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Conor Sheary injury part of a concerning trend

February 1, 2017, 8:58 PM ET [53 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Penguins got some bad news today. Conor Sheary is going to miss the next 4-6 weeks with an upper body injury. It's a bummer because he was having a remarkable season and not just by Conor Sheary standards but any standard.

He has a 5v5 points per 60 of 3.08 which leads the Penguins. A Penguins team that has one player (Crosby) gunning for the Rocket Richard Trophy and another (Malkin) taking aim on the Art Ross Trophy. It is also SECOND OVERALL IN THE NHL. He's been terrific.

I wasn't surprised to find out that Sheary was dinged up today, but I was definitely shocked when I heard how long he was going to be out for. During the Root Sports broadcast last night they zoomed in on Sheary after a sequence where he was grimacing in pain. If my memory serves correct it was during the first half of the hockey game. Sheary continued to play the entire game. The graphic (and following ones) are from NHL.com and they are shift charts which show when and how long each player played.

Logically I thought that whatever it was wouldn't be a big deal. Sure he looked like he was in pain, but he played in the whole game so he'll be fine.


And this isn't the first time that I've used this logic only to have an IR announcement the next day. It got me thinking and I couldn't shake the feeling that this is something that has happened quite a number of times.

I was right.

The motivation for this blog was derived from Kris Letang. I remember making mental notes on multiple occasions Letang looked hurt in a game, finished the game, and then missed multiple games. I didn't want to assume my mental notes were correct so that is why I started looking up the shift charts. I was right to do so. This kind of thing happened multiple times during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons to Letang. The latest example happened on December 14th of this season against the Boston Bruins. Letang suffered a lower body injury. This from Rotoworld

Kris Letang will miss the next couple weeks due to a lower-body injury.

Letang is one of the best offensive defenseman in the league, but unfortunately injuries have been a consistent issue with him. At least this injury doesn't sound too serious in the grand scheme of things, although it could cost him about eight games given the Penguins' upcoming schedule. He has two goals and 19 points in 25 contests.

Letang ended up missing seven games. Here is what his shift chart looked like during that December 14th game:

He definitely played a regular shift until the game ended.

During the 2015-16 season Kris Letang got hurt in a December 1st game against the San Jose Sharks. Here is the Rotoworld description

Kris Letang missed practice on Friday with an undisclosed injury.
Letang is questionable for Saturday's game at this time. If he is unable to go, Olli Maatta could return to the lineup for the first time since November 17 when he suffered an upper body injury. By the sounds of it, Letang is more likely to be out of action than playing. He has a goal and 14 points in 24 games with a minus-14 rating.

He played a regular shift until the very end of the December 1st game.

Letang Returned on December 9th, but it was short lived. He was hurt in that game. Guess what? He played a regular shift until the end of the game.

This is two games in a row where he played a full game and then had to miss games to injury. Again from Rotoworld

Kris Letang has sustained an undisclosed injury.
All we really know about Letang's current injury is that it's different from the undisclosed injury he returned from on Wednesday. Letang will miss Friday's contest.

He missed another six games because of this.

Last week Evgeni Malkin was injured against the St. Louis Blues. He played right up until the end.

As we know Evgeni Malkin missed the next game against the Boston Bruins and also All Star Weekend. He has yet to practice with the team and there are no plans for him to do so tomorrow. He will probably miss more games this weekend.

Last year Malkin was hurt in a February 2nd game against the Ottawa Senators. He didn't miss a shift

Geno went on to miss ten games.

Another 2016-17 instance of this happened during the 8-7 Capitals game with Matt Cullen.

Matt Cullen broke his foot during the thrilling 8-7 victory over the Washington Capitals. The IR announcement came the next day despite Cullen playing a regular shift until the end of the game.

The most famous example of this happening was when Sidney Crosby was blindsided by David Steckel

That is just one still shot but you could tell watching HBO's 24/7 that something was off about Sid after that hit.

Not only did the team let Sidney Crosby finish the Winter Classic, but he played in the next game only to get obliterated again by Victor Hedman.

The purpose of bringing attention to this isn't as much to place blame on someone as it is to ask the question of why does this keep happening?

Hockey culture is famous for having players fight through injuries. Players are labeled as warriors and they receive a ton of affection from teammates for playing through these various ailments. This attitude and mantra certainly does not make the medical staff's job easier.

However, you would think a franchise like Pittsburgh would know better than anybody after losing Crosby for 101 games.

Is the medical staff letting the players talk themselves back into game action? Only the medical staff and players can answer that question.

Whatever the reason(s) are this seems to be something that is happening a little too frequently with the Penguins to just brush aside. Moving forward something has to change. Too many players are finishing games and then missing large chunks of action afterwards as a result.

Thanks for reading!
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