The Sharks’ loss in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was as much about an injury mess as it was about the high-flying Oilers.
Joe Thornton was playing with tears in both the medial collateral and the anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee, while Tomas Hertl was somehow skating despite a broken foot.
Both injuries were sustained April 2 in Vancouver against the Canucks.
Thornton damaged his knee in a collision with Canucks centre Michael Chaput. His left knee was severely hyper-extended in the collision, pushing his knee well past what it was designed to do.
“It was just unfortunate, the time of the year, that it happened three games before the end of the season and the playoffs [and] you’ve got to deal with something like that,” Thornton told reporters in San Jose on Monday.
“Basically his knee is just floating there,” Sharks coach Peter de Boer commented. “It was as courageous an effort, him doing what he did, as I’ve ever seen.”
Thornton tried to down play the injury, saying that he went through “the normal stuff that hockey players deal with” in preparing for the playoffs, even if his injury was substantial.
“Hockey players are a different breed There’s probably five or six guys that had to deal with different stuff. But it is what it is. I’ll go get it checked out today, and go from there,” he said.
Adding to the Sharks’ woes, Tomas Hertl broke his foot in the same game. (He scored two first period goals to lead the Sharks to a 3-1 win.)
Hertl played quite well vs. Edmonton so how much effect the foot injury really had on him isn’t clear.
The twist in all this is the Jannik Hansen trade. Had the Sharks gone all the way and won the cup, they’d have sent a first round pick to the Canucks. Instead, the Canucks will stick with a fourth-round pick, acquired in the late February trade which also landed them Nikolay Goldobin.