Abdominal injuries for hockey players are hell.
Actually they are hell for anyone who plays sport at an elite level.
Ignore the pain a player would go through, but the changing in the main movement mechanics for that athlete can be extremely damaging to other parts of the body.
Matt Cooke has been put on the shelf for the season to get past a sports hernia, and you could see his effectiveness on the ice suffer significantly.
This is what makes Kevin Shattenkirk's season that much more remarkable.
Chart taken from: http://ownthepuck.blogspot.ca/
As a 2nd d pairing Shattenkirk has been producing at a 1st d pairing level. He will have the advantage of playing behind the Blues top pairing, but it is damn impressive.
Doing all of this whilst going through abdominal pain is amazing.
I can see why the Blues are cutting him open now in the hope he can return to this level before the playoffs.
Why this is amazing is the difficulties Shattenkirk would have been battling through with his skating stride and ability to change direction. The pelvis is one of the most important sections of the body in relation to producing power. If your pelvis is out of 'whack' or unstable then you have a dissipation of energy away from the desired direction, this limits the effectiveness of the potential power and agility in Shattenkirk's movements.
The body is very clever, it can adjust to it's environment very well, it protects injured parts well, it is why we can struggle through injuries. That does however put stress on other parts of the body.
As Shattenkirk's abdominal injury headed to the point of surgery his pelvic position would have changed and his body would have adjusted, putting more strain on other parts of his body.
The back, abductors, groins, and hip flexors would have started to take more of the load. Once Shattenkirk started to feel more stress and strain in these areas, the medical and strength and conditioning staff did the right thing and went to correct the cause not the symptoms.
I don't think the staff could have handled it any differently, players play through injuries all the time, working out when to sit a player is not that simple.
I do find it baffling that in this day and age of physical analytics with video analysis, strength and power tracking players carry injuries as long as they do before the staff get on top of it.
Players need to be honest about their physical state, it is their money maker, it is no coincidence players go into their UFA year in the best shape of their life.
At the end of the season we always check in to see who is having surgery on what parts to work out why players didn't perform to expectations, I for one hope that Shattenkirk does make it back before the playoffs to regain the quality of output he was producing before the surgery.
Thanks for reading.