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Traffic On The Road To Recovery

The OC Register reported last week that Ryan Getzlaf is likely to miss all of training camp and the preseason recovering from surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle which he severely aggravated while training last month.

Daniel, after the major offseason facelift, training camp and the preseason could be crucial to helping this new roster find its rhythm? Is it a big deal that Getzlaf will be missing them?

I'm not very concerned about Getzlaf missing training camp or the preseason. While every line on the team will be changing this year, I expect for opposing teams to be getting a steady diet of Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry next year. This saves Getzlaf from not having to learn new linemates, and it helps Lupul and Koivu, who pretty much know they are skating with Selanne. There might be a problem with the new blueliners and learning the best way to provide defensive help, but Getzlaf has been showing an increase in his defensive awareness that will make that a non-issue for the most part.

This issue raises only one major concern for me: the potential for a lingering injury. Getzlaf has never had a major injury keep him out of the lineup for a long stretch. He could try to come back too quickly and end up aggravating this muscle tear further. More importantly, abdominal injuries can be very unpredictable and can easily flare up. If anything, losing a couple of games early on might be a necessary sacrifice to give us a healthier Getzlaf heading into winter.

To quote a great sports philosopher: "We talkin' about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We talkin' about practice . . ."

Carlyle will try to spread the Top 6 over three lines, and Getzlaf will certainly be integral in that decision. But I seriously doubt that the depth chart on opening night will be written in Sharpie. Slumps and streaks are the nature of hockey, and Carlyle loves him some line juggling. Every combination will be explored; Getzlaf's availability only affects the order in which Carlyle will explore them.

And yet, I think there is some value to having Getzlaf there as the team integrates Koivu into the power play. The man-advantage was Anaheim's life's blood down the stretch of this past year, and it could be Shark-like if they can properly integrate their new weapon. A Shark-like power play can translate to a Shark-like head start in the standings. That's really the only missed opportunity I see here.