Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley

Your requisite San Jose Sharks playoff injuries post


It is a huge disappointment for fans to see their favorite team get eliminated, but for the rest of us, it’s a fascinating time. That’s because, in most cases, we finally get to find out the type of injuries players were fighting through.

CSN Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil was all over the San Jose Sharks’ list of maladies today.

  • While the injury lacks the cringe-ability of Jumbo Joe’s Fun Size pinky, Jason Demers was sidelined with a high-ankle sprain suffered during Game 7 of the Detroit series. High-ankle sprains are quietly among the most problematic injuries in hockey because they inhibit movement considerably and are so difficult to heal.
  • It probably won’t keep him from being a whipping boy, but Dany Heatley was indeed playing with some injuries during the playoffs. The streaky sniper broke his hand late in the regular season and twisted his ankle in Game 3 of the Canucks series, according to Brazil. Heatley doesn’t do much more than skate fast and score goals, so decreased mobility and hand strength probably didn’t help his cause much.
  • Ryane Clowe was injured badly enough that he struggled to put on his jersey before games. That account reminds me of the days when people remarked that Mario Lemieux couldn’t bend over to tie up his skates because of a bad back yet he still managed to be a fearsome offensive force. Clowe’s impressive playoff season slowed down after he took some tough hits, but he still contributed admirably for his team.

Now, it’s important to note that injuries don’t justify defeat, especially when you consider the fact that every remaining team is banged up at this point in the playoffs. Still, for those of you who cling to all the knee-jerk “choking” talk, it might be fair to at least consider the fact the toughness of hockey players. The Sharks might have fallen short of their ultimate goal, but they deserve some admiration for fighting through injuries to try to get there.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.