Shortened season could give Sharks time to heal
It’s clear no one wants the NHL’s regular season to be shortened or to have a full season struck from the records. But, a shortened season may have it’s benefits, specifically to a team like San Jose. A lot of the Sharks’ success will hinder on Martin Havlat’s health. He’s proven that he can’t stay healthy for a full season over his entire career but that when he’s in the lineup he’s a valuable asset that makes the Sharks a much better team. A shortened season means there’s less odds of Havlat injuring himself or having any other superstar miss a majority of the season. The Sharks roster as a whole maybe could benefit from fresher legs.
The Sharks have made the playoffs eight years in a row and have advanced past the first round in all but two of those seasons. The team has experienced success in the Western Conference Finals two out of the last three years and most of their star players are no longer spring chickens.
Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle are still stars in the league and produce at an above-average level but they are getting older and ending the prime of their respective careers.
San Jose has always started strong in the regular season only to falter in the middle and have to turn it on in the last third of the season. If the Sharks are to repeat history, perhaps that lull in the middle of the season disappears because the games will be more crucial right from the start.
Antti Niemi does notoriously better when he gets long stretches of games in consecutively. In a shortened season, there isn’t as much risk to throwing Niemi out for 15 to 20 games in a row because there’s no chance he ends up playing 60-plus games total by the end of the season.
These situations may be similar to many teams around the league but the Sharks could get a little more out of a shortened season, which is looking more and more likely to be the situation with every passing day.
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