Sharks

Havlat talks for first time after surgery

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Havlat talks for first time after surgery

SAN JOSE Injured Sharks forward Marty Havlat gave his first public comments following surgery for a partially torn left hamstring on Friday morning, as he wandered into the Sharks locker room at HP Pavilion on crutches and with his leg in a brace.

Although hes disappointed to be missing the next six-to-eight weeks after surgery on Wednesday, Havlat echoed what Doug Wilson said in that the injury could have ended his season.

After surgery was better news than what we heard before, so hopefully its going to be good, said Havlat. Before the surgery, it didnt sound that good. I think everybody is pleased with the results and what they saw in there.

REWIND: Havlat out after surgery

Havlat, who said the injury was not related to anything hes had in the past, explained again what happened on the play midway through the third period of a 3-2 win over Edmonton last Saturday. He was hurt as he was stepping over the boards for a shift on the penalty kill, when he crumpled to the ice.

I just got stuck there a little bit, then I put all my weight when I was falling down on the leg, and my ankle twisted a little bit, he said.

The injury comes just as Havlat seemed to be playing better after an inconsistent start. He scored just his second goal of the season earlier in the game against the Oilers, following up a two-assist effort against Colorado two days prior.

RELATED: Martin Havlat 2011 game logs

I was trying to get my game back and was a little better the last couple of games, but unfortunately this is what happened and Ill have to deal with that again like I did last four or five times, he said, referring to past injuries. Its a little longer rehab than most of the injuries, but thats the way it is, and this is just another hurdle I have to jump over.

Havlat missed all of training camp and the first three games of the regular season recovering from offseason left shoulder surgery. He missed the majority of the 2005-06 season with a right shoulder injury while in Ottawa, playing in just 18 games. After a trade to Chicago that offseason, Havlat played in 56 games with the Blackhawks in 2006-07 but just 35 games in 2007-08 with shoulder and groin ailments.

This is the first time hes been out for an extended period of time due to a leg or knee injury.

Don't blame Joakim Ryan for Brent Burns' struggles

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AP

Don't blame Joakim Ryan for Brent Burns' struggles

Over the last three years, Brent Burns played with only one defensive partner more in a single season than he has with Joakim Ryan in 2017-18.

That partner, of course, is Paul Martin, who’s missed all but two games this season due to complications from offseason ankle surgery. Martin is set to miss yet more time after experiencing a setback in his recovery, although the injury is not related to his ailing ankle, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Martin’s absence, combined with the fact that Burns has gone 20 games without a goal this season, has naturally led to questions about whether their separation is causing Burns to struggle.

That’s not the case.

Burns is actually playing a bit better alongside Ryan than he was with Martin. In just over 257 minutes together at even strength, the Sharks have controlled 55.74 percent of the shot attempts with Burns and Ryan on the ice, according to Corsica Hockey, up from Burns and Martin’s 52.13 percent mark together.

The Sharks are attempting more shots than their opponents when Burns and Ryan play, they’re doing so at a higher rate. With Burns and Ryan on the ice, the Sharks are attempting nearly nine more shots per 60 minutes than when Burns and Martin together, and just over two more shots per 60 minutes are hitting the net.

As we’ve written about previously, Burns’ scoring struggles date back to the stretch run last season, when he was playing alongside Martin. It wasn’t Martin’s fault then, just as it’s not Ryan’s fault now.

The puck simply isn’t going in. Through 20 games this season, Burns has 82 shots on goal and zero goals. Through 20 games in his Norris Trophy-winning campaign, Burns had 83 shots on goal and seven goals.

It’s not like Burns was super lucky then, either, as his 8.3 percent shooting percentage through 20 games last season was only one percent higher than his career average. Shooting at a zero percent clip after 20 games is, clearly, the outlier.

Together, Burns and Ryan have been more unlucky than anything else. When the two skate during five-on-five play, the Sharks are scoring on only 3.45 percent of their shots, much lower than the 8.26 percent San Jose scored on when Martin and Burns played together.

At 32 years old, it would be a stretch to expect Burns to match or exceed his heights from a season ago, but it would be an even bigger one to expect him to struggle much longer alongside Ryan. 

They've done everything right, they just haven't scored.

Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi has officially arrived

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AP

Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi has officially arrived

It turns out the top-six winger the Sharks needed to replace Patrick Marleau was on the roster all along.

Joonas Donskoi skated on Logan Couture’s line in Monday night’s shootout loss to the Ducks, and was San Jose’s best player. He scored the Sharks’ only two goals, and tied for the team-lead among forwards with four shots on net.

Donskoi added another goal in the ninth-round shootout, but his two goals in regulation were his sixth and seventh on the season. With those goals, he surpassed his total from an injury-riddled campaign a year ago, and stands three tallies clear as San Jose’s second-leading goal-scorer this season.

Due to Melker Karlsson’s injury, Donskoi skated with the Sharks’ leading goal-scorer, Logan Couture, and rekindled the strong chemistry the pair has shown since the Finnish winger arrived in San Jose in 2015.

Of the nine lines Couture has skated on for at least 50 minutes dating back to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the three best in terms of puck possession have had Donskoi on his wing. Those three combinations have controlled at least 54 percent of the five-on-five shot attempts, according to Corsica Hockey.

Adding Tomas Hertl, who’s already a strong possession player, to that line bodes well for an even stronger second line moving forward. With Karlsson on the wing, the line controlled only 47.7 percent of the shot attempts, per Corsica, meaning the Sharks have been routinely out-possessed with them on the ice.

That was not the case with Donskoi in Karlsson’s place, as Donskoi posted positive possession numbers alongside Couture and Hertl on Monday, according to Natural Stat Trick. The results were there, as evidenced by the game’s opening goal, but it’s a good sign that the process was, too.

The same, frankly, can be said of Donskoi’s entire season up to this point. He likely won’t convert on over 18 percent of his shots all season, of course, but the Sharks have the puck more often than their opponents when he’s on the ice, and should continue to generate pressure, chances, and ultimately goals, even if Donskoi’s personal scoring comes down.

When Karlsson comes back, Donskoi should remain on Couture and Hertl’s line. That would allow the former to slide into a role better-suited to his game, and the latter to bolster San Jose’s top-six forward group.

Donskoi’s earned an extended look in that spot thanks to his resurgence, and subsequent emergence, this season. Thanks to him, replacing Marleau’s production suddenly seems much less daunting.