Blackhawks: Player And Injury Management- Keys To Playoff Success
Mar 16, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates off the ice with defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and right wing Marian Hossa (81) after an injury during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Injuries play a huge role in the success of a team in a best of seven series, and sometimes injuries can be prevented, other times… not so much. The outcome of a series can really be affected by the loss of a player. The team suffers from not only his physical absence, but there can also be an emotional toll depending on how the injury occurs. Boston responded positively to an illegal hit on Nathan Horton which flipped that series against the Canucks around, and Boston ended up winning the cup. On the other hand, things only got worse for the Hawks after Hossa was taken out by Raffi Torres in last years playoffs. The Hawks have had some decent luck in the injury department, especially when you look at teams like Columbus, Vancouver, and Florida who have all experienced a ravaged roster at some point during the season. Q and the Hawks organization as a whole have handled things extremely well. The ice time management alone is a huge factor in the fatigue based injuries, and being patient with the injuries our players did receive has been vital to our long term success.
I can completely understand why some fans were getting anxious when Sharp and Hossa were practicing but not playing, but I’m glad we didn’t rush anyone back. Bolland said today that he wants to be back, but we have already heard the Hawks brass wisely announce he’s not going to be in the lineup against Detroit. I completely understand Bolland’s eagerness to come back early; I tore my ligament in my ankle three days after I got scouted for a semi-pro soccer team, and I learned that having a competitive nature can lead you to make dumb decisions. I was told I shouldn’t walk without crutches for two weeks, and when the two week mark hit I was attempting to run. I didn’t want to fall behind, and all that did was drag the injury out for about seven months. I would be 80% healed, and then it would get mangled in some dumb freak way which would set myself back another 2 weeks. The Hawks shouldn’t push anything, because honestly, they don’t have to. They are in the playoffs and are pretty much guaranteed home ice no matter the opponent, so why take the risk? Right now, the only thing for the Hawks to focus on is to be prepared for the long haul, mentally and physically.
Hossa Scores A Huge Goal But Looks More Relieved Than Excited. Mandatory Credit: CSN Chicago
Now, I don’t know if anyone else noticed Hossa’s reaction to his GWG against the Wild the other night, but it wasn’t jubilant celebration- it was relief. That’s the other part of injuries; you don’t know how your body is going to react to game conditions until you are there. That was his first point since coming back to the lineup, and sometimes it’s that small mental nagging that holds you back a little. You come back your first game and it goes well. Maybe you need to get your game legs back, but then a couple more games go by, and you’re not preforming to your own standards. This can really put a strain on an any athlete, and especially a two-way player like Hossa who wants to be a force on and off the puck. Bolland will get his chance to warm up with a few games before the playoffs to shake the cobwebs and prepare mentally for the grind that is the NHL postseason. In my opinion, the best thing the team can do right now is stay focused and don’t rush any nagging minor injuries. They’ll want a healthy team going into the playoffs, and fans are agreeing on that point. Here’s a tweet from @Johnny_S_3 that sums my feelings up perfectly:
Let’s hope our good fortunes continue, because the Hawks have a chance to turn a record breaking year into one of the most amazing seasons that will most likely never be equaled in our lifetime.