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Knyzhov’s Season Over: Boughner Describes Sharks’ Defenseman’s Ordeal



Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Nikolai Knyzhov’s year is over before it even began.

Bob Boughner announced today that the 23-year-old defenseman would miss the remainder of the season. The sophomore defenseman hasn’t played this year after a breakout rookie campaign.

The San Jose Sharks’ bench boss described Knyzhov’s injuries as sports hernia and groin and infection from surgery.

Nikolai Knyzhov also missed the World Championships last year because of a sports hernia. In August, he told San Jose Hockey Now that he was “feeling great” after surgery, but there was a setback shortly thereafter.

Knyzhov Talks Surgery Recovery, Junk Food Diet, Learning from Karlsson | SJHN+

Boughner described Knyzhov’s ordeal since training camp in graphic detail: “It was getting worse instead of better. He tried it with rehab, then surgery was planned [in October]. With surgery came some setbacks, some infections.

“The poor guy, he was on an IV for a couple months, trying to just clear the infection out of his system. That basically took all his progress and put it back to zero.

“You get bed-ridden, you can’t do anything. When you get up, you’re walking around with an IV bag.”

Boughner couldn’t give a timeline for when Knyzhov would start skating again, but he’s optimistic that the Russian defenseman will be ready for the beginning of next year.

“He’s finally gotten over it all. He’s rehabbing hard,” he said. “I think that the worst is behind him.”

Boughner couldn’t help but wonder how Nikolai Knyzhov, who was slated to start the season alongside Erik Karlsson as the San Jose Sharks’ no. 4 defenseman, could’ve helped the team out.

“That hurt us a lot. I really truly believe that,” he said. “[He was] basically penciled in as [Karlsson’s] partner, that really affected our team.”

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Be curious to see how a Burns-Ferraro, Karlsson-Knyzhov, Middleton-Merkley lineup would do over the course of a season.

david barnard

poor guy, but glad to hear the worst is behind him. now he can concentrate on getting his career back on track. he was a big ? for me in roster building for next season. i assume the Sharks will stick by him and give him another contract? Middleton pleasant surprise that he was stepped in/up to fill that void, so i’m not really sure Bob’s comments hold a lot of merit. i mean, how much more would Knyzhov have contributed to success than Middleton’s break out NHL season? doubtful it would’ve been to the level that the Sharks would… Read more »

timorous me

Yeah, unless Bob would have been willing to bench Vlasic for extended periods of time, I don’t think these comments have much merit if we’re talking about the team’s success this year.

That’s not to take anything away from Kyzvhov, but I agree that I had questions on him before this injury, and now heading into next season I feel like he’d be best served to start the year with the Barracuda and not be inked into a top-six role with the Sharks to start the year, for his benefit and the team’s.


An interview with other team medical departments would be interesting to evaluate the medical team the Sharks have employed for years. It’s hard to compare without details (which type of procedure employed for which injuries), but I have the impression that SJ has had a lot of problems with surgeries that have had far more setbacks than they normally should have. Was this done endoscopically (minimally invasive) or via a traditional, open surgery? Abdominal wall herniorrhaphies generally are clear procedure with low infection risks. I wonder what exactly was wrong and how a chronic infection set in like this without… Read more »


I feel for the guy. Just brutal. I hope he can come back next season and play.

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