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Sharks Postseason Injury Report

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton during a news conference in the Sharks locker room, Thursday, May 26, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. The Sharks lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in double overtime to lose in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference finals. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
After staying tight-lipped about injuries throughout the regular and postseason, the Sharks openly discussed their injuries at Sharks Ice on Thursday.

Captain Joe Thornton confirmed he played through a separated shoulder that he suffered in Game 4 against Vancouver and broken pinky that would require surgery to re-attach the tip of his finger. Right wing Ryane Clowe discussed a similar shoulder injury that came in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals. He would not however confirm that it came at the hands of Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

Unrestricted free agent Scott Nichol also disclosed that he was going in for surgery later in the day to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder that he had been playing through since February. He used the term “band aid” to describe how he held it together for the last three months. Yes, that’s right, band aid.

Although they wouldn’t admit to it until now, the Sharks were pretty beat up during the playoffs. Below is a recap of the players who addressed the media and the injuries they were hiding.

When Thornton was listening to the doctor discuss his shoulder injury after Game 4, he
Sharks captain Joe Thornton played Game 5 with a seperated shoulder that may require surgery and a broken finger that was surgically repaired on Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
checked out after the word “injury.” He didn’t want to know what happened or what grade of separation it was. It really didn’t matter to him.

“I kind of blocked it out,” said Thornton about the diagnosis. “As soon as they said it, I was like, ‘whatever, let’s just go play.’
“I think once you get into the playoffs, you really can’t think about yourself as being injured,” said Thornton. “You have to think about the greater good of the team. There were a lot of guys on this team that were playing injured and we thanked them for that.”

After he has surgery on Thursday to repair his pinky, the Sharks captain will need to wait a couple weeks before tending to his shoulder. Once the swelling goes down, Thornton will have an MRI that will determine whether or not he needs to have surgery on his shoulder.

When one reporter brought up the fact that former 49er Ronnie Lott had suffered a similar finger injury and had it amputated, Thornton smiled and replied, “I prefer all ten fingers.”

San Jose Sharks right wing Ryane Clowe, center, runs into Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. At right is Brian Rafalski, and in front is Tomas Holmstrom. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Like Thornton, Clowe played through a shoulder injury. He was unable to put on his own jersey and even needed the help of assistant coach Jay Woodcroft to tie his skates. But the adrenaline of the playoffs helped Clowe play through the pain for six games.

“The toughest part was starting the game, but then once the adrenaline gets going, you try to think about other things,” said Clowe. “Anyone who’s played at a high level of competition or something as intense as the playoffs, you just realize that it’s just amazing what the adrenaline does – at home and with the fans and everyone going crazy – it just gets put on the side burner. Of course there’s times during the game where you’re reminded of it, but that’s just what adrenaline does.”

Clowe is unsure whether or not he will need surgery. After a month of rest, he plans to meet with Sharks head athletic trainer Ray Tufts and team physician Dr. Arthur Ting to reassess the situation.

“I think this year – more than any other year that I’v e been here – you can see the effects of a playoff battle on our team. That’s a good sign,” said Clowe. “Guys were laying it on the line. Last year, I think, especially when the Chicago series was over, I felt like we could have had a little bit more. This year, guys laid it out there. Guys put their bodies on the line. Those battles – the playoff battles that everyone talks about – your body takes a beating and mentally you take a beating – we felt that this year.”

Clowe did joke about the secrecy regarding injuries. After missing Game 6 against Red Wings, the media was guessing about what kept Clowe from making the trip to Detroit. Apparently rumors that Clowe was out with a concussion made their way all the way up to Vancouver.

“I don’t think Ryan Kessler knew I had a sore shoulder,” said Clowe. “Because in the game he said, ‘How’s your concussion?’”

Defenseman Jason Demers missed all five games of the Western Conference Final after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the second period of Game 7 against the Red Wings.

Detroit Red Wings left wing Tomas Holmstrom (96), of Sweden, watches teammate Detroit Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula's shot score against San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31), of Finland, left, as San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers (60) defends in the third period of Game 6 of a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Detroit, Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Detroit won 3-1. The s
“I went to hit a guy and fell right on my ankle,” said Demers. “I came back and after that it was sort of a particular injury. It’s when you put all your weight on it. So it was tough for me to get back skating. I tried everything to get back, but just couldn’t get to where I thought I could help the team more than hinder it.”

Demers explained that his injury was similar to the one Joe Pavelski suffered in December that caused him to miss eight games.

“It’s the type of sprain that can keep you out for a week or keep you out for a month,” said Demers. “So I’m going to talk to the trainers and see what I have to do. But right now it’s just rest and get it better as quick as possible.”

The defenseman added that he wanted to come back for Game 5, but believed the coaches decided against it because he had been off the ice for a week prior.

“They thought I needed a couple days,” said Demers. “Maybe if we had won Game 5, I could have come back for Game 6 or 7.


San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture appears during a news conference at the Sharks locker room, Thursday, May 26, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. The Sharks lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in double overtime to lose in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference finals. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Clean shaven and somber, rookie Logan Couture addressed the media with a poise well beyond his 22-years. The center admitted that he wasn’t playing through any major injuries, but broke his nose in a collision with Clowe during Game 3 against Vancouver.

“I got hurt in Game 3, broke my nose and I was a little dazed, but that’s hockey,” said Couture. “It’s a tough sport. Guys take hits all the time. There’s no way I wanted to sit out. I’ll play through it.”

This is a common theme in hockey. Broken nose? No big deal. Separated shoulder? Who cares. It’s the culture of the sport and every player respects their teammates for this type of mentality.

“To see Joe play through a separated shoulder – he couldn’t even put his jersey on,” said Couture. “There’s a lot of injuries Joe has had this year. He’s played through broken fingers, broken – basically everything – the guy’s a warrior.

“There’s guys like Clowie who couldn’t even put their own shirts on,” continued Couture. “It’s unbelievable to see those guys battle through that.”


Although Nichol had a ripped labrum in his shoulder, it was a laceration on his knee that kept him out of Games 3, 4, and 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

Detroit Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula (51) of Finland, defended by San Jose Sharks center Scott Nichol (21) plays the puck behind goalie Antti Niemi during the first period in Game 6 of a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoffs hockey game in Detroit, Tuesday, May 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
“Nichol had a very bad gash in Game 2 in Vancouver and we lost the ability to use him,” said head coach Todd McLellan.
The cut required 20 stitches to repair.

But that’s old news in the eyes of a hockey player. Nichol is now on to repairing the next thing, which for the 36-year-old, happens to be his shoulder.

“I go today to get my shoulder re-done,” said Nichol. “I tore my labrum in my shoulder in February and I just tried to band aid it up for the rest of the season. It’s going to be probably three to four months rehab so I try to get it done as soon as I can since our summer’s pretty short.”


When we asked Dany Heatley if he was dealing with any injuries during the playoffs, he responded, “Nothing in particular. Nothing that anybody else isn’t playing with.”

But the truth came out when McLellan addressed the group. Turns our Heatley was dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

“Dany twisted his ankle and obviously wasn’t capable to skate the way that he can,” said McLellan. “That hurt him.”

Upon further investigation, we also found out that Heatley had played with a broken left hand during the regular season.


Although he didn’t suffer any injuries during the playoffs, a nagging knee problem did hinder defenseman Dan Boyle during the postseason.

“The only thing that really bothered me was that I had a fall here before the playoffs started when my legs split open,” said Boyle. “So I really messed up my knee pretty bad and my MCL was a little messed up. I wore a brace the rest of the way. There’s no excuse there. Come game time, I wasn’t really feeling it that much.”

With a shaved beard – and shaved head – Devin Setoguchi explained that for the first time in
San Jose Sharks right wing Devin Setoguchi talks during a news conference in the Sharks locker room, Thursday, May 26, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. The Sharks lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in double overtime to lose in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference finals. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
his NHL career, he will not need any post-season surgery.

“You know what, this was the first time in my four years in the NHL that I won’t have to have surgery at the end of the year,” said Setoguchi. “I was healthy and that was a first for me. I know a couple guys are definitely banged up and it’s that time of year, that’s going to happen, there’s no excuses.”

Like Couture, Setoguchi went on to praise his teammates that did play through injuries.

“People realize how tough some of the guys are, but they don’t realize what it actually takes to go into a game after separating your shoulder two days before that,” said Setoguchi. “A lot of people, they would stay at home and call in sick to work. But those guys, they laid it on the line for us and it goes to show how much we care for each other in the room and how close we are as a group.”


Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau will also escape any summer surgeries. The 31-year-old did not sustain any injuries during the postseason.

“No. Nothing major, just normal bumps or bruises,” said Marleau.
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