Tomas Hertl’s injury became one of the Stanley Cup final’s storylines as the 22-year-old was suddenly out of the lineup come Game 3 and was continuously said to be day-to-day by San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. But with the post-season over, there’s finally some clarity when it comes to Hertl’s injury situation.
It was announced Monday that Hertl sustained an injury to his right knee, which is the same knee that was injured in a knee-on-knee collision with the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown in December 2013.
The injury in the Stanley Cup final came when Hertl was hit along the left wing boards midway through the third period of Game 2 by Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist. Immediately after he was hit, Hertl left the ice and when the NBCSN cameras showed the Sharks winger on the bench, he was flexing his knee and grimacing in pain:
Hertl managed to play in the remainder of Game 2 — he took seven additional shifts, totalling more than four minutes of ice time — but was barely able to practice ahead of Game 3 and was out of the lineup from Game 3 until the series ended in Game 6. If there would have been a seventh game, it seems unlikely that Hertl would have been able to suit up.
The exact specifics of Hertl’s injury and a timeline for recovery haven’t been released, but the Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka reported Hertl will be staying in San Jose to recover, at least for part of the rehab stint.
Hertl notched 21 goals and 46 points this past season and formed an excellent line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. In 20 playoff games, Hertl added another six goals and 11 points, and his performance was part of what helped lift the Sharks to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup final berth. It made for a career year for Hertl, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as Hertl’s contract is up and he’s a restricted free agent come July 1.