Marc-Édouard Vlasic is seemingly doing better after getting struck in the face by a Shane Gostisbehere slap shot when the San Jose Sharks faced the Philadelphia Flyers on December 30th.
The Team Canada shut-down defenseman - one of the best in the entire NHL - is one of the reasons why the Sharks went to the Stanley Cup Final last year and are leading the Pacific Division so far this year.
After performing very well offensively with Patrick Roy as his head coach with the LHJMQ's Québec Remparts, "Pickles", a 2005 second-round draft pick (35th overall), has two 30-point seasons to his name: 39 last season in just 67 games as he's evolved into one of the game's premier two-way defenders, and his third season with the team, in 2008-09, when he had 36 points, learning the game from Stanley Cup winners Rob Blake and Dan Boyle while Douglas Murray took care of the back end.
I know two things: First, it's better to get injured in January than in June. Second, the Sharks don't stand a chance without Vlasic, an Olympic gold medalist, a World Cup champion and a World Championship silver medalist. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau aren't the type of leaders that guarantee a win, and Logan Couture and Brent Burns can't do it all on their own.
So here's Vlasic, sporting one of the team's ugly and too-basic black uniforms, on card #GG-MEV from Panini's 2013-14 Titanium set and Game-Worn Gear sub-sets:
George Gund III, who you may recall also owned the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars at some point; he passed away in 2013.