Having been sidelined for over four months of the season, San Jose Sharks forward Kevin Labanc had to sit and watch as his team fell out of playoff contention. While he hopes to be back to full strength soon, he’ll have to wait to make his return to the game until next season.
In the end, Kevin Labanc appeared in just 21 games for the Sharks during the 2021-22 season and was understandably frustrated about not being able to contribute more for the team when they needed him. He also shared some thoughts about his recovery, Bob Boughner, and the Evander Kane situation.
Kevin Labanc, on sitting on the sidelines when the Sharks could use his offensive skills:
We just couldn’t find ways to score and I know that I can help the team put up some goals and produce. It’s tough. You can play as defensive as you want, but if you’re not scoring, you’re not going to win many games.
Labanc, on his shoulder’s recovery:
I’m still not fully recovered, but hopefully by the end of May, I’ll be back and I’ll be in full game mode. It was tough recovering, just the PT and getting the range of motion and getting strength back. It’s my first major injury, so you just want to make sure you do it right.
Labanc, on trying to come back before the season ended:
When I started shooting [I thought] maybe I could come back. I was really hopeful.
I went to the person who did my shoulder, he was one of the best surgeons. I went back and made sure that what I was doing was alright. He just kind of said, “Listen, you can feel fine, but if you take a hit the wrong way or if you get hit, the whole surgery could take a turn for the worse, and we’re going to have to re-do the whole process all over again. Who knows if you’re going to be back next year.” So there was just way too much risk, I think.
Labanc, on Doug Wilson’s departure:
It was hard. Doug, he was kind of like the backbone of this organization. He provided so many people with jobs. He cared about all of us too, cared about everybody’s family. He was [personable], a good GM. He understood the game, [had an] incredible hockey mind and not only that, he cared for all the players as well.
Labanc, on a new GM coming in:
There’s going to be a couple of changes with the new GM, and we don’t know what he’s going to do, but you can only control what you can control. So, I think that’s putting your time and effort into the weight room, working on your skating stride, or whatever the case may be.
Labanc, on what he’d tell the new GM about Bob Boughner:
I would tell him Boogie, he’s a competitor. He wants to win. We didn’t get it done, [so] maybe make some few tweaks here and there, but I think that at the end of the day, it’s the GM’s decision. I’m sure there’s analytics on systems, the way coaches handled the year, and the way players handled the year. I think that whoever the new GM is, he’s going to try and reconstruct the team the way he wants his identity to be.
Labanc, on the Evander Kane situation:
I think the fashion and the way that it happened, it was a big elephant in the room. But, at the same time, we were in season and we had a job to do. We wanted to make sure that we handled it that well. We just came to work every day. It’s like, alright, let’s put this behind us. Let’s get our game going and get ready for the next game and let management handle the rest.
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