Hertl won't play in Olympics, Czech national team coach confirms

One month was probably too optimistic a timetable for Tomas Hertl's return from a knee injury as the 20-year-old has been ruled out for February's Olympics.

Although initial reports indicated Tomas Hertl would be out of the lineup for about a month following the knee injury he sustained in a collision with Dustin Brown last week, it's looking more and more like that was an overly optimistic projection. Sharks GM Doug Wilson confirmed on Monday the timetable would exceed a month, with a more precise estimate available after Hertl undergoes surgery next week, and Czech broadcaster Roman Jedlicka's report today indicates it could be more than two months before the 20-year-old takes the ice in NHL action again.

It's awful news for Hertl who would have loved to represent his country on international hockey's biggest stage after excelling for Team Czech Republic at the past two World Junior Championships. It's a blow to his country as well since Hertl still leads all Czech NHL players in goal-scoring and represents one of the few bright lights of the future for Czech hockey. Hertl will have to wait until 2018 to participate in the Olympics and the Sharks will have to wait until at least March 2nd, but probably longer than that, before they're able to reinsert their star rookie into the lineup.