIdZG3XGhys

It is always a shame when you see an NHLer go down, but in this case it’s one of the league’s marquee stars. Stamkos was selected first overall by Tampa Bay from the Sarnia Sting in the 2008 Entry draft. In his rookie season Stamkos notched respectable 23 goals in 79 games. From there the right-winger exploded on the big stage with goal totals of 51, 45, 60 and 29 in last year’s 48-game shortened season. This year he’s scored 14 goals in 17 games. That figure has him in a league leading tie with the Blues’ Alex Steen and the Caps’ Alex Ovechkin. He was on the road to a MVP season leading the Bolts to great start that has powered them to a 1st place position in the Eastern Conference. Stamkos will almost certainly miss the Olympics and perhaps the entire season. The best Lightning and Team Canada GM can hope for is perhaps a late season return just prior to the playoffs. Hurrying him back could be a huge mistake that could impact future of his career.

Yzerman knows from experience what it takes to recover from a severe injury. The date was March 1st, 1988. The Red Wings’ young captain went hard into the goal post in a game against the Buffalo Sabres Talk at the time said the injury could be career threatening, but after surgery Yzerman worked hard in rehab and was able to re-join the Wings in a 3rd round playoff series vs the Edmonton Oilers. The Wings lost that series but Yzerman never looked back and enjoyed some of his best seasons and led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup Championships.

Stamkos’ injury happened in Boston and kudos goes out to Bruins fans that hushed with the injury and remained silent until Stamkos was wheeled out. It was then when they stood applauded to young star. Stamkos is known around the league as one of the most dedicated players in the league whose fitness level is at an elite level. Something tells me Steven will be in uniform and ready to go for the 2014 Playoffs.

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It was a great sight for Sharks fans to see when Sharks’ veteran defenseman Brad Stuart banged in the overtime goal this past Tuesday in Calgary. The Sharks had again squandered a 2 goal lead taking the game into overtime. It was not difficult to imagine yet another overtime or shootout loss. Stuart’s goal gave his team the win and showed he can contribute to team success. Stuart is recovering from a preseason injury and was scratched from last Sunday’s game in Winnipeg for recent ineffective play. Missing that game by coaches decision had to hurt Stuart who a proud and professional athlete. Look for Brad to use Tuesday’s performance as a springboard going forward.

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The Sharks have dropped 4 of 5 games decided in the NHL shootout so far this season. It may be that fact that makes me again question the league’s shootout format. I don’t feel that the outcome of a team game should be decided on a single one-on-one skills competition. NHL GMs met this week and are considering extending the overtime format and perhaps going to a 3-on-3 format in order to decide game outcome in a game format. I look forward to what they decide going forward.

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