Sports generally emulate life in that you can rarely count on a “sure thing.” The Florida Panthers have been grooming an undeniably promising goalie prospect in Jacob Markstrom, but turning potential into production is often as much about luck as it is hard work.
In Markstrom’s case, the biggest hurdle might be health. The talented netminder underwent knee surgery last season and George Richards reports that he’ll go under the knife for that same problematic knee on Wednesday.
On the bright side, the Panthers indicate that it will be a minor procedure. It’s not a great sign to see a 21-year-old player undergo two knee-related procedures in as many years, but hopefully it’s just a speed bump in his development.
If nothing else, the Panthers are strangely accustomed to their goalies having knee issues. Scott Clemmensen reportedly underwent a similar surgery on his knee going into this season while Jose Theodore is struggling with a knee injury of his own right now.
Those injuries have placed Clemmensen in the top spot for the time being and the report indicates that Markstrom might even play again this season. The Panthers keep scrapping a very nice season together, so it wouldn’t be shocking to watch them continue to bend but not break – kind of like a good knee, actually.
After being sidelined for about a month, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen will likely miss another four weeks after undergoing knee surgery.
That cannot be the most comforting situation for Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, who gave Pitkanen a three-year, $13.5 million contract extension last summer.
The 28-year-old defenseman has been a workhorse for Carolina ever since he was traded there from the Edmonton Oilers before the 2008-09 season. His point production has been on par for his usual work this season (12 points in 21 games), but his -10 rating shows that he wasn’t immune to the struggles in Raleigh.
NHL players hop over the boards countless times during the course of a season. It’s likely that none of them are worried about getting hurt during that routine practice, but Martin Havlat may not ever feel the same after a freakish accident put him on the shelf. The San Jose Sharks announced that Havlat underwent surgery because of that injury and will be out an estimated six-to-eight weeks, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz.
Pollak reports that Havlat needed surgery for a partially torn hamstring.
This is the biggest hurdle in a very challenging first Sharks season for Havlat. A shoulder injury delayed his debut until Oct. 21. Havlat compiled 15 points in 26 games, which isn’t totally awful when you consider the fact that he had one stretch in which he had just one assist and zero goals in nine games.
The injury window indicates that he might not be able to get back until sometime between February and March, so it’s almost like a lost season for Havlat. Perhaps the Sharks would be satisfied if he can simply shake off any rust by the time the playoffs start, though.