Oh, David Schlemko. The guy simply can’t catch a break… unless we’re talking about one of his bones.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes’ solid two-way defenseman, Schlemko’s upper-body injury Monday night against the Minnesota Wild is one more to add to a long list of the “whoa that looked like it hurt” variety. It was a flukey play in the 1st period, where it appeared that Schlemko was trying to get out of the way but went knee-on-knee against one of the Wild skaters and ended up grabbing his shoulder in pain as he left the ice. Based on first impressions the diagnosis isn’t good. He was seen wearing a splint and Coach Tippett wasn’t so optimistic about his condition.
Schlemko has faced long-term injuries before, being placed on the IR for a significant amount of time in each of the last two seasons. You can’t help but wonder what the guy could do in a full season – he’s a plus player, he quietly takes care of business in his own zone, but also has the ability to effectively jump into the offense and make some surprising “where the heck did that come from” plays.
He’s finally established himself as a solid NHL talent on the blueline, but Schlemko also has a great work ethic and a personality that embodies the Coyotes’ pack mentality. He’s a quiet, humble guy that works hard and has battled his way through the CHL, the AHL, and year after year finds himself having to fight off some younger prospects in the system during training camp (Stone, Rundblad, Summers) to earn his ice time and solidify his spot in the lineup.
Let’s hope Schlem isn’t out for long. Even if he is, he’s a scrappy guy and something tells me he will yet again find a way to earn his spot back in the lineup.