So the Penguins have had a terrible history of injuries since they have moved to Consol. in fact you could argue their series against the Canadiens is where it started with Staal and his severed tendon.

Anyway injury prevention is damn hard, injury management is one thing teams do have control over. Pittsburgh have been terrible since they have moved into Consol.

A new building with state of the art facilities does not make a management solution. Understanding how the body works is.

Maatta - shoulder

Ehrhoff - concussion

Comeau - wrist

Malkin - ankle sprain

Crosby - mumps

Bennett - 2 knee braces

Letang - concussion

All of these injuries require rehabilitation protocols and TIME to recover from. Both the player and the staff need to be honest with each other to get a player back to 100% or as close as possible in season.

I want to take a look at how the Maatta shoulder injury was handled and compare it to Calgary's handling of Sam Bennett's shoulder rehabilitation, the sad part for both teams is they burnt a year of each players' ELC, but for totally different mismanagement reasons.

I was always concerned with Maatta coming back ahead of schedule on his shoulder. This is not a broken bone that once healed it is good to go, use Patrick Kane as an example. His clavicle healed ahead of schedule, he is right to play, the repair doesn't rely on other body parts being rehabilitated to protect it.

A shoulder does.

Sam Bennett was sent to surgery early October 2014 after struggling through shoulder pain in an attempt to make the roster. His first game back from the surgery was April 11 against Winnipeg, almost 6 months to the day.

Olli Maatta on the other hand had surgery on the 22nd of May 2014 and returned to play game 1 of the season on the 10th of October 2014. The 22nd of October would have been 5 months from the date of surgery.

December 8 2014 Maatta was removed from the line-up with an undisclosed injury, he was diagnosed with the mumps not long after this but he was finally removed from the line-up indefinitely on December 13 2014. the Penguins used the mumps as the reason for it, but he was carrying his shoulder prior to this decision, it took until January 14 2015 before the final decision was made to have the second surgery on Maatta's shoulder.

2015_05_22_Rotator_Cuff_Tear.jpg

Rotator cuff injuries are shoulder injuries that can be played through, they may be painful, but you can play through them. Especially in hockey as you do not often lift your arms above your shoulder when under resistance force.

A great way to measure if the shoulder is back to full range of motion is being able to complete a hanging clean and press. This does not need to be done under heavy weight, it is the range of motion under some form of stress that is important. 

Here is an example of the movement:

 

All that is important in this example is the range of motion the shoulder can handle and the angle of the humeral bone to the floor. It is parallel to the floor. This shows the shoulder has full range of motion, there is no tightness in the latissimus dorsi or in the small motor muscles within the shoulder that help maintain stability. 

Rehabilitation of a shoulder is slow process, you need to strengthen the small motor muscles within the shoulder to protect the surgically repaired part (in this case the rotator cuff) but you cannot afford to lose range of motion because if you do, the likelihood of re-injuring the shoulder when under contact is much higher.

Building strength creates stiffness and tightness, so you can see the dichotomy a player and trainer have is in when trying to get back to 100%.

With Maatta returning 6 weeks ahead of schedule I think his shoulder still had stiffness in it, thus a reduced range of motion and an inability to handle contact.

Bennett on the other hand took the full 6 months scheduled for the rehabilitation and allowed his shoulder muscles the opportunity to not only strengthen back to to 100% but also recover their flexibility back to 100% to allow the shoulder to handle contact.

July 14 2015 will be 6 months for Maatta post surgery, at least this time the Penguins will not have the start of the season pushing Maatta to be ready early.

Strength is not the be all and end all of being an athlete, flexibility is just as vital for the body to be able to receive contact and dish it out, a tight body is a brittle body, and one that can break easy.

The sad part for both the Flames and the Penguins is they have lost 1 year of their entry level contracts due to mishandling the player, the Penguins with the rehabilitation of the initial injury and the Flames with the short sightedness of a playoff run.

Thanks for reading.

 

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