In hockey injuries can't be used as an excuse as all teams have to battle their fair share of injuries over the course of a season. But for the Express they've had enough injuries to cover 2 seasons and the 08-09 campaign hasn't even hit the midway mark.
This season, the Express are trying not to use injuries as an excuse for their struggles this season. But lets say they've deffinitley had an impact on a team that has a 9-12-1-3 record and is currently sitting in the basement of the BCHL's Mainland division and currently sitting out of a playoff spot.
Lets have an exercise and compare Burnaby's injuries with any other team in the Mainland division to get some perspective on how any other team in the division would be farring this season if they had the injuries the Express have had to endure this season.
Let's compare Burnaby with the Langley Chiefs.
And how this will work is, we'll take a Burnaby player who's missed time with injury and put Langley in Burnaby's shoes and take a similar player out of their roster. Now, first of all i'm NOT trying to compare the talent of the two teams and say they're similar. I'm just saying the importance of the Burnaby player mentioned is as important as the player he's being compared to on Langley's roster.
Brodie Reid, he's Burnaby's best goal scorer. Led the team last season with 52 goals. This season he's missed 11 games due to injury. Now imagine Langley without Milos Gordic who's tied for the team lead with 15 goals this season. His absence would certainly be missed.
Max Grassi is Burnaby's number 1 centre this season. He missed 2 weeks earlier this season after suffering an injury on the Island road trip in early October. Imagine Langley without Derek Grant for two weeks. I know he's missed time with injury earlier this season. But the Chiefs still had Elias and Gordic in the lineup.
Garrick Perry's been Burnaby's best rookie this season. He's 4th on the team in scoring and has been a clutch player with 4 game winning goals and assisting on another game winner by John Bokla. Perry missed 4 games after being levelled by Nanaimo's Tyler Mah on October 10th. Now replace Perry with Mac Roy. He's a top 6 forward on the Chiefs this season.
John Bokla missed 5 games when he collided with Greg Bay in practice earlier this season. Now you take Trevor Elias out of Langley's lineup. Now, i'm not saying that Bokla and Elias are at the same level talent wise. But what I mean is, Bokla is a player that has spent some time on Burnaby's top line this season. Elias certainly is a top line player for the Chiefs. Again, Langley would be hurt without someone who's played on their top line this season.
Reid Edmondson and Anthony Collins have each spent time on the sidelines this season. They both provide size and some offence for the Express. Their contributions are valuable along the baords. Forechecking and in the faceoff circle. Now for the Chiefs take Joe Walter out of the lineup.
Gavin Hohl is on the 60 day injured list after suffering a concussion thanks to a hit from Surrey's Brennan Strang. Hohl was just starting to find his stride in the BCHL. He was starting to find his offensive game, and was playing a role on Burnaby's penalty killing unit. Now take Brad Goss out of Langley's lineup.
Jacob Verheyden has missed 14 games with a shoulder injury and a infection this season. Verheyden brings a speed dimension to Burnaby's game. Now i'm certainly not comparing the two players talent wise here. But let's just take the speed of Elias out of the Chiefs roster. That would be missed.
Luke Challier's missed 13 games after suffering a fracture in his ankle. Burnaby is missing a player that is willing to drop the gloves with anyone. Just for the sake of comparison, we know Jessie Tresierra's more than willing to dance. In fact the two have been dance partners this season.
That's just the forwards.
Now lets look at the defence which took a real hit last night when Colin De Jersey, Mike Leidl and Johnny Mahovlich left last night's 4-3 OT loss to Victoria.
Let's begin with the Burnaby captain Mike Leidl. He's so strong at both ends of the ice. His play is far from flashy. But is very reliable. It's still to early to determine how long he will be out of the lineup, but if it's a prolonged period of time the Express will miss their undisputed leader. Now take Jessie Tresierra out of Langley's lineup from a defensive prespective. They both have 15 points on the backend and both are the captains of their team. If Leidl's out for a extended period of time. His leadership and strong play in his own end will be missed.
Johnny Mahovlich also left last night's contest. Again, it's too early to determine how long he will be out of the lineup. Just for the sake of this exercise, let's take Brad Bakken out of Langley's lineup.
Colin De Jersey's situation certainly appears to be the scariest of all the injuries the Express have endured this season. The last 3 games he's played, each time he left the ice very wobbly after being hit. Very scary stuff. First off, lets just hope Colin will be ok. To see any player leave the ice the way he did once is scary enough. But to see it happen in his last 3 games is just even scarier. He will be out for a long period of time I would think.
Promising rookie Simon Denis has missed the last 4 games due to a shoulder injury suffered November 1 vs. Penticton. His skating ability and potential as a 17 year old is very high. Take rookie Dennis Robertson out of the Chiefs lineup.
Now, I know this posting is long winded already. But the purpose is to compare Burnaby's injuries and put Langley in the Express shoes and give you some prespective how the Express injuries would impact another team in this league. Now if Langley had all of the bodies listed out of their lineup at different points in time this season, I can guarantee you they would feel the sting too. They would not be sitting in 2nd place in the divison with a 14-10-1 record.
End of the day, injuries in hockey aren't an excuse. But that's not to say they can't have an impact on a team's season. From an Express point of view, let's just hope they will soon be a thing of the past and we can truly see what this Express team is truly made of.