VANCOUVER – An injured Brent Burns is still not ready to return, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan indicated on Wednesday after practice at Rogers Arena. The Sharks and Canucks play for the fourth and final time here on Thursday night.
Burns continues to skate with his teammates, but his return date is still uncertain.
“I wish I could answer that question. There’s days where I think he’s really close, and there’s other days when you want to do some work with him and he doesn’t seem able to do it,” McLellan said. “I can’t answer that question fairly either to him, to us, or to anybody outside our team.”
Burns was on the receiving end of a few aggravated shoves from James Sheppard early in practice, after Sheppard appeared to take exception to a slash from the big defenseman-turned-forward. Dan Boyle played peacemaker, though, and nerves were quickly calmed.
Burns missed his 10th straight game on Tuesday in Calgary. He has four goals and four assists in eight games this season.
* * *
The Sharks and Canucks will wrap up their season series early with tomorrow night’s game. San Jose won the first two games in the first week of the regular season by 4-1 margins, but suffered its most resounding loss of the season last Thursday, 4-2. It was one of just two regulation defeats so far, and snapped the Sharks' nine-game regular season and playoff winning streak over their now Pacific Division rival.
“It will be nice to play them again. It will surely be a real competitive game. Then, both teams will go on their way, and maybe we’ll be lucky enough to meet again in the playoffs,” McLellan said.
“We were thoroughly beaten [last Thursday]. There was a little more battle in the Canucks than there was in us. We didn’t get our noses over pucks when we had to, and we really didn’t establish our game at all. That, and a couple real game-changing errors that you’d like to clean up a bit.”
* * *
McLellan was asked to give his view on what was termed “growing acceptance” of advanced statistics in hockey.
“I can’t tell you what a Corsi is. I can’t tell you what all these stats are. I’m a simple guy from Saskatchewan. I rely on my eyes, and my gut. The coaches in this league watch more video than ever before, and they know the players as individuals, they don’t know them as numbers or stats," he said.
“Do we research certain areas? Sometimes we do. When I’m on the bench and I’ve got to decide whether Joe Pavelski is going to go out against Ryan Kesler or Andrew Desjardins, I can’t tell you I’m thinking of an analytical number at that point. I have to have a decision real quick based on what I see in front of me, and what’s happened that night.”