Ducks Camp: Overcoming Injuries For a Full Season AheadSep 16, 2019
Over the course of an entire hockey season, players sustain injuries. Some injuries are minor and players are able to continue their season while others are more severe, forcing players to miss a significant amount of time. A full offseason of recovery and rehabilitation is exactly what someone like Deven Sideroff needed to get back on track for a productive hockey season.
As a former Anaheim third-round draft pick (84th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, Sideroff has had expectations to produce. Last season, the 6-0, 180-pound forward was showing signs of increasing his production, recording six assists in 20 games with the Gulls before injury put a hault to his season. A spur-of-the moment scrap caused a shoulder injury sustained in a game against Ontario Dec. 22, forcing Sideroff to miss the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign. Almost nine months after the injury, Sideroff was able to return to game action and participate in the 2019 Rookie Faceoff at Great Park Ice in Irvine, California.
“You know what, I actually felt great. I spent a lot of time this summer focusing on my conditioning, getting my shoulder back to one hundred percent and being able to go into that rookie tournament flying,” said Sideroff. “It was a big focus for me this summer, taking a little bit of time to get my whole body back in shape again after going through the injury I did in December. It definitely took me awhile, but the way I worked this summer, it’s showing now”
The season is already underway for Sideroff and his teammate Jack Kopacka. The 2019 Rookie Faceoff gave both forwards a boost to get back to game-speed.
Kopacka was able to finish the season with the Gulls after his injury limited him to dressing in just five games prior to the All-Star break. The rookie forward was able to return to the lineup following a 32-game absence due to a lacerate wrist suffered in the second contest of last season. On Jan. 25, Kopacka would return to the lineup after months of rehabilitation to finish the regular season with 6-8=14 points in 32 games. He also made six postseason appearances, earning 1-2=3 points with his lone goal coming in the Western Conference Finals.
“Obviously do well in the testing. On-ice, getting in hard on the forecheck, use my body and try to get that many shots as I can on net,” said Kopacka when asked what he needs to achieve during training camp. “You just play your game. You don’t really focus on (anything else). As long as you play your game, stick to your abilities and don’t try to do anything outside of that, you’ll be fine.”
In a year that was cut short for each player, getting an early start was highly important to ensure they were ready for the main camp which began last Friday. Heading into the 2019-20 hockey season, both Sideroff and Kopacka are aiming to put their injuries behind them and impress during the remainder of camp and preseason games.