Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/26/13 at 01:22 PM ET
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
When Karlsson had his Achilles tendon severed Jan. 27, he was expected to miss four-to-six months, but ended up sitting out two. And it wasn’t just that Karlsson played that amazed everyone, it was the way he performed. From the time he jumped over the boards for his first shift, Karlsson looked like the same player who would have been a shoo-in for his second Norris had he remained healthy. No sign of rust, no tentativeness to his game and no wavering of confidence. Truly remarkable indeed.
But is it really? Maybe not. Perhaps we should stop being so amazed at what these young men are capable of doing these days. Perhaps we should all begin to accept that the exceptional is now becoming the norm.
When describing today’s young player a couple of years ago, former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher described them as, “a new generation of machine.” There is now a breed of young men who are more prepared to not only play, but star, in the NHL earlier than ever before. For better or worse, they’re on the ice 12 months a year working with skills coaches and power skating instructors. They’re better coached, more skilled, stronger and more comfortable in their own skin than any group of players in the history of the NHL.
And they have the luxury of having the best surgery and rehabilitation regimens known to man. You can bet that Karlsson wasn’t out of his Achilles tendon surgery more than a couple of days before he was back in the gym doing rehab. It’s for that reason that many young players – such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and others – will opt for surgery over rehabilitation for a nagging injury.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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