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San Jose Sharks

Labanc Has Had A Lot More on His Mind Than Hockey

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Who cares about hockey?

You couldn’t blame Kevin Labanc if he thought that.

Over Thanksgiving, his father Milan was put into a medically-induced coma.

“He was actually hanging up Christmas lights. Then he fell off the ladder,” Labanc shared today. “He was in an induced coma over two months.”

Just in time for the birth of Labanc’s first child – he and his wife Kelly are expecting on Feb. 20 – his 50-year-old father is out of the woods.

“It was tough, but he’s good now,” Labanc said. “He’s walking, talking. He’s doing his physical therapy. He’s in a good place.”

So forgive Labanc if hockey and getting healthy scratched in eight of the San Jose Sharks’ last 10 games, despite his 25 points in 45 games, was the furthest thing from his mind.

But naturally, he can’t get his mind off of getting scratched and the Mar. 3 Trade Deadline.

“Oh yeah, I think it definitely weighs on you. Not gonna say it was great [getting scratched] everyday. You definitely think about it, Trade Deadline looming over, so definitely think about those things,” he acknowledged. “But at the same time, whenever you get on the ice, you just want to play hockey and you want to win.”

The 27-year-old doesn’t have any trade protection in his contract, one more year left at $4.725 million AAV. So the long-time San Jose Sharks forward has no say whether or not he stays or goes, even with a new house and an expecting wife.

“I couldn’t have timed it better,” Labanc laughed. “But it’s just part of the business.”

Hopefully, it’s smooth sailing from here for the winger, who will draw back into the line-up tonight for the first time since Jan. 27.

“Just work hard, compete,” he said of what the San Jose Sharks coaching staff wants from him. “I’ve been working hard in practices and competing and doing all the extra stuff.”

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