Work in Sports
Sharks' Nolan scratched from Game 5
Posted: Monday May 08, 2000 12:34 AM
DALLAS (AP) -- With the San Jose Sharks' season over, the truth can be told about Owen Nolan. It was a strained abdominal muscle that bothered him, not his foot, shoulder or even the flu, as the team tried to get people to believe.
Nolan was scratched from San Jose's 4-1 loss to Dallas on Sunday night that ended the Sharks' playoff run. The Stanley Cup champions won the second-round series in five games, with Nolan missing two of them.
"I can't skate, I can't push off," Nolan said. "I couldn't take explosive strides and couldn't be effective."
He was known to have been hurt in Game 7 of the first-round series against St. Louis. But the going bet was that it was a slap shot by Al MacInnis that went off Nolan's foot that was causing the damage.
There also was a theory he was suffering lingering effects from a late-season shoulder problem. Few believed the team's official diagnosis: flu-like symptoms.
"It was like my stomach locked up," he said.
Nolan played great against the Blues, but was strangely ineffective in Game 1 against the Stars. He skipped the second game in Dallas, then scored the winning goal in Game 3 in San Jose. He had another goal -- his eighth in 10 playoff games -- in the Game 4 loss.
"I think it was decided after the last game that he wasn't going to play," coach Darryl Sutter said. "He has a stomach muscle injury that wasn't going to heal."
Lying about the extent and location of injuries is part of the hockey culture. It's especially true in the postseason.
"You don't want the other team to know because if they do, you're going to take more hits," Nolan said.
Nolan already was a marked man after setting franchise records for points (84) and goals (44) this season. He had 10 points in his 10 playoff games.
The Sharks also played Sunday night without Bryan Marchment. His groin injury was so bad he didn't even travel to Dallas.
Marchment is the player Stars fans most love to hate. His bruising style has left Mike Modano with a concussion and Joe Nieuwendyk with a torn knee.
"With Nolan and Marchment out, they had a different look," Modano said.