It was a rough outing for the San Jose Sharks on Sunday and the news may be even worse than initially believed. We have already covered 3 of the major injuries the Sharks suffered in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, but there is another more mysterious injury that we still do not know a great deal about.
You see also absent from the Sharks bench during the game's 3rd period was none other than Sharks forward Tomas Hertl and this one was different from the absence of say Erik Karlsson or Joe Pavelski. Everyone and their mother knew that Karlsson would be coming into this game injured and in fact the decision made to put him into Game 5 was only made minutes before the start of the game. It was obvious from the way that the Sharks star defenseman played that he was not 100%, and in the case of Pavelski his injury was easily identifiable. Pavelski took a big hit in the 3rd period from St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo and immediately went to the Sharks locker room following that impact.
The problem with Hertl is that although he played all through the 1st and 2nd period, there was never really a moment prior to him leaving the game that would lead you to believe he had been injured. No instead the only moment at which it appears that Hertl could have been injured occurred during the game's opening period, and that could mean very big trouble for the Sharks in Game 6.
You see the only moment at which it appears Hertl could have been injured was when St. Louis blues defenseman Ivan Barbashev delivered a big hit to him at center ice. At the time I thought the hit had caught Hertl up high but he bounced right back up and immediately complained about the blow so I had assumed he was fine. That being said we all know that injuries from a concussion are not always immediately apparent and this is what I suspect may have caused Hertl to miss the 3rd period. Keep in mind this is purely speculation on my part, but the NBC broadcast crew asked themselves the same question and thus far the Sharks are not saying anything.