Darryl Yacboski's worst fears were realized Monday.
The rugged Calgary Hitmen rearguard is done for the rest of the playoffs because of his nagging shoulder injury.
The 20-year-old visited a surgeon Monday and was told to pull the plug, ending any hope Yacboski had of returning in the post-season.
"It's just too unstable right now and it was his choice for me to shut it down," said Yacboski, who will undergo surgery on his left shoulder April 7.
"I was waiting for his word and it's better than any of ours, so I'll have to take his word for it."
Yacboski missed 12 games for the Hitmen this year and Calgary will certainly miss the veteran and the leadership he brings to blueline.
"I was feeling some optimism and thinking I could be back but he didn't feel it was ready to go back," said the easy-going blueliner, who watched last night's game from the press box.
The 6-ft. 3-in., 225-lb. Yacboski originally hurt the shoulder in February and missed several games.
He came back March 11 in a contest against Red Deer and promptly re-injured the joint, which had been popping out when hit in a certain spot.
He said the muscle surrounding the shoulder is too loose, so the joint will keep popping out until it's operated on.
With that, the Langley, B.C., product is understandably bummed about missing the most important part of the season.
"It's definitely a big blow watching the team for the playoffs and not being able to help the team out but I have to do what's best," he said.
He'll spend his summer rehabilitating the shoulder while training to get stronger for next season, his final campaign in the WHL, where he hopes to bring his game up a notch.
"I want to elevate my training from last year because it's going to be a huge season," said Yacboski, a Colorado Avalanche pick in 2003.
With the veteran on the sidelines, the Hitmen will continue to rely on their young d-corps, including Alex Plante, 15, and 16-year-old Karl Alzner, which has played well against Lethbridge through the first three contests.