SAN JOSE – Logan Couture’s absence from Sharks practice on Monday wasn’t a surprise, as the top line center stayed off of the ice after getting hurt in Game 3 on Saturday.
Seeing forward Adam Burish on the ice with his teammates for the first time since he broke his right hand blocking a shot in Game 4 against Vancouver, was.
Burish was ruled out by the Sharks to play in the second round against the Kings, but don’t tell the 30-year-old he has no shot to return if it goes six or seven games.
"That's on my timeline. I'd like to get back,” said Burish, who had a goal, two assists and 25 penalty minutes in 46 regular season games. “If the doctors let me, I'd play tomorrow if I could. My goal is to get back in this series sometime. When that is, I don't know. It will be between us and the coaches and the doctors to see when that is. But, I'll be ready whenever it is."
Todd McLellan said: “He had a lot of energy, and actually moved the puck fairly well. Maybe he’s closer than we originally thought. It’s a good sign for us.”
Burish’s boisterous personality and locker room shenanigans are well known, as is his ability to keep things light. In that regard, even his presence in practice can provide a lift.
“You lose Game 2 in LA, that could be a downer, but I'm trying to be positive with the guys,” he said. “I can help that way, my attitude around the rink, the way I am with the guys. Hopefully, just some positive energy around here can help. Keep guys upbeat, keep guys excited, keep guys motivated. All those things, they're already taking care of that, too, I'm just trying to pitch in how I can."
Couture is expected to play in Game 4, but the Sharks are still down two forwards in Marty Havlat (lower body injury) and Raffi Torres (suspension). Torres is out for the rest of the series, and Havlat’s return against the Kings is doubtful, too. Havlat did not skate on Monday.
That may have been why defenseman Jason Demers was lined up as a forward for Monday’s skate, on a “fifth line” with Burish and Torres. Demers has been out since April 18 with a sprained left ankle, but could be an option for Game 4.
It’s a bit of a surprise in that McLellan essentially ruled out using Demers as a forward when Burish got hurt. But, that was before Torres’ suspension and Havlat’s apparent inability to play through injury.
“We were preparing in case we would like to use that option,” McLellan said of putting Demers up front. “If we dress seven [defensemen], we may move somebody up to play some shifts. It’s an option as [Demers] gets healthier, and time goes on.”
Demers said: “I feel good. It’s just a question of getting back into game shape. As soon as you do a couple of shifts, especially in this kind of series, you’ll be in shape real quick. I’m just helping out wherever I can, and going where they tell me to go.”
Demers is champing at the bit.
“It’s a great series right now. We could easily be up 2-1. It could easily be the other way around, for sure, but it’s been a great series. Good rivalry, both teams are playing great at a top level. Just watching from the stands, you’re anxious to get out on the ice.”
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Reports out of Los Angeles are that Kings forward Kyle Clifford will play in Game 4 at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night.
Clifford suffered an undisclosed injury in the first round against St. Louis, and has missed the Kings’ last four playoff games. On Monday, he was skating on a line with Brad Richardson and Colin Fraser. Rookie Tanner Pearson would likely could out of the lineup to make room for Clifford.
Clifford had seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 48 regular season games. Three of those goals came against San Jose.