SAN JOSE – Mike Brown’s season may not be over after all.
The Sharks’ fourth liner, who has played in just eight games this season, took part in practice on Monday and will accompany the team on its seven-game road trip that begins in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Brown suffered a broken bone in his right leg on Dec. 9 and has been out ever since. Just five days ago, coach Todd McLellan said it was looking “bleaker and bleaker” that the energetic 29-year-old would get back into the lineup.
Brown was encouraged after practice on Monday.
“After today, it felt good. I’ve got a positive mindset right now – way better than any other days,” Brown said. “Hopefully we can go uphill from here on out. It’s good news in my head today.”
McLellan said: “I talked to him before practice about going out and just doing what he felt comfortable doing. He ended up in most of the practice. Now, we’ve got to continue that skating process. He’s got to continue to feel good on the ice. Then, all of the conditioning work has to come into play. He’s a pretty hard worker, so hopefully that comes back quickly.”
Brown hopes to play before the road trip is over.
“Maybe halfway through or the end of the trip, depending on how things recover,” he said. “It would be nice to get the last eight or so games left in the season, and hopefully we can do some damage on this road trip, finish off the year on the right note, and get into the playoffs.”
According to McLellan, the Sharks have missed having players like Brown and Raffi Torres in the lineup this season. Torres has not played due to ongoing issues with his right knee.
“The energy and the physicality that they bring has been missed,” McLellan said last Thursday. “Their leadership abilities in the locker room, they’re players that we counted on that were unfortunately not able to contribute to the extent that we expected.”
Brown, who also suffered a broken a finger in the second game of the season on Oct. 11 vs. Winnipeg that kept him out for nearly two months, signed a two-year, $2.4 million contract extension last summer.