Panther fans, the injury bug has now bitten one of your players while they were playing overseas.
According to reports Kopecky, who signed with the Slovakian team HK Dukla Trencin just a few weeks ago, is returning home after suffering an apparent shoulder injury. However, the extent of the injury is unknown at this time. (Source: Pro Hockey Talk)
Last season Kopecky notched 10 goals and 32 points, good for fourth best among forwards and sixth best overall. (Source: Florida Panthers)
This news comes after some other NHL teams have seen some of their players get injured while playing overseas, begging the question “Is it safe?” or better yet “Is it a good idea?”
You can argue either way as there’s really no wrong answer. However, I do think players have to weigh the potential risks that come with playing overseas during a lockout. Unfortunately, they also have to think about the impact no competitive play will have on their career. It’s a tough line for players to walk, knowing that injuries can occur no matter where they play while also realizing no competitive play will result in them being out of shape when, or if, the season begins.
Another question that comes into play would be “Are these players in enough competitive shape when they head overseas?”
Obviously that’s a great question because players, though some do work out during the hockey offseason, haven’t gone through any sort of training camp before signing and playing overseas. They really aren’t in game shape but are still thrown into the fire so to speak. They probably should get some practice time before being thrown into game action but that’s just not how things work. The best solution is for players to condition themselves better before heading overseas.
NHL players getting hurt while playing overseas isn’t new. Instead, it’s the reality and, for some, casualty of this lockout. Let’s just hope other players are spared!!!