Every team in the NHL has to deal with injuries throughout the long season. The San Jose Sharks are getting their share injuries of and then some right now.
Logan Couture will undergo surgery on an upper body injury on Wednesday. He’ll join a list that already includes Tommy Wingels, Martin Havlat, Tomas Hertl, Raffi Torres and Adam Burish. If you include Tyler Kennedy who missed the three-game road trip with a nasty bout of the flu, the Sharks are playing without seven of their regular forwards.
There aren’t many teams, if any, in the NHL that can consistently score when more than half of their forwards are on the shelf. Head Coach Todd McLellan needs his core veterans like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Marc Eduard Vlasic and others to help carry the team through a difficult stretch. It’s also necessary for the depth players up from Worcester to make a difference. McLellan needs an extra block here or there, an extra hit, an extra faceoff win. He also needs his goaltending to be a little better. It’s all hands on deck until the Olympic break starting February 7 and then the Sharks ought to begin to get healthier and get players back.
There are going to be a few rocky nights over the next three weeks but the Sharks have to find a way to battle through. They have no choice. They can’t hang their heads and allow injuries to be an excuse for team performance. If they survive the next 15 games before the break and stay in the hunt for the division title, they’ll be in much better shape down the stretch heading towards the playoffs and they’ll be a better team for having battled through the adversity together.
I’m Randy Hahn